A magnificent ball-racking

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Stay aware of your environment, and be nice your gonads.

It was a pleasant ride. I’d wandered for hours in the woods, roads, and trails of Gulf Cove. This vast grid of paved area was almost completely empty, with just a few houses and telephone poles or even street signs. Ed McMahon, of the Tonight Show fame, had been a major investor in this community that took decades to catch on (in any way). Meanwhile, in 1974 it was a boy’s paradise. No traffic, or any cars for that matter. They were still digging canals, and they frequently left the keys to backhoes and front loaders in the ignition (yes, I did). Wildlife of all sorts, including rattlesnakes, rabbits, quail, deer, alligators, and gopher turtles scurried away from the imminent threat posed by my presence.

It had been a long day of animal terrorism – and I was returning with my trophies – when I looked up and realized that a rather large concrete pipe was blocking my path and I couldn’t even begin to stop in time.

Wheels have a hard time with large pipes like that. The bike stops very suddenly- and you don’t. You slide forward about 18 inches, your legs sliding under the handlebars until your groin meets the triple-tree, and then your body also stops very suddenly, very painfully. Yes, I have experienced it, once.

I hadn’t been going especially fast, considering it was a packed dirt road with good visibility. The developers were draining a canal, and an 18” pipe had been placed across the entire road. I knew it was there- I had to use a board to cross over it earlier, and I also had the good sense to place the board in position for the return trip. I just didn’t imagine the return trip would be at such an enhanced speed.

I have no way of knowing how long I’d been unconscious, but my engine was cold when I awoke. Yes, I was wearing my helmet. I had managed to catch the board- the ramp- with the front tire. The bike (and myself) somersaulted and landed about 20 feet past the pipe. I have no idea what kind of spectacle that had been, but I wish I could post it on YouTube today. I just wasn’t paying attention. After that, I did. All the time. Constantly! You MUST stay aware of your environment, or get racked in the balls.

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