I’m twice guilty of the bike toss.
Once in a race somewhere in Iowa in ’93 when I flatted out of the break. I tossed my bike into the ditch and bent my saddle rails. Served me right.
Another more recent toss happened after a Wednesday night ride crash in 2005. Side wind, crossed wheels, and I almost got out of it, but ultimately broke my wheel and tumbled over the bars. I threw my bike in and out of a farmer’s field and jumped up and down on it for good measure, all while my riding partners stared in disbelief.
The one toss that my friends will never let me forget, though, wasn’t really a bike toss, but it was a toss on a pretty big stage—at the finish line of a NORBA race in Vail. What was it? ’94? Let me set this up a little bit.
We’d been camping in Colorado for a week. John Rokke and Mark Savery had their bikes stolen a few days prior to our Vail arrival, which really sucked, then Cheryl and I drove under the infamous Vail parking structure with bikes on the roof (You entered the structure on top and then exited by driving down to the second floor, where hundreds of people had their bikes ripped from the top of their cars.). It seemed like everything was going wrong. Stayed up until 2:00 a.m. borrowing parts from racers I didn’t know and trying to get my bike repaired. Didn’t sleep. Raced at altitude for like two and a half hours (crashed three times and had to stop and sit on a tree stump at one point out of shear exhaustion), and upon crossing the finish line, ripped my helmet off and threw it as high as I could, getting it caught about fifty feet up in a pine tree. Then when some innocent bystanders dared look at me, I yelled at them, “What the fuck are you looking at?” Not my best moment, but a funny story now that a couple decades have passed.
Then it took me twenty minutes of throwing a log at my helmet to retrieve it from the branches of the pine.
I don’t like the first and third stories much—they’re embarrassing and somehow never lived up to their intensity—but the time I threw my bike around after the WNR crash felt really good, and I still think was a healthy, well-focused outburst, if ever there was one.
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