Now that I am firmly in my thirties (sheesh!) I look back at some of the activities that I was participating in during my younger years with raised eyebrows. One sport that comes to the front of my mind is mountain biking.
This was a big part of the teen culture for my friends and I. We would get on our mountain bikes and head out into the community, looking for the next high ledge to fling ourselves off of.
What gets me most when I think about it now is what the best-case scenario was. If everything goes according to plan when you huck yourself off a drop? You will land safely.
That’s it. That’s the ceiling. You still have a fully functioning human body.
Any result beyond that will lead to some form of physical harm ranging from a pedal to the shins to life-threatening injuries. Now, I’d like to say this came to me in my thirty-something wisdom. But, it took an alarming conversation with my friend – the nurse – to sink in that mountain biking is one of the primary causes of severe head and spinal injuries.
The cost of looking cool and participating in an extreme sport, I guess. Just like Josh Bender, an icon, doing the kind of drop we were aspiring to do.
Some would argue the rush, the adrenaline is worth it. I tested my mettle at times when mountain biked as a youth. I was going as high as 12- and 14-foot drops at my… “peak” (read: heavy sarcasm). The very thought of that seems completely ludicrous now.
Our rite of passage growing up was a 12 ft tall drop called the “Blockbuster drop.”
*Heavy wave of nostalgia*
You didn’t really mountain bike until you did the Blockbuster drop. I eventually drummed up the willpower, and the rush was exhilarating. I was a part of this community now. Sworn in by the drop.
I can still relate to that sensation today. But the reality of the activity itself is comically horrifying.
When the best case scenario is you land injury free? What was I thinking!?