Many years ago I was following you down the trail. You were on your black and red Trek 2500. You had some god awful blue and waterproof Nike shoes on your damn Wellgo pedals. We were cruising...as fast as we could back then. It was small downhill section and the trail was super wide...but we would take any trail riding we could get. This ride though changed you. You might not remember why, but I see it in my memory like it happened yesterday. We were going probably around 16 mph down this section of trail. Just ahead I saw a small tree was down and laying over the trail. Thinking you were 10 feet tall and bulletproof you decided to bunny hop this particular tree. Little did you know that the tree was at least a foot off the ground....and your vertical boost was not nearly enough. You caught yourself......with your face....going 16 miles an hour. You were promptly knocked unconscious. Kudos for trying to make it.....your front wheel cleared but your back wheel hooked the tree and spun you so fast that you had no chance to get your hands up. The 4' skid mark was rather impressive too. Anyway, after stopping I realized you were not moving. I got you untangled from your Trek and tossed it to the side to survey the damages. Your left eye was bleeding and I figured maybe you had a neck injury. You would not respond to my call of your name or a subtle shake. Surveying the damage I decided I had to get you stationary so I unclipped your helmet. You shot straight up to a sitting position with a perplexed look on your face....blood dripping down onto your jersey. I asked you if you remembered what happened. You took a look at the tree and said "guess I didn't make it huh?" I told you that your were bleeding and we started the short one mile trip to home. Don't worry, your bike was fine. You impressed me because after about 6 steps you threw your leg over the bike and said "lets just get home". Within the next 1/4 mile the haziness started to appear. You started to ask me for details about the preceding events and if it looked cool or not. By the time we were 1/4 mile from home you had to ask me again because you had no idea what happened...but I can still see your smile. Impressed with yourself for the apparent war wound and story that you had acquired. Explaining what happened to your wife and sister was very interesting too....because your concussion fog made it so you forgot once again what happened. We got in the car with your wife and we headed to the ER. 7 stitches in your eyebrow, a huge black eye, and one concussion later you looked like you were in a huge fight. You were okay, and the healing began.
We never really rode much after that. I could tell that your once aggressive nature on the bike had turned tentative. Eventually the riding stopped all together. For both of us. No more arguments over which bike brand was better.....Trek versus Schwinn....which if you look around anywhere I think we can tell who was right. No more weekend rides at Custer or Yankee. No day trips across the state up north to ride Vasa. No more Iceman races. A lot changed that day.
I want to thank you though. You got me into this crazy sport that I love so much. You are on my mind every time I get on the bike. I wonder what you are doing now. Wonder if you ever went for another ride. There has got to be sweet singletrack where you are now. I will never forget that you got me started riding. I will never forget the fun we had out there in the woods. But you know it was always more than that....and that is what I miss the most. We all miss you brother. It has been 2 years today since we had to say good bye. 2 difficult years of wondering how different things could have been. I know I have a guardian angel since you passed.....and I hope that you sit on my shoulder as I am blasting through the woods or riding around the countryside. You were smiling on me last night as the guy went down in front of me and I was able to ride over his bike without a scratch to me or my bike.
Thank you Big Timmy. We miss you.