A Picnic (Bench) in the Park


Friday night I had my stuff ready to go for my first day back on the mountain bike on Trail Patrol in (would you believe?) a year. I was so excited I woke up at 3:00 a.m. like I had a race or needed to catch an early flight.

I must admit I was a little anxious about it since it would only be my second time back mountain biking. I had a great ride on some easy stuff with 734’s Dad on Labor Day. He coached me on how to handle the terrain everywhere we went. I hopped off the bike anywhere I didn’t feel confident of my abilities. I know that’ll improve in time.

When I arrived at El Morro, Keith got out of his truck and announced, “I hurt my knee. I can’t ride!” Oh, the irony. The guy who kept me company on the picnic bench for months while we did our volunteer duties, answering questions, etc., suddenly needed me to do the same.

Keith, “The Governor”, is another big single-speeder. For last Tuesday’s Over-the-Hump race he erred on the side of make-it-challenging by putting on a very hard gear. Then he erred on the side of not calculating right and did an extra lap.

I expected my knee to hurt a little after the ride, so I came prepared with as he put it “the Cadillac of gel packs.” We snacked and drank coffee while he iced his knee. Then another rider came down and alerted us about a woman who was hurt. Fortunately, not so seriously that she couldn’t walk out of the park. The Good Samaritan ran back to help her with her bike. When they arrived, we had a nice ice-cold gel pack for the injured woman’s arm.

She was in tears. She said she always falls. We had to cheer the girl up. Keith quickly admitted, “I broke my collar bone four times.” “So did my friend, Ken!” I added. Then I said, “Keith, tell her the story about the cactus and the bikini wax!” (Yeah, that’s how he pulled about hundred thorns out of his legs and butt last year.) We made her laugh. We hung out with her until her husband arrived. We’re hoping she just had some really bad bruises and not some ligament damage.

Then we helped some Japanese tourists in brand spanking new Yankees baseball caps. I jokingly announced, “I’m sorry I can’t help you with those hats. Talk to Keith.” They laughed. The wife said as she swatted her husband gently, “I told you we shouldn’t wear these around Angels fans.” I said, “Oh no, I’m a Red Sox fan.” Then they jokingly walked away and said, “We can’t talk to you either.” Keith gave them directions.

Next month, hopefully we’ll get to ride our bikes on the trails together again – finally. We’re both sick of warming the bench.