Foreword: This, along with two other posts ( Making the case for Obama and wait for it…making the case for The Huffington Post) is what I call a zombie post. I hear them growling and hissing ( on the back ground ) like the walking dead–perhaps they need brains; something that is in short supply when we talk all things Jack but there I go again drifting along like a dinghy on the sands of the Sahara.
Last summer (actually 2011) I hit one of my favorite trails, the Old Croton Aqueduct trail. It begins in Van Cortland Park extending 26.2 miles one way (52 miles total ) ending at the New Croton reservoir. It’s an old rails to trails project. Along the way one can see animals such as deer, raccoons, foxes (something hypnotizing to the average city slicker) and amazing vistas of the Hudson River and the remains of the huge ( at the time 1842 ) underground pipes that once extended all the way to 42 st(?) old New York. On this warm summer day I stopped at a spot frequented by mountain bikers and bmx’ers; just at the NYC Yonkers border for a much-needed cliff bar break.
Side note for cyclists: Buy squeezable baby food http://www.peterrabbitorganics.com/fruit-snacks/ instead of those expensive bars marketed to athletes; they are cheaper about a $1.50 instead of $3 + Bucks and are easier to digest and have all the nutrients you need.
It was a moment of splendid solitude; the only thing to do was to enjoy the warm sun on my face and watch the occasional chipmunk scurrying about doing whatever it is chipmunks have on their to do list. It was the middle of the week so the only noise was the rustling of cattails and phragmites along Tibbetts Brook; that and the grumble in my stomach— not of hunger but shock that I had actually put food in it.
Suddenly, I heard the dull crunch a knobby tire makes as it bites the ground—first I saw the silver mazzorichi bomber suspension fork (MTB’er porn moment ahhhh yes baby, ahhh), attached the pea soup green bike with the trademark vintage plastic blonde bomb shell doll masterfully bonded to the bike.
I knew immediately it was the WHITE RASTA!
Insert, the indescribable thud a mountain bike makes after clearing a jump here. So after the dust settled from jumping the 6ft natural stone steps ledge he noticed me and came to say Hi. Removing his full face mountain bike helmet I saw the trade mark dreads of a Rastafarian, what makes him stand out is the fiery red hue—yes, the white Rasta is a ginger!
After a quick chat we agree to hit the BMX training course–not many people know about this spot for a good reason. It was cut illegally by a bunch of kids. I’m into the berm,”%^&$” keep nose high…feeling the G-force on my body and the bike’s suspension sag, “G-ddamn” I kick the ground hard with my right to avoid crashing. Up-ahead boulder bed…”Ok, jack you can do this– stick my rear way behind the saddle, flex knees, hit it full speed. Head begins to bounce ahead like one of those Beatles car dashboard bobble heads you see on hippie vans, lock the rear brake! now quickly spin and pull to the side so I can see the next guy possibly get a concussion, HEY! it’s a tough sport people, do or die.
Tucked-in tight like a horse jockey heading for the finish line, the white rasta hits the berm full speed, he is liquid with the moment, if there’s poetry in motion the way he handled that turn was it—-HA! boulder bed is next mister, the skinny ginger is going to eat some teeth, like fer sure! ( did I mention that it’s a tough sport people?) suddenly, like a ghostly gossamer cradled by the wind he wills himself off the ground— time stands still and I swear I harking angels. He lands with as much energy as a feather striking the ground, only a small wispy poof of dust was evidence that he somehow disturbed mother Gaia.
Looking at him; one would wonder where does he fit in with the heavily armored clad band of road warriors who used to hit the trails in our pack. Other than his speed play clipless pedals there is nothing that indicates he is part of the MTB culture. WR ( initials no names here) is as far removed in attire as a hell’s angels biker on a wall st board room. Camel-bak hydration pack none, gloves none, body armour none, shorts? that’s sacrilege to the WR he wears cut off jeans!
His work out regime? Just hit the trails, his favorite ride energizer? a joint–funny how a cop that used to ride with us always had to visit mother nature when WR said he needed a “smoke.” For about 5 years-on any given Saturday; early in the morning, 8am, at the trail head, you found a motley crew from all walks of life and the WR had a way to mesh us all together. He was mellow and good-natured helping noobs traverse the world of Mt. Biking. More than once I saw him give expensive bike components to those who could not afford them. He always made people laugh and help those he could.
Saw the White rasta working at a BEST BUY recently –he was barely recognizable, gone was the signature dreadlocks and beard; now replaced by a conservative hair cut and BB’s trademark Blue shirt and khakis. He had enrolled in a community college and spoke of goals he wanted to achieve. He got married, as I knew him he lived free, he had a daughter but rejected papers and ceremonies that let him know he had a loving family, the only papers WR needed was to roll his joints — I guess somewhere along the way something dreadful happened to my wild comrade, he was the same fellow but somehow there was something missing. We talked a little bit and made vague plans to hit the trails in some near future, hell I think the SOB tried to sell me a TV!
I was crest fallen; it was as if a wild thing had just become extinct. Good natured beasties are so few in this world, people who harm no one and give everyone their all, we need them in droves-when they are gone, this tiny blue sphere of ours becomes a tad more insignificant. Sure I’m glad that he is taking care of his family—- things change but in my distant memories we still run in the woods wild with abandon.
One day I’ll grow-up just like the white rasta did………………. just not today.
Why white rasta? Because there was also a black rasta in our bike group–how do you expect me to keep track of who’s who?