Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Rolling With Urban Assault

Yep, it’s been awhile since I’ve written. I have a number of excuses that I won’t get into, but I really like writing on my blog. In some ways it’s very refreshing. Anyway....

Due to an event I will undertake in less than three weeks, I’ve been trying to spend at least 2 days a week doing some type of biking activity (which explains this ). While attempting to find people to ride with I came across a local biking group who meet either downtown or at LSU one night a week. I knew nothing about the group other than their name, Urban Assault (keep that name in mind). This description of the ride was given on the local mountain biking association forum:
Boost your riding skills under the lights with some of the best progressive riders tonight in down town, B.R. We meet up in front of the state capitol at 7:30PM and leave the parking lot by 8:00PM. All riders and abilities welcome. We usually ride till 9:30 or 10:00, some times later. Helmets are required. Learn in a relaxed environment!
Progressive riders, right; but I’m always up for trying new things and I figured best case scenario the group does a good 12 to 20 mile ride around downtown, just what I’m looking for.
Well last Wednesday night I met the group (ended up about 14 riders that night) in front of the State Capital about 10 minutes before they start to ride. A few things told me right away this wasn’t gonna be what I quite expected...
1) A few guys were wearing any combination of jeans, cut-off t-shirts, and do-rags (no helmets); from my experience with serious road riders everyone generally wears combinations of brightly colored and horribly mismatched spandex outfits and shirts,
2) Most of the other guys who did wear helmets were also wearing elbow, arm, and leg pads; made me wonder a bit, and
3) Some of these guys looked slightly crazy (just my observation).
I could ramble on but this statement probably sums it up best; what the “And 1 Streetball Tour” is to the National Basketball Association (NBA), these guys (Urban Assault) are to Mountain Biking. Now 4 or 5 of the guys were very accomplished mountain bikers, but apparently when they get together on these nights all they do is practice insane bike maneuvers like attempting to ride up the rails of interstate on-ramps, jumping concrete barriers, riding down flights of steps, and bunny hopping concrete benches. Now I can hop a curve ok, and I’m learning to bunny hop (basically jumping obstacles with the bike) better, but I have no interest in doing crazy stunts on concrete at the moment. Also, if you mess up and fall that can cause extreme physical discomfort.

My highlight of the night, after an hour or so we ended up on the levee where a small ramp was pulled out which some of the guys used to jump these concrete flower beds while landing on the down side of the levee. There is also a nice sidewalk with a number of benches on the top of the levee where people go to walk, make out, smoke pot, etc. I’m standing off to the side with a few of the other riders not willing to risk their nuts doing a jump with a 10 ft drop on the other side when this random guy holding a beer and a smoke and his girl walk slowly towards us. The guy, who I’ll refer to as “Random Brotha Man” walked up to me and we had this brief conversation:
Random Brotha Man: “I know you’re not gonna do that”

Me (laughing): “Nah, cool, I’m just trying to get in some riding practice, besides I’m not trying to go home with a broken arm or nuthing like that”

Random Brotha Man: “Yes, cause you know we wasn’t made to do that type of sh..”
It’s weird but I kinda understood where he was coming from. Anyway I didn’t have a bad time with those guys and they seemed like generally good people. That being said I probably won’t ride with them again, but if anyone hears something like this, “Fred is in the hospital, I heard he broke his leg on his bike trying to use a homemade bike ramp to jump over the statue of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. downtown”, look for those guys, they can probably tell you how it went down.


dointhemedance said...

Haha. Hilarious post. Reminds me of that Chapelle episode with And 1 bowling. I snowboard here in Japan and the thought of strapping your feet onto a board and going down hill at a hell's pace seems to completely defy logic. Maybe its b/c I don't have the random brotha man to say, "we wasn't made to do that type that type of sh*t."
I enjoy the sport a lot, but when we start to snowboard in the backcounty and wooded areas, that when I'm out. Maybe the Otha Brotha does have a point. Slanted as it may be, I see where we he's coming from.

headliner said...

I haven't seen much of the Chapelle show, but I'm sure that episode was funny. You know snowboarding is something I want to try at some point, as long as I'm relatively safe.

After really thinking about what "Random Brotha Man" said it is kinda slanted but I think this is what some people mean when saying things like that, historically minorities have faced issues that can make life a little tougher on us. Why take unecessary risk to add to that. Or maybe better put by Chris Rock............"You start getting social security at age 65, meanwhile the average black man dies at 54! Black people should get Social Security at 29! Black people don't live that long - hypertension, high blood pressure, NYPD!"

But at the same time you only got one life to live, so why not live it to the fullest, enjoy yourself, and have fun. If that means you snowboarding or myself biking down a mountain at 40 mph, why not. Just make sure you have your helmet on, I'll have mine, see I'm not completely crazy.