Friday, March 7, 2008

I'm An Ice Missile!

Despite the yeti-genital undertones that some of you with dirty, filthy, little pervy minds would instantly jump to, this is not about mythical(?) snow creature wang. It's about snowboarding, and going fast in snow and ice and stuff like that. So for the love of all that's holy, get the picture of a giant frozen stiffy out of your head! Man, if all you can think about when I say "ice missile" is a throbbing, erect, skin saber made of winter wonder, then you my friend, may need to seek some psychological help.

That being said, y'all know I loves my surfing. Well, traditionally, in the winter, I turn into a complete hermit, hibernating, geeking out, playing video games, and slugging back Wild Turkey like Nick Cage in Leaving Las Vegas. This year, I'm spending my time with an awesome lady who is an avid snowboarder. A little coercing, a little suspension of my ordinary hatred of being outside in the winter, and about $400 bucks later, I'm ready to get into yet another expensive hobby.

Everyone told me, "Oh, you're a surfer! You'll pick it up in no time! It'll be so easy for you!"


Well, not completely. I did in fact, pick it up super quickly, but that didn't happen until the second time out. The first time, we were at Mountain Creek, and I freaked out when I strapped my feet into the bindings. I'm used to having bare feet and warm water - at most, when the water's really cold, I throw on a wetsuit and some booties. But having the equivalent of NASA moon boots from the Gemini era swallowing my ankles and then locking them into a deal with the Snow Miser was a little too much. I got over it soon enough, but spent much of the first day falling on my knees on a sheet of ice. I bruised them so badly, I woke up the next day unsure as to whether I had attempted a new sport or spent the night servicing the entire crew of a battleship in a Hong Kong port like some exotic lady of the night.

I felt like such a horse's ass, because I was soooo sure I would be a natural at it, as I've been doing board sports pretty much my entire life. A humbling experience to be sure.

I promptly went back out and bought some knee pads for myself.

The next time I went out, I fared much better. We went out to Camelback in the Poconos and there was some snow-like material on the ground, which provided a little better traction for me. I went up the beginner hill, hopped on my board, and shot down the hill, only taking one little tumble. I turned back and forth, feeling like a champion, while other clumsy freaks were staggering around and landing in front of me. I got to the bottom of the baby-douche hill, and thought, "Well! That certainly was better!" Then gf slid up behind me and boosted my self-esteem a little more. "You're so good at this already!" So I felt less like Rain Man, and more like the Silver Surfer.

I've been going every Saturday, getting better and better on the nerd hill. Seeing tiny children going up on the lift all the way up to the top, I decided I had to go too. I finally got up the courage to attempt a real trail and go up the mountain.

As I ascended to the drop point, I started to get a little weird feeling. Now, to be clear, I'm not afraid of heights. However, I am afraid of FALLING from these same heights. So I decided to take it nice and easy all the way down, assuring myself I can ride the length of the mountain down on my ass if need be.

I hopped off the lift, strapped in, and jumped free of the drop area, immediately hurtling down the mountain like, yes, an ice missile. I fell a few times, rather spectacularly, but basically got to the bottom feeling pretty good about myself. I felt vindicated, and kept going back up and down successfully.

A few weeks pass, with no real injuries to speak of. My technique, while unconventional (I keep trying to surf on the snow, as opposed to how people actually ski/snowboard down the mountain, but I look totally rad) is improving, and I love going now. It's awesome to have something to look forward to in the winter now, because I was so sick of sitting inside. We start and end each session with a gulp of whiskey to warm up and down, and my weekends are fun again.

And now, for the coup de grace.

Last week, conditions were a little icy. I did well on the trails, though. I have learned how to better manage my edges, weight distribution and turning. Feeling good about myself, I start doing little things with my turns, finding my style. Gf comments "look at you, riding switch" as I traverse down a part of the hill rather deftly. She passes ahead of me, to the bottom, open straightaway section, which as I am about to find out, is really packed and icy. I am absolutely speeding through this flat section when I feel the edges of my board start to wiggle.

Now, when you're skateboarding and the edges of your board wiggle going down a hill quickly, it's known around my parts as the "speed wobbles" and usually, at least historically in my case, it means you're about to eat some serious asphalt. So when I feel the snowboard do the very same thing, you can imagine I'm a little suspicious. Well, no sooner does my brain make this connection than one of the edges catches hard in the packed snow and I go down, flat on my back/ass, so hard that it knocks the wind out of me, and pain radiates through my body like a bomb blast.

I actually hit my ass so hard, I felt it internally, within the asscavern itself, as opposed to the tailbone, aka coccyx, that most people injure. Must have been the angle of entry or whatever, but my poor rectum was the victim here, and it was NOT happy about being the center of attention. I pulled myself up, got myself out of the bindings, and limped over to gf, who was all worried, because I looked like I had just been shot.

I sat down for a while and caught my breath, learning from her that this kind of injury was like a rite of passage, and everyone breaks their ass at some point. I suppose it's good it happened at that stage, when my confidence was high, because I could see someone never snowboarding again after something like that. After a little while, I felt better, and went down a few more runs. The rest of the following week it was sore, and the muscles in my lower back are still sore right now, but I'm pretty sure I didn't crack anything. Other than my crack, that is.

I decided that the injury was so magnificent, and the pain so specific, that I gave this type of fall/mishap a new name. I hereby refer to this occurrence as a "Rikers" because after that, I felt like I had just taken a shower in a prison.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

All Right, I'm Easing Back Into It.

I have soooo many things to write about and no time to do it. I really have to try to not do these epic posts that only come once in a while... I should try to edit myself and have more little things to say instead. But then I have people telling me that they like these diatribes, so, I don't know. Whatever.

In any event, I thought I'd warm up by mentioning BlogBackupOnline again. I talked about it last summer and the app is now coming out of beta and offering a whole mess of other options. You can still sign up for a basic free account though. If nothing else, you can set it up once, and let it run each day for you, backing up your precious rants and raves for all time. I just like knowing that it's not only residing on one set of servers... I like backing up, ask anyone who knows me. I'm like a zealot.

Anyway, more to come. I have a lot of annoying things to talk about. As usual.