after it happened i wandered like a lost soul looking for my friend jim because it's his land and i thought it would make me feel better to have said "it's dead, jim."
i call jim when i'm in a fix and have messed up my derailleur or don't understand a piece of legislation.
my red bike is dead.
i know, just things, right?
but i am guilty of anthropomorphizing the inanimate and bike is not just thing to me. bike is not person, but way more than thing.
a bike is an extension of me, just as much as a hand. to ride a bike is to feel lithe and graceful and powerful. to ride a bike is to feel freedom. to ride a bike is to feel mastery and fear and doubt and mastery again.
to ride a bike is to cheat death.
and i love each of my bikes; i know where we were when i first fell in love with them. i talk to them and i remember where they carried me, how many thousands of miles they carried me, in health and sickness and back to health again and in defeat and in championship and just for the hell of it,
and the red bike, it knew every trail at catamount, it knew me.
and i loved it.
and today when i was about a mile from the parking, late in my ride, just spinning the pedals on smooth fast singletrack i heard the pop and then the horrible noise that comes when something has gone wrong and the tire is dragging on an edge somewhere, but the tire wasn't flat but the chain had jumped to the big ring and i could not figure the noise and i was crippled but still moving and then i wasn't.
i was very suddenly not moving and toppled over on the trailside, banging the seat into my butt (there will be a bruise) and then i saw the heartbreaking thing: the frame was broken. not cracked; broken all the way through and a guy came up outta nowhere on the trail and asked if i was ok and i said i wan't hurt, but this was the death of my bike and he said he didn't see what was wrong and i said "look here."
he asked if i would be all right and i said i was kinda busted up about the bike but otherwise fine.
he said he hoped i could get a new frame under warranty and he moved on.
and i started to walk out rolling it beside me and then i was thinking of all the thousands of miles it carried me and decided it deserved a better exit, and i took it up on my shoulder and carried it out.
a full suspension mountain bike is not a light thing, and it is not designed for carrying, but i carried it all the way. halfway i stopped and fixed the dangling chain to make it look more dignified. i stood tall like a pallbearer, proud to carry it the last mile it was ever going to go. there wasn't anyone to see me do it, not until i got to the parking lot, and i'm glad i didn't have to explain a mechanical bad enough to walk and a bike so loved as to be carried.
i must have been a sight, resolutely carrying a bike, covered in mud and tears and snot.
i racked it for the last time and i brought it home.
i do not know what will happen next.