Or maybe I’m just crazy and that is a weird quirk to have. Yeah, that is entirely possible.
My eyes scanned all of the riders out there searching for Ted. It took me a few scans but I finally found him. He was riding a different color bike then the one he was riding when I crashed into him (or he crashed into me according to his side of things) and he looked really good in his clean uniform, and his flashy helmet. It was like he was ready to go into battle, which in a sense he was, but his body language as he rode his bike into position was sexy and smooth. He had full control over that machine between his legs…
Yeah, I liked that…
Feeling myself getting a bit hot under the collar I took another drink of my soda and tried to focus.
The riders rode up to the start line and after a few tense seconds they were off and riding away. It all began as a garbled mess of bodies so closely jammed together it almost looked like they were all chained together and riding on top of something beneath them. But quickly after the first hill, they all flew through the air and seemed to part their ways as they landed.
I watched intently until I could see Ted pulling out to the middle of the group. He accelerated quickly trying to speed past all of the riders, but every time he came to a curve I could see him slow down as the other racers started to pass him. For whatever reason he was having some trouble navigating the curve. I didn’t know enough about the sport to see if he was using a bad technique, or if there was something else going on. But it kept happening.
At least his jumps were high and breathtaking. The moment he hit the top of the hill and flew through the air it was like he was gliding on the air, flying higher and higher, and then falling smoothly to the ground as he accelerated once again and pulled ahead of his competitors.
I wondered how long he’d been really working on this sort of thing. He said he’d been seven when he started riding, but at what age do you start letting your kid practice this sort of thing? You had to be partially nuts as a parent to even approve of it and you definitely had to be nuts to attempt it. No one was going to be able to do it right the first several tries, so you were looking at multiple times where you were destined to fall to the ground and hurt yourself. Yet, you had to keep marching on and moving forward.
I admired that dedication.
Ted was getting a bit farther ahead now as some of the other riders missed their jumps and got farther behind. So far he had hit all of his jumps; his straight ahead game and those damn curves kept throwing him off base. I wondered if I should ask him at some point, but I thought better of it. It didn’t look like he was going to win this and I didn’t really want to bring up a sore subject. I wasn’t sure yet what type of a loser he might have been.
The race came to a close with Ted finishing eighth, if I counted correctly. He did not win, but it was a valiant effort and I was impressed with his ability. To do the things I’d just seen him do—that took a lot of skill and time to develop.
I decided to hang around outside the venue for a bit hoping to see him walk by so that I could talk to him. There was no way he had seen me in the audience or knew that I was there.
After waiting about a half hour I finally saw him exiting the building where I had determined the locker room was. At first he didn’t acknowledge my presence as he headed towards a beat up old Chevy Blazer. I didn’t know that he owned an actual car. It was old and rusted and I doubted it would run you more than a few miles before it needed maintenance, but it was his. I hated the thought, but it did remind me of a teenager’s first car.
“Hey!” I called to him.
He paused a moment and then his eyes focused in the dimly lit parking lot and his face relaxed as he saw it was me.
“Well, isn’t this a surprise?” He asked.
“What do you mean? You invited me and left the ticket.”
“Yeah, but I didn’t think you would actually come. I thought you would have forgotten all about it.”
His modesty was cute.
“Well, I would have, but I just happened to have nothing else in the world going on tonight,” I replied laying it on a bit thick.