Monday, January 24, 2011

Fear is after

The ride down was great.
The road was clear and twisty and the traffic light. Only had to stop for road construction once but ever since we whored ourselves out to get the Olympics that's been unending. It was spring and the air was just chilly enough to warrant heavy gloves and a sweater under my jacket.
Weather report was talking about a light storm but aside from a little tiny bit of rain over the summit it was dry and marvelous.
The job went great. I had a small part in a big movie and the Director was great to work with. The other actors were all out of LA but the crew was all local. I had a GREAT time. About midnight one of the sound guys came in and told me about a change in the weather.
Big storm coming in.
I did listen, I really did. But this was a great party and I really did not want to ride 3 hours right then. So I waited. Figured if I left at 5ish I could beat the storm and make the last and twistiest part of the canyon as the sun came up.
The best laid plans.
I left at 5. Put on all the gear I had, borrowed a pair of sweat pants to wear under my riding leathers. It was cold. Really cold. I made it out of town and headed up the canyon in record time, I had in my head this idea that I needed to beat the storm.
It happened really fast. Far less time then it will take you to read this.
Coming around the last corner before the summit I discovered two very unpleasant things simultaneously. Three inches of new snow on the road and a fully loaded semi tractor trailer sliding sideways straight towards me. I was going too fast and not expecting snow. I didn't dare hit the brakes. Two wheels under you on snow can very quickly become catastrophic.
I was slowing to a stop and getting as far to the right as I could. The semi was about 60 feet away and looking to slide right over the top of me.
This is when I discovered the third bad thing.
My boots were frozen solid to my floorboards.
I panicked and started yanking my feet as hard as i could. My left boot was a little looser from shifting and two good yanks broke it free. My right boot might as well have been super glued on. Couldn't even budge it.
I got right next to the guardrail and stopped.
Put my left foot down and looked up.
20 feet, 15 feet, 10.
My life didn't flash. I didn't see a light. I was still yanking on my boot. Thinking if I could break it free I could dive over the rail. A 200 foot slide to the river was looking much better then getting squished.
The very corner, the last two inches, the very barest edge of the bumper on the trailer hit me.
Cut a three inch gash in my vest, scratched my jacket. My boot came free. The semi slid of the road, smashing the barricade into scrap and grinding to a stop 30 feet behind me.
No lesson. No moral. No regrets.
The Film, incidentally. Is playing at Sundance right now.

1 comment:

ApparentlyatotalB said...

I had a pretty bad accident a couple of years ago and same as you, there was no flash of light. Just the thought, "So, this is gonna happen, RIGHT NOW.".