I was Mountain Biking at Fox Creek in the Adelaide Hills a few weeks ago and had an experience that lead to a thought, which lead to a blog. This blog.
The experience: At the bottom of a downhill run, that converges with a few other downhill runs, I intersected with a fellow rider.
I acknowledged him and he started talking in what sounded like an excited tone- his full-face downhill helmet was muffling his voice.
“Sorry I can’t hear what you’re saying mate!” said I.
The other rider removed his helmet and said something quite enthusiastically- I can’t remember what he said because I was in shock.
When this guy removed his helmet, what he revealed was long, wispy white hair, about shoulder length but with a bald top. He had wrinkled, leathery skin and squinty eyes. He would have had to have been about seventy years old- at the very least.
“Are they your mates over there?” he said.
“My mates don’t come out riding with me, they’re all bloody old wimps!” He exclaimed. Bear in mind he had just come flying down one of the Black Diamond Downhill runs- think massive jumps, tight bermed corners and terrifying drop-offs.
We chatted a bit as we walked our bikes back to our respective cars. His wife was waiting patiently in the passenger seat of his ute. She was knitting. I am not joking. This actually happened. Ask Max Martin if you doubt me.
This got me thinking about my wife’s recently deceased Grandfather. He died in his early 90s, and had been ‘living’ in a nursing home for about 7 years. Prior to that he existed on a lazy boy armchair plonked in front of the horse racing channel on pay tv. He had done this for the previous ten or so years.
When the Grim Reaper finally pushed his door open and signalled ‘time’ on his life, Grandpa’s response was probably ‘It’s about bloody time mate, I’ve been waiting 15 years for you!’.
When Death goes looking for my old mate from Fox Creek, he probably won’t be at home on the couch. Check the garage Grim. I bet his bike isn’t in there.
Old mate will be out at Fox Creek. If he gets the tap on the shoulder at the top of a downhill run, he’ll probably say ‘Come on Grim, can you just let me have one more crack at this track and catch me down the bottom?’
When it’s my time to shuffle off, I hope I am hiking up a Himalayan mountain, or wake-boarding, or kicking the footy with my Grandkids, or Great Grandkids. When Death comes looking, I’m gonna be hard to find!