WanderingDan’s Weblog


Almost died…again…this time in Norway
May 21, 2013, 6:06 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Wandering, I find myself, as often before, passing the main tourist area of the port and into an urban residential sector of Stavenger, Norway.  I am content to explore, with a slight agenda of finding gentle-sloped hills to ride,  emphasis on ‘gentle’.   First, I don’t have the wrench with me, and I loosened the trucks on my board back in Belgium for maximum maneuverability; adjusted as they are now speed-wobble would set in quickly on any ‘real’ decline.  One street past another, I keep walking up.  A few of them would be awesome to ride down with the proper adjustment, and of course, less cars…especially given I don’t know these streets, at all.  Finally I come to an area that has a nice little decline, with a bit of a curve and wide enough to carve… looks pretty fun; it also levels out at the bottom for a safe stop.   Making my way to a good starting point the noises of garbage truck lifting dumpsters alert me to its presence before I actually see the beast.  It’s position is noted, and its direction anticipated.  I had better get going before he cuts me off.  Wasting no time, with a quick push, the ride begins with some carving around a few rough spots in the street.  Sure enough I pass the truck just before he turns the corner…but now he’s right behind me.  I near the level out point where I am supposed to hop off, but this damn truck is literally right behind me.  Why I don’t pull over to the side of the street right here I don’t know.  Instead I decide to steer right and go down the adjacent street, a three block long, steep hill…oh my god, what am I doing!  This is one of the hills I passed while walking up, however, none of the circumstances are in my favor for an optimal ride.  Okay, a few carves and I’ll hop off…that’s the plan.  The garbage truck is right behind me coming down the hill.  I am picking up speed fast, and despite wild carves to the extreme left and right sides of the road I keep bulleting down…shit…if I jump off now I’ll most likely just do a few rolls, get a few bruises, and have to chase my board down the street.  Adrenalin kicks in full power, and within seconds it’s too late to jump off.  I pick up more speed, and the wheels are wobbling like crazy.  An intersection approaches and a slight cobblestone row demarcating the walkway is sticking a jagged inch or so above the asphalt.  Bracing to hit this cobblestone line and fall flat on my face at such a speed, I ease my weight to the back to minimize the wipeout.   Surprisingly the board skims right over it.  Damn…I was actually kind of hoping for the wipeout.  No cars are in the intersection but I have to steer clear of a few oldies. There is no time to think because I’m still picking up speed, and I see cars at the next intersection.  I am flying now, carving like mad to dredge off speed.  The car at the intersection sees me and hurries through…whew, I am in the clear.  Hold on…oh shit, the Audi wagon behind him doesn’t…he starts a slow turn down the same hill, son-of-a-bitch I’m gonna hit him!!!!  In less than a second, I have to decide how I’m going to crash…do I jump off the board and try to roll over the car, or carve as much as I can to the right and bounce off his corner.  In that split second I can’t decide…maybe because I’ve never been in this situation before, maybe because I am scared.  With a stroke of luck the Audi finally sees me, and whether to save my life, or prevent dents on his nice ride, he guns it around the corner…just in time for me to squeak past his right rear side.  I haven’t lost any speed, and for a moment we are going neck in neck down the hill.  He accelerates hard to get the hell away from me, and I take that opportunity to start carving again.  After a couple turns a little Mini-Cooper at the next intersection turns the corner and starts heading right for me…so I carve back over to the right…now there is half a block to go before the hill ends, and that intersection where it ends is a major one.  The garbage truck is still not far behind me.  That half-block gap closes quickly with my still-wobbling wheels and bug-eyes.  It looks like there are three lanes on the street I’m about to run right into.  The Audi is stopped at the light…not good.  Having to think and act simultaneously falls into the realm of instinct…it takes over and I do the only thing I can…make a quick left cut in front of the stopped Audi and then carve as hard to the right as I can, digging in the rails so fiercely I’m almost up on two wheels, just hoping the turn radius is tight enough to avoid plowing into moving traffic.  Teeth clenched, I brace for a brutal end…but end up gliding into an empty bus lane instead, slowly coming to a stop as I transition up a driveway and back onto the sidewalk.  Stopped, I pat my heart with my right hand and slowly inhale and exhale deeply.  Why do we pat our heart…what does that do?  I glance over and see two young women in a cafe window looking at me quizzically.  They didn’t see my adrenaline-pumping fiasco, so were justifiably curious.  I smile at them, breathe again, and push off with my left foot to ride back to the main town area…only my legs are so rubbery from the excitement I can’t balance.  Hopping off, I grab the board content to walk for a while, still bewildered at what just happened.  I hope that garbage truck enjoyed the show…

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