Before we get into today’s effort, I’d like to note that the process in which I write a post goes in increments. Sometimes I do it all at the same time, and sometimes in stages. Today’s post was assembled in stages, and as such, takes a turn half way through. The accompanying visuals won’t be appreciated by everyone, (but they’re of me, and I haven’t died yet), so if you have a weak stomach, read though Michael’s report about the EZ-7 Turkey Jam, and then maybe change the channel, and come back after breakfast.
Thanks for your time and consideration in this matter.
Now then- last week I’d mentioned that Michael from Cockfight Skateboards (who, by the way, was responsible for this mastery) got in touch with news that the 32nd EZ-7 Turkey Jam was supposed to take place down there in Texas, but the rain gods saw to it that it didn’t happen on schedule. Luckily the sun gods won the coin toss this past weekend and it went off without a hitch.
Being the ever gracious human that Michael is, he wrote an honest-to-Dog report about the goodness that was had, and their fallen comrade that it was in tribute to;
32nd Annual EZ-7 Turkey Jam. In Memory of Arturo De Leon
Let’s start this off by saying that I was done running the Turkey Jam after last year. I took it over in ’99, and was just over it……the prize gathering, the planning, the stress, the expectations for it to always be bigger and better… Just over it! Then one June evening I got word that we lost our brother, Art D. I knew right away that the contest would live on in his name. He was a friend to all of us that grew up down there. That place is magical to us locals! We spent thousands of hours down there – together. Anyway, not to get all nostalgic, but I knew the contest would live on;
We tried to do it on the traditional Saturday after Thanksgiving. The weather loomed wet and crappy all morning. A bunch of dudes actually got the ditch dry with blowers and blowtorches;
But as soon as the ditch was ready, the sky started falling again. Time for plan B. The guys from Brash Brewing invited everyone over for free beer, old school video games, and an all-metal jukebox;
We had a party, raised some money, and shed some tears for Art. I really wasn’t sure what to do about the contest as Sunday’s weather looked like shit too.
After a bit of deliberation with the braintrust, we decided to give the next weekend a try. We have never had to move it to a different weekend before, so I wasn’t sure how attendance would be. I knew a lot of old locals that were home for the Thanksgiving weekend wouldn’t be able to make it. Oh well. Nothing we could do about it.
The weather on the rescheduled day was epic! Sunny and about 70 all day. After setting up all the tents and sounds, I looked around and noticed the place was packed. Both hills were completely full. Beers were flowing, smiles were everywhere, and the skating was warming up;
The day kind of flew by without a hitch. No injuries, INSANE skateboarding, and everyone had a blast. There was too much skating to go into details, but ditch skating is in good hands. Once a seemingly lost art held onto by the over-40 crowd, the young dudes are picking up the slack. The 20-29 age group was about an hour of the most badass skating I have seen in a long time! All of them just destroyed with a good mix of tech and traditional. It was so rad to watch. The whole day was great, but that group really stood out;
I really want to thank everyone who helps me keep this thing alive every year. All my homies that pitch in in a million different ways, Aaron Estrada for being my right hand man, Frank Gardner for making the best handmade trophy I’ve ever seen, all the judges, too many sponsors to name, and everyone who showed up and made it a blast.
Art would have been stoked! Everybody was skating for fun… No jocking out. We did a minute of silence and five minutes of powerslides, because that’s what he would have wanted us to do.
Photos courtesy of Jack Newkirk (Newk).
I can hear at least a groan or two from here. “All I want to read about is bikes and tennis balls. What’s with this rollerboard nonsense?” Well, for the three of you who might be making such an utterance, allow me to direct you to the manifesto. This is a big table we have here, and as I’ve long contended, there’s room enough at it for everyone.
Besides, skateboarding in ditches is fun. Like, really, really fun, and if I’m committed to anything, it’s stuff that’s fun.
Now I’ll tell you about a thing that was certainly not fun. And reader be warned. As I said in the introduction, there are some fairly gruesome photos ahead, plus I’m writing this while in a black hole of antibiotic IVs, pain killers, and sleep deprivation. So if that’s not your jam, stick your fingers in your ears, close your eyes and repeat ‘banana’.
After much backing and forthing with one another in recent weeks, Marty from GhetoCx and Squid Bikes and I finally conjured up a plan to meet up for a ride. Quick before the afternoon rains came in, we skedaddled out for open spaces beyond. Not twenty minutes into the ride we get to a little section of trail that is a short steep, followed by a quick little hop over an exposed bit of off camber culvert pipe. Like the spot where I got jacked up in March, this is a no brainer, and I went about my business of putting on the gas, and cleaning the culvert, as I have hundreds of times before.
Only this time I hit it with a tiny bit less gas than was needed given the wet conditions, my rear tire losing traction and tossing me over the side of the hill. I jumped, and pushed my bike away from me, landing about ten feet from the trail. My bike however went end over end into an abyss that I hadn’t previously known was there. Immediately I clutched my knee, and was assessing if I’d possibly tweaked it again, when Marty comes down behind me and points out that I had cut myself pretty badly;
I don’t know what it was buried in the ivy in which I sat that got me. Some broken glass? A lag bolt or possibly some jagged culvert maybe? My primary concern was getting my leg tied off so I could walk. I decided that I’d go back and poke around to see if I can find it later.
All in all things from this point forward were pretty smooth. It didn’t hurt as much as it probably should have, and it wasn’t bleeding too badly, so I tied my arm warmers together and along with Marty’s jacket made an impromptu tourniquet.
Peering over the side, I saw that my bike was way the hell down into that gully, and as Marty attempted to direct the ambulance to our location, I slowly crawled up the hillside to the closest road. Once they zeroed in on us, I called Demonika to let her know I’d catch her in the ER (again), and Marty was assessing the situation with my bike. We both agreed that based on the fact we had nothing with which to retrieve it, it was pretty much lost to us.
Finally Oakland Fire and the EMT arrived on the scene and I got an opportunity to snap another photo before they wrapped me up for transport;
Alright. So, that looks pretty grim, but I’m not bleeding badly, and it seems as though any tendons and muscles that live in the front of my leg remained untouched. Before I was loaded up I asked the firemen if they had any rope in their rig, and if they wouldn’t mind getting my bike for me. I figured since they didn’t have to waste time dropping a bucket down for my body, they might have a little bit extra to burn to get my bike.
Thankfully they agreed.
As we went to the hospital, I was shooting the shit with my care-givers who were both really nice, and discussed the pros and the cons of a vocation in which you are constantly bombarded with individuals who are absolutely having the worst day of their lives. I quietly vowed to try and make their days better and when looking at the photos of the wound, made cracks about seeing the teeth of my conjoined twin. They liked that one.
Finally we arrived at the hospital, and I was able to reunite with some people I met exactly ten months to the day before. We caught up, slapped hands, and they proceeded to take care of the cleaning, dressing, and stitching of my leg smile;
And I left the ER in considerably worse shape than when I found it;
Now, after having lived with it for a couple of days, It seems to be coming around;
I checked in with Little Package who besides being my website wizard, was for a number of years a registered nurse. She told me that of all the places I could hope to have a laceration of this magnitude, I picked the best one.
All things considered, I count myself as extremely lucky. I didn’t go over the edge with my bike, I didn’t lacerate my abdomen, neck, face, or my gooch, which on paper is funny, but totally not out of the realm of possibility, and might be one of the most horrible things ever. When you think about that extent of damage having occurred almost anywhere else on a body, we’re talking a bummer life of a most supreme order.
It continues to be a bit touch and go, as I’m still battling a slight fever, which means infection, which meant a return to the ER, and two IV bags of antibiotic. Fingers are crossed that everything will turn out a-ok. If you come here on Wednesday and there’s not a new post, things didn’t turn out a-ok, and I’ll get back to work when I can.
As far as that goes, thanks for the understanding. I’d also like to thank the EMTs, Oakland Fire, and the cool cats in the ER. Lastly, I’d like to thank fate and/or my guardian angels for seeing that I didn’t go into the pit with my bike.