As if things couldn’t get any weirder…

I ended up driving in a Demolition Derby on Wednesday night in Cananduigua, NY. It was myself along with 17 other cars, all respectively driven by fellow BMXers from differing companies in the BMX industry.
Going into it, I was pretty ambivalent about the whole prospect, reasoning to myself that it was yet another form of muscular bravado hidden behind a machine and perpetrated by redneck culture. Boy, was I ever wrong!
As we drove into the arena (which was probably the size of about half of a football field), I started to get kinda excited about the prospect of being surrounded by a good number of people I count as dear friends, hellbent on smashing the shit out of each other’s cars. The crowd cheered, we entered back into our vehicles (mine, an early 80s Pontiac Grand Prix), and the flag was dropped.
For about the next 15 minutes, any hint of rationale I once had was gone. It was me, the instinct of defensive driving (which I previously did not know I had), a shitload of mud, and nothing more. I remember hints of what happened, lots of stalling out on behalf of my car’s engine, a few mimicked moves I’ve seen in bad cop movies, and pure carnage. If you know me and you’re reading this, then you probably know that I’m not a very aggressive person. Well, for 15 minutes on this past Wednesday, I may as well have been Hulk Hogan, Rocky Balboa and Mel Gibson circa Lethal Weapon 1-3 all wrapped into one. And it felt good.
When all was said and done, I placed in third after my radiator over heated. My car had no more tires. I was soaked from head to toe with water and mud, and everyone around me was attesting to how amazing the event was.
It was a “BMX” event, so to speak, but there were no bikes and no pressure from anyone to do anything one way or another. And ironically enough, a BMX event involving no bike riding at all was what it took for me to remember what I love about riding my bike and all the amazing people I’ve met along the way because of it. At the end, we were all dirty kids standing amid the wreckage of 18 American-made cars from the early 80s, reveling at the fun we had just encountered, dodging the smoke of over-heated radiators and trying to wipe the mud off of our shoes.
My life keeps getting stranger by the day, but I wouldn’t trade it for all the money in the world…

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