The Other Side of the Fence
An extremely bitter, cynical and slightly delusional take on the cycling event known as the Joyride Slopestyle of 2013…
What’s going on? Where are we? Who does a triple whip over bus length gaps? How do these guys bounce back after hitting the ground so hard? Why are there rocks on the side of the course? Is this what it feels like to be old, baffled by the pace at which things are passing you by? Why so many questions? Why so many cameras? Why bananas? Why tuck? Where did all of these people come from? Do they all ride bikes? Who drinks all this Red Bull anyhow? What is that taste?
These are all great questions one could ask and answer as a tool to build a perfectly solid introduction to a photo essay around. Instead, let’s deviate wildly with a random tangent.
I used to looooooooove underage drinking. I mean, really love it. Lucky for me, I was very young when I first went to University, so there was plenty of opportunities for me to participate in this favourite of pastimes. We’d underage drink in our rooms. We’d underage drink at the bars. We’d underage drink all over the place. Heck, I don’t know what I would have done in University if it wasn’t for all of that underage drinking. Gone to class or studied or something like that.
I had the sweetest fake ID back then. The first one was actually my friends fake ID that he had made for him on a class trip to New York City. The photo looked nothing like me and the lamination was paper thin. It was called a “United States Identification Card” or something like that. The only thing that salvaged it was that it had fingerprints on the back. Everybody assumed it was legit because it had fingerprints on the back.
When another friend of mine turned 19, I took over his fake ID. It was from a knuckle dragging mouth breather that we had both gone to high school with. I think he turned 20 before we graduated. That was a gen-you-wine British Columbia Drivers License and that got me in anywhere. Heck, I was doing beer runs for my brothers 25-year-old friends with that thing.
Oddly, the most difficult place to underage drink was at our Vanier Park Residence dances that happened every couple of months. See, they only let residents in to these dances. While “Dave Tolnai” was a resident of good old Place Vanier, “Mark Smith” was not. They would not let that bum in. It made things difficult.
It was coming up on the stupid Halloween dance, and everybody was going (that’s another favourite pastime of University students, doing what everybody else is doing). The situation looked bleak. But lucky for me, I was a University student and there was alcohol involved, so my brain dug deep and had a solution within a few minutes. Everybody was allowed one guest! All I had to do was get my friend to put “Mark Smith” on the guest list, I’d flash my fake ID and we were golden.
The night of the dance came and I got ready, content with my ingenious solution. We underage drank some pre-drinks in our room and were off to the dance. Even better, when we got there, a guy I knew from first year who was now a Residence Advisor was working the door (we’ll call him “Jeff”). It was all coming up Millhouse.
“Dave….what is this?”
“No man. I’m not Dave. It’s ‘Mark’! I’m ‘Mark’! See. Right there. ‘Mark’.”
“Dave…man….I can’t let you in with this.”
Flummoxed! All that hard work, down the drain. I couldn’t really hold it against Jeff though. He was just doing his job. Luckily, as stated above, we were University students and we were talking about alcohol. This was nothing but a minor hiccup.
All the students deemed okay to drink were given a stamp on their hand. That stamp only showed up under black light. I grabbed my friend and we went and found somebody who had a black light in their room (what University student doesn’t have a friend with a black light in their room?). We looked at the stamp and I drew it out on my own hand in yellow highlighter. Back to the dance, flash the hand, I’m in and drinking. No worries.
So we’re barely two drinks in and I feel a tap on my shoulder. It’s Jeff. My “friend” the advisor. Congratulating me on beating the system? Giving me a friendly wink-and-a-nudge with a no-hard-feelings? No. Throwing my ass out. That power tripping juice monkey was going out of his way to throw my ass out of the beer garden! I mean…what the hell? It’s one thing to not let somebody through when you’re surrounded by your peers and some schmuck is trying to pass off a fake ID in a well lit hallway…but to go out of your way to track him down once he’s gamed the system and is quietly throwing back a few pops in a darkened room? That’s a dick move. He quickly became one of my least favourite people ever and I made his life difficult for the rest of the year.
So congratulations Crankworx. You’re the steroid using, authority seeking, fun killing jerk of the Slopestyle circuit. Why you gotta make life so difficult on us poor media? Why you gotta go so far out of your way to crush the ambitions of us poor 99 percenters on the wrong side of the fence?
“You compete in this years Deep Summer Challenge? No? Other side of the fence!”
“You get a shot on the cover of Bike magazine? Oh, you did. This year? No? Other side of the fence!”
“You the girlfriend of one of our prized 1 percenters? No? Other side of the fence!”
“Oh, what’s this? You set foot on our precious slopestyle course? You don’t have a yellow wrist band, just an officially issued media pass? Back in the cage, minion!” (it was an admittedly large cage, running pretty much the length of the course, up and down both sides. But still a cage.)
Well excuuuuuuuuuse me, Crankworx, for trying to share your event with the mountain bike community. Sorry for trying to buy my kids an ice cream cone every once in a while. What are they going to eat for dinner tonight, anyhow, Crankworx? Corn Flakes? Who’s going to pay for the scurvy medication? You, Crankworx? Cause I sure am not.
What? You came here to read about bikes?
Dave’s story is about as relevant to slopestyle as slopestyle is to the rest of mountain biking these days. Have you ever felt like you were on the other side of the fence?