I get a message about everyday from my fireman legend friend Jack Nosco asking me to join him on his latest adventure ride — the latest being a mountain bike ride in the Santa Monica Mountains with a bunch of Hollywood stuntmen. The only apprehension I had was waking up so early. We were going to roll from my place at 7am. I invited coach Jacques Devore and fellow pro Jesse Anthony. Jacques joined us, but Jesse had to do intervals on Rockstore.
I made the effort and it was actually pretty nice to get up and get moving early – not too hot at that hour of the day. When we got to the house of the guy hosting the ride there was a big piece of scaffolding in the driveway where he practices falling, Jack tells me. The house belonged to Jon Epstein who has doubled for Chuck Norris in the past. I didn’t know Chuck Norris needed a stuntman so I’m thinking if, Chuck Norris has that many legends about him, this guy probably helped create a lot of them.
Jon looked over at me and must’ve sensed my urge to pee. He said if you have to pee just go right over there by the bushes, my kind of guy already. I went to the bushes and there was actually a toilet seat on the ground. Wow, I immediately thought, I need one of those, but then I remembered I have that whole HOA thing going at my place. A toilet seat under the bushes? Now that’s certainly cause for a threatening letter.
Stuntmen kept on trickling in with mountain bikes – some with no shirts and no helmets. I figured they are probably pretty good at falling. The day was full of climbing and all these guys are pretty good athletes. We would re-group at the tops of climbs and talk. At the top of the Bulldog there was a runner telling our group how hard the TDF was on that day. I couldn’t disagree with the guy.
At the top of Bulldog is also where I met Will Harper, who told me that God had a plan for him. He told me to YouTube “Snatched From the Fire,” so I did. He told me a bit about how he almost died doing a stunt and his philosophy that stems from a comment some guy told him thereafter: God has a plan for you. It was cool to hear that he did the motorcycle stunts for First Blood, which is one of my all time favs, and some of those stunts are even on my warm up video that I watch before a race. It’s funny how the world turns.
Following these stuntmen on loose fire roads downhill was a real treat. Most of them have a motocross background and are very comfortable with sliding. On the way back I helped a guy in our ride named Beau fix a flat. I thought he was a stuntman, but from what I later gathered he is a pool player and even teaches lessons. It was a good day in the Santa Monica Mountains. On the road back to my house, I was pushing Jack’s son, Russ who had hit the wall pretty hard, remembering myself at his age when I was pushed all the way home on my first group ride by Mike Newberry… how time passes…