I had climbed Mt. Falcon the week before Michael and I went up it. The snow was mostly gone, even under the trees, but there were still icy patches in the shade, and the dirt under the trees was still partially frozen.
But, it was ridable, and we were having a pretty good time going up.
Michael was one of those guys who just had to be the best at anything you did with him. At least, he had to convince you that he was the best, whether he was or wasn't. Truth be told: He mostly wasn't.
I had pointed out a couple of icy places on the way up, before they came into view. They had taken me by surprise, on the previous ride, and I had spun out. Michael had ignored my first warning, and spun out. So, he grudgingly took my warnings to heed from there on.
Then, we got into the trees.
"Hang to the left, here," I called ahead to him (he had elbowed past me when the trail narrowed). I didn't mind him being in the lead, if it made him feel better.
"Yeah, yeah..." he shot back.
We were approaching the log water bar at the right-hand switchback under the trees. At that turn, the trail is off-camber (it is banked away from the turn), and the water bar is not perpendicular to the trail. These factors make that water bar treacherous to ride over in the best of conditions. And, these were not the best of conditions.
I knew that the wood had gotten waterlogged, and had then frozen, during the winter. As we were getting the thaw, the half-buried log had a spongy, water-slick surface overlying a core of icy wood. It had the frictional coefficient of owl poop.
"You'll want to square off to the water bar, to get over it," I called to Michael.
"I know how to ride this water bar," he shot back. "I worked on riding over water bars until I became an expert at it, when I first started riding. I always become an expert at anything I attemOOOF..."
Michael's oft-heard explanation of how he became better than everyone else at something was cut short by a rather sudden and painful meeting with the frozen ground. He had ridden the "summer line" over the frozen log, which normally was the best way to set yourself up for the turn which followed it. And, due to the condition of the wood, his tire had slipped on the log as though it was coated in bear grease.
I squared off to the log, rode over it and, as I made my turn around Michael, who was still on the ground trying to get untangled from his bike, I said, "That seemed like a very expert crash." Then, I just kept riding.
I was a little afraid to stop, truth be told. Michael was already mad about falling. I don't imagine my uncontrollable giggles would have put him in any better of a mood.