Sunday, February 22, 2009


See pics.

As I stated earlier I recently came to a point in my life where I decided that fear was no longer going to dictate how I lived my life. Skydiving is something I would have never done even 2 years ago. It was time. I looked up the website and planned the event. One way or the other it was going down.

I chose Saturday the 21st due to the 10% of rain on the day and the fact that Sunday I usually reserve for cycling with my Dad. As the day approached I got more nervous and anxious. Wednesday night I remember sitting there in bed and thinking about it as my feet and palms began to sweat. Could I go through it? Those thoughts lasted only a night as I had already been dead set on accomplishing this mission for better or worse the die was cast and it was in fates hand now.

As Saturday rolled around my brothers and me met up and decided to head out to the drop zone. The sky was overcast and deep down we knew that it was probably going to be a rained out day as drops sprinkled down on us. Once we got there we filled out the necessary paperwork and watched the video (aka a random as hell dude with a 5ft long beard telling us we may die as ambulances race across the screen). Once we got done it quickly became evident that our options were wait for four hours or come back tomorrow. We chose the latter.

Going into Sunday I really didn't feel that nervous. I had gone through the motions already so I felt good and ready. Though as we got closer and closer we started to make out specks of people plummeting down to the earth below. My stomach informed me almost immediately that this was the craziest thing he's done. As butterflys erupted in my stomach I couldn't help, but think about the upcoming endeavor. Upon arriving at the jump location the site of individuals meticulously packing their chutes eased some of the tension. And I have to say that the average jumper is very different from the average individual. They look the same, but when you talk to them they are alive, excited, and jovial. These feelings are something I have felt over the last few weeks as I continue my journey and it was pleasant to be in the company of such positivity.

Over the loud speaker I hear "Kevin flight 9 with K-love". My heart skips a beat and I now know that I am 40 minutes away from a 13000 foot descent. My instructor is cool and laid back. His name is Kevin so I know he's got to be a cool dude. We are told to ask questions so I get straight to the point:
"So how many jumps have you done"
"Well probably somewhere around 12000"
Sweet day this dude has to be safe
"So how many times have you had to pull the reserve chute?"
"I would say about 24 times"
He is going to the plane for his first jump and turns around,
"Only 14 of those though were tandem"
I like my odds, I like this guy, if I had to choose a dude to spoon me for 13000 feet he would at least in the top 10.

Now fully geared up we head to the drop zone outside to watch the plane before us take off. I'm now extra nervous and contemplate if I should try and get every last drop of piss out to prevent myself from peeing my pants. I decide that I don't want to even begin to mess with the harness that is securing my life at this moment. It seems like seconds before we are waiting on the loading dock.

I see Kevin land and he runs over to quickly get ready for our flight. This point is the scariest moment because in my mind it's the last minute that I can quit. He brings me some gloves and goggles, I'm ready to go now. As we get on the plane I'm thinking 2 things:
1) OMG it's happening and I'm now in God's hands
2) Why aren't I strapped to my instructor yet. I hope he does this right.

We load first meaning I will be one of the last ones to leave. The airplane isn't a state of the art piece of machinery and I am glad I am jumping out of it now as it reminds me of the plane in the Indiana Jones movie. We start our ascent and my brothers instructor is talking intently to the pilots and then turns to us and says "Alright since we are all tandem here, we're going to have to man up and ride with the door open." David is near the door and he gets a white knuckle kung fu grip on the bench as he now is sitting next to an opening on an airplane without any sort of parachute or instructor strapped to him. I gleefully laugh on the inside, thankful it's not me. All the instructors pound it out and then before we know it we are ready.

David is going first and he looks scared as hell. We are told not to hold on to the bar at the exit point but David is gripping it with the strength of ten men. Eventually he crosses his arms as instructed and is gone. Adam is next and looks less nervous and is gone before I know it. I'm focused on walking down the corridor with a dude strapped to my back.

As I get to the opening I'm really not nervous at this point. My time to quit was at the plane. I decided on my fate and there was no turning back. I hear the countdown and we're out of there. It's really loud like you are in a wind tunnel. My instructor spins us around and you are coming down so fast and yet everything seems to stand still. Almost immediately he seems to pull the chute. We fall a little farther and kind of do some spins then the chute opens. I excitedly want to control the parachute now. He says we are too low. I'm confused because he said I would get 2 or 3 minutes to do this. He then explains:

"Ya dude it's kind of funny you talked about the reserve. We were spiraling for awhile there and I almost had to let our main go. I was going to give us 1000 more feet or so before I pulled."

Well then that's crazy as hell. I sit there and contemplate the fact that of all people I almost became number 25 on the had to pull the reserve chute list. The weird thing is I didn't even know something happened. We land perfectly and then it's done. The weeks of anticipation over in 25 seconds. I land shortly after David (who went out of the plane a good 3 or 4 minutes before I did if not longer) and way ahead of Adam (Who went out 2 minutes ahead of me). That means I freefalled about a few thousand feet more then they did. I start processing this. Wow that was intense.

It was an awesome experience and I now contemplate doing it again or getting certified. Who knows. All I can say is that today I left alot of my fears and my restraints about life on that airplane. Man I'm glad I went... what's next?

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