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Behind The Barriers Director’s Cut: A week of firsts

  • By Sam Smith
  • Published Dec. 16, 2013

Week of Firsts

This was a week of firsts for me. After the frigid race weekend in Bend, I stuck around in Oregon, instead of going directly home. I spent the first couple of days of the week at Barry Wicks’ house in Bend. He had been hosting some Kona riders and Geoff Kabush for the weekend. Afterwards, Geoff and Chris Sneddon were sticking around for a couple of days, so I stuck around, too.

Barry had scheduled massages at the local community college for Monday morning. He occasionally participates in their program where massage students give athletes free massages in return for a written evaluation. He asked me: “Sam, when was the last time you got a massage?”

“Never.”

“Ah, crap, just act like you know what you’re doing. You’re supposed to be an ‘expert in receiving massage.’”

I did my best being a bit ambiguous when first talking to Chelsea, my massage therapist, but the cat was out of the bag when she said, “undress to your comfort level and lay down on your stomach on the table.”

Barry had told me that I should get fully naked and cover myself with the towel that they provide. I didn’t see any towel around, and I thought it would be weird if she came back and I was laying buck naked, uncovered on the table. So I left on my purple, banana printed underwear. I neglected to notice that the massage table was made up like a bed, and there was a tucked in sheet and blanket. That was what I was supposed to cover myself with.

When Chelsea came back, she awkwardly hemmed and hawed for a second and then said, “so let’s get you under this,” as she lifted up the blanket. My cover was blown almost immediately. There was no way a seasoned massage receiver would have not known to get under the blanket. Luckily, Chelsea was pretty easy going, and it wasn’t a big deal. The massage went great from there on in, and she worked on my shoulders for about 30 of the 90 minutes. They were pretty knotted up, I’m guessing from carrying my camera backpack around all the time.

The week also included my first Bikram Yoga class, which I learned is, more or less, doing elaborate stretching in a sauna. Lastly, I went to a place I had been driving by for years but had never managed to actually go: the Doug Fir Lounge in Portland. The place is awesome. It was just as I had expected from looking at it from the street so many times.

Right now, I’m in Athens, Georgia, which is a town I’ve never been to. Hopefully this will shape up to be another week of firsts.

Sam Smith
Producer/Director, Behind the Barriers

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