Inline Roadkill Prize Winner

Nearing home on the rising, curving single back-county lane of Daniels Run, a shape appeared and disappeared above the horizon of pavement, bobbing right then left, the bulk of this something hidden by the next hill my car would climb. I thought I was seeing things.

Reaching the crest, I thought I was seeing things.

A dude in his full Spandex Pointy-helmeted glory was speed-skating against traffic in the other lane, glancing casually over his shoulder as I passed heading uphill the same direction he was.

I didn’t look back to see what happened when the next oncoming car would have encountered him quite unexpectedly on a curve and just over the top of the hill.

But I did wonder how to submit a Darwin Awards nomination. And next pass down that road a few days later, I looked for his carcass in the ditch along with the bloated daily deer suicide victim. Unfortunately, his genes live on.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. Speed skating on hilly rural road?? Too stupid for words! Likely also one of the fools (or a close relative) of those who routinely come to Richmond seeking repeal of VA’s helmet laws.

  2. I’m always amazed that the narrowest, twisty-turniest, hilliest country road around here is the one that all the cyclists like to ride on. It is nervewracking to drive out that way, when there could be a gaggle of bikers around any given curve.