What’s a free day, you ask? Well, it’s one of those special days of the year when the common person lets themself go.No work, sleep in, relax, stuff their face… No worries. In other words, a free day is a holiday: New Years, July 4th, Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. I found out such a day existed long ago after riding a busted spot for far, far too long one seasonal holiday. It’s become a mild tradition for whichever friends of mine and I are willing to wake up before dawn and get some stuff done, while having fun at the same time.

The plan this Thanksgiving was set out the day before. I set my alarm for 4:07am, but when the “morning” came, I promptly shut it off and returned to my slumber. Luckily, Gary Young called around 4:30 a.m. and I made my way to his house to find him, Jordan Snider, and Shaun Fedei waiting. The other guys were a no-show, but that’s to be expected. Hell, I hardly even made it.

Out of the house before 5 a.m. (it was still pitch black outside), we made our way to a public pool that was just recently drained. This was destined to be the first spot because it was lit up. The pool was twelve feet deep, had a tiny bit of water still in the bottom, and super slick walls. I only gave it a few carves before deciding to save it for the next spot. Jordan, Gary, and Shaun kept on riding while I shot some photos…but one thing is for sure—this place is a bust on any typical day. After an hour-long session, we decided it would be a good idea to move onto the next spot.

Gary, pool carve while you’re still asleep.  credit: Ryan Fudger

The next spot will remain unnamed and (and we won’t describe it) because we still haven’t ridden it. After two attempts to ride it (on two Thanksgivings, no less), we’re still unsuccessful. So short a few wasted minutes we decided to head to the Ocean Beach skatepark. Definitely one of the best parks in the San Diego area, the Ocean Beach park is also anti-bike and in plain view off a main street. This makes it nearly impossible to ride for a decent amount of time without a police car plowing across the grass and kicking you out (and sometimes issuing tickets). Until this morning, I have never ridden the OB park for more than 40 minutes, and never without being kicked out. Fortunately, our near two-hour session was the highlight of the morning. Everyone rode well and had fun, which is what really matters. The only downside was a large amount of ash on the ground and in the air from the westward bound winds picking up all the soot from the recent Southern California fires. The ash made it moderately slick and dirtied up our eyes and lungs. A few skateboarders showed up and Shaun got an inclination that it was time to leave, so we hopped the eight-foot fence (did I forget to mention that thing?) and made our way out. As we were packing up our bikes, a cop rolled by, smirked at us, and made his way to kick the skateboarders out.

Hip turndown at the Ocean Beach Skatepark  credit: Ryan Fudger

From there, we searched for an open Mexican shop to get some food. I wasn’t into the joint, so I walked across the street to a 7-11. Just before I crossed the road, there was a 20-dollar bill sitting there waiting for me to pick it up. Score. All of this and it wasn’t even 8 a.m. yet.

After farting around at the burrito shop and then more farting around outside of the next spot, Ryan Sher decided to grace our presence. Jumped two fences (one six feet tall and the other around ten feet) and made our way into the cement bowl at another, to-be-unnamed park. This park is semi-bike-friendly, but they don’t allow bikes in the cement bowl because of that whole pool coping hoopla. But whatever, we clocked our time and headed out after a short while. The ash was hurting our eyes and lungs while making the bowl incredibly scary to carve around. Session over.

“Unnamed park.”  credit: Ryan Fudger

Back home by 11 a.m., I was asleep in no time. Knowing that I had already clocked five hours on my bike, ridden three good (and normally unrideable) spots, and even come up on the whole thing $20 richer, I was free to go into the common person mode and finish off the day by stuffing my face with turkey.