Ryan Salm rides the slide on the Playa

The Line of the Week
Slide Biker – Ryan Salm
Photo by Jeremiah Kent

In Memory of Adam Lefkovitz

Ridin’ the Slide

It’s been a while since I have done anything legitimately stupid. What really designates one move as stupid while another is deemed “bad-ass”? I guess that is for both the the actor and the watcher to decide. If you spent the last week of your life living in a dusty paradise, surrounded by beautiful women, flashing lights, brain numbing bass and the best vibes on the planet you would surely know that at an event like Burning Man everyone gets what they put in. If you give you shall receive. In essence it’s what makes the world go round.

I have photographed 38 straight weeks of “Line of the Week“. I have watched my friends and peers drop cliffs, straight line madness, walk on water, get wasted, get wailed on, get naked, be studs, be babes, and be idiots. At this point the line of the week is a rite of passage, at least for my crew.

So there we were driving through the night. The desert and a sky full of endless stars were flying by our open windows. We were packed to the gills with four friends, one car, one trailer, chill tunes and a week’s worth of excitement about to burst onto Black Rock City.

We breached the gates as dawn was in the air. The first signs of morning light were hitting the Playa as we mounted our steeds and headed out for our first of many sunrises. A crew mounted around us as members of our camp “Awesomeville” were more then ready to get the Burning Man ball rolling. The first sight of the Playa every year is always an exciting moment. All the possibilities began to rage through my head. I hadn’t slept but I was ready to rock.

As we moved across the perfectly dried out earth we spotted a slide. As a photographer I have always been the guy who thinks “If you want to do it, I will photograph it”. This Monday morning was a completely different story. Right when I saw the slide I knew I was going to get the party rolling. My first thought was “you need to ride the slide”. Why else would they have put it there? I began to hike the steps as my Awesomeville friends began to chuckle and make comments like, “There is no way you are gonna do it.” or “You are going to kill yourself”. Those two statements had not crossed my mind. This was the start of the greatest party on earth and I was going to bring my A- game. Besides, I had never featured myself in the Line of the Week.

When I got to the top of the steps I realized my breaks were not attached. I didn’t really need them but there is something about having breaks that makes me feel more comfortable. The crew of cute chicks that was rolling with our posse began to hoot and holler and I knew I had to impress. Sam Block climbed the stairs and was going to help me with my start as the back wheel of my furry zebra striped Klein got stuck on the stairs. I told him I was ready but as I took off down the slide he had not yet let go of my back tire. Maybe it was the previous night’s partying but clearly my 3-2-1 countdown did not register. My front wheel moved but the back one stayed. I quickly began to teeter over the bars as he finally released my tire. For a second I regained momentum only to touch a foot on the slide, flip completely over the handle bars onto the dried out, wind swept Playa. As I hit the ground with a thud, I tucked and did a perfect roll-a-dope and spun to my feet. Thank god for my Mongolian winter jacket and the Burning Man gods. I broke nothing, got 10 bad-ass points from Elisa, set the tone and got the crew stoked up for a week of mayhem and raging.

In hindsight it doesn’t compare to a plane flight over Black Rock City into the Mile High Club into a flaming skydive onto the Playa. But, I couldn’t do that this year as my girl decided not to come to the Man. Wait until next year, the possibilities are endless!!!

The Line of the Week is a weekly photo piece by Ryan Salm featuring some of Tahoe’s finest athletes doing whatever we deem rad. We will be using the term “Line” loosely to describe anything resembling chutes, big airs, pointers or any general madness. All images are the property and copyright of Ryan Salm Photography. All images are only to be used in conjunction with the Line of the Week. Any other usage must be cleared in writing by Ryan Salm.

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