Choo-choo trains and snow bombs

College distance runners usually follow coach’s workout advice except sometimes. Mischief happens now and then, especially in the off-season when there’s no meet coming up.

On a snowy, winter afternoon when I was on the track and cross-country team at Spokane Falls Community College, I talked my teammates into leaving the road we were running along to drop snow bombs on cars from this railroad bridge pictured below. If you work in security or are an executive for Burlington Northern Railway, please stop reading this now.

RR bridge below

The snow was pretty fluffy, and we kept the snowballs lightly packed because we didn’t want to cause any damage.

It was quite a drop from the bridge to the road below, so releasing our snow bombs at the right moment wasn’t as easy as it seemed. In addition, the road below wasn’t a busy one, so our opportunities were limited.

I studied so hard and long before practice that my eyesight was blurry and I couldn't make out the sign posted on the railing. If I had read, it I would've immediately abandoned my plan.

I studied so many hours before practice that my eyesight was blurry, and I couldn’t make out what this sign said. If I had read it, I would’ve immediately abandoned my plan.

After several attempts, we started honing our skills and had a couple near-hits. Then came an interruption.

Because the bridge and the approach to it is on a curve with steep embankments, and our attention was firmly focused on dropping snow bombs, we failed to notice the train. You’d think we’d hear the rumble and the loud drone of the diesel engines, but it wasn’t until it was nearly on the bridge that we noticed it.

It was a very good thing that we all just happened to be runners. We sprinted off the bridge and watched the train rumble past.

We failed to score a single hit with our snow bombs, and after the train moment, we no longer had an appetite for more tries. We made our way down to the road and resumed our run.