Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Fall down go boom revisited

The almighty of all things can be cruel to the lowly bicyclist - sudden thunder storms, hail storms from nowhere, lousy weathermen and women, a mighty wind.
None of these compares with ice. Ice is the big one. The top, the coliseum, the Louvre, the...

Having recently claimed the title of the King of Take No Risk biking today I found myself wondering where I went wrong.

It all started when I went off to a meeting in Bethesda which always finds me on the CCT which I avoid like a critical mass ride. The CCT was mostly passable but had several icy patches, some of which were 30 to 40 yards long and covered most of the trail.

When I encountered these I would dismount and shuffle along trying not to lose my footing. Well, I saw quite a few morning commuters just blast through them with confidence. A few did some fixie braking rear end maneuvers but all managed to stay upright. I was impressed.

After my meeting I was heading home and thought, hell, am I man or mouse? This isn't hard, keep the momentum, keep 'er straight, go with conviction. I've certainly done it in the past and don't know why I'm being all wussboy today.

So with a new found confidence I was looking forward to my first stretch of ice to show the almighty of all things that the lowly biker can take it. Bring it on!

I entered the ice shelf and the first thing I noticed was how beautiful the top of the trees look with the winter sky. As we bustle and hustle through our busy days we too often don't take the time to pause and enjoy. This was a truly breathtaking scene. No. Wait. I could breathe fine so it didn't actually take my breath. Anyway, as many times as I've ridden the CCT I don't recall ever seeing the tops of the trees against the sky.

I reluctantly pulled myself away from this marvelous view as my bike and me had slowly slid to a stop. I stood up and wrestled that thing off to the side where is wasn't quite as slippery.

So I asked myself, where did I go wrong? It's possible that those impressive riders from the morning had thicker and better tires, even with studs. I was riding my thin tired bike. Yes, that was it. I'm certain.
More likely is that the younger you are the shorter the fall and as you get older that fall increases. And you land harder and you get up slower and you don't want to do it again and you hesitate.
And hesitation leads to falls which lead to landing harder which leads to getting up slower which leads to not wanting to do it again which leads to hesitation.

So I renounce my crown as King of Take No Risk Biking. It would seem I'm still as stupid as I was 20 years ago. I'm just getting up slower.

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