Sunday, February 20, 2011

One flu into the cuckoo's nest

This is one too many - second cold this winter and I usually go years between them. Still, having a bad cold should not keep one from getting some exercise. I've read that exercise is good for the cold.
Friday was a very nice day and even though I had called in sick I decided I wasn't that sick. So bundle I did and off I went.

I was perhaps 6 to 7 miles out when I started having some trouble with my balance. I was also feeling dizzy. I wasn't sure what was going on but maybe I had been foolish to head out. Well that couldn't be 'cause my mom told me she didn't raise no fool and I'm not buying that my mom lied to me all those years. No, I was fine when I headed out, a bit of a cough was all.

But there was no denying that my usual total control of the bike (ignoring ice of course) was not up to par. I was having trouble concentrating and I simply did not want to go on.

The return trip was arduous. Every little incline was the worst hill I'd ever climbed in my life. The tiniest bumps dragged the prayer out of me. This whole idea of riding a bike becomes more ridiculous with each passing moment. What a stupid way to go about the day. This was the invention of some mad man casting his demon vehicle on the world. On a bike you have one goal, don't fall over. Every little effort is given in trying to accomplish that task. I can manage to not fall over standing next to the damned thing. It's a stupid vehicle.
By the time I reached home I was done. I struggled to get the bike inside and staggered up the stairs and into bed and there I stayed.

Roughly 13 hours later and my nap was over. I'm starving and feel like shite. This isn't the flu it's the black death. I need to find a good bloodletter.

So I'm coughing up yuck and reading the newspaper and thinking about funny things to say about black death and hating the bike because I'm sick and I read the inventor of that Paratrooper mountain bike has passed away. Cripes.
I've always wanted one of those because I go to Spain quite a bit and do some long mountain bike trips there. I keep a bike there but it's cheap getting long in the tooth and I want something that's easier to store. Maybe I will this year.

77 seems so young. A truth known only to those who live long enough to know it: being on the young side of old doesn't last nearly as long as being on the old side of young. 
Rest in peace Mr. Montague.

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.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Oh the weather outside

I want to be a weatherman. Its the perfect job. You can be wrong when it counts and you won't get fired. People will still tune in and listen to what you say. They'll plan their day around what you say.

When it comes to weather forecasts I think the majority of us only require something that's in the ball park. When the weatherman says "hey, it's going to be sunny all day" and then a few clouds roll by we're not going to get too upset. Even if a short little rain cloud passes by we're still good.
Truth is most of the year we don't care. Those few days a year when the weather gets real nasty is when we care. And all we ask for is something in the ball park.

Recently the weatherman called for 1 to 3 inches of snow and it ended up sunny and in the high 30's to low 40's without a flake to be found. The weatherman missed the ball park.

When it comes to riding with a bunch of 1 to 3 ton vehicles being piloted by some tool who's drinking coffee and chatting on the phone when there's snow and ice and gloom of dawn I'm expecting them to at least turn their lights on. I'm in that ball park. I got my lights blazing.

In the last week I've counted 4 bikers who were riding in the road at dawn without any lights at all. None. This isn't on some deserted country lane, this is on a main artery into town. There be cars. Lots of them.

Now, my personal morning fog is as thick as the next blokes. I could speak if I had to but I would rather not. Going down stairs is puzzling. I could use some help with my socks and my shoes.
But I've never been so out of it that I managed to find my darkest clothes, mount my steed, ignore the lights and head out into traffic.

Cloudy dark wintry mornings are no time to go all ninja. You want to be a team player. Some kind of survival instinct should cut through the fog and takes care of this ball park thing. If it's not then the road ain't no place for ya.