Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Tour de Fiasco

As I may or may not have mentioned, Senor Fluff and I bit the bullet a few months ago and bought bicycles---something we've been wanting to do since we moved to Urbania. After only six years of talking about it and putting it off, we finally did the deed, loaded up the credit cards, and jumped. (In a follow-up to my new-found bougieness, I must note that it's a hell of a lot easier to buy a good bike when you can put it in your garage, rather than chaining it up outside your house in the neighborhood where local thieves have been known to break into people's porches to take a bike. In our new neighborhood, people tend to leave their bikes outside their houses unattended for a few hours while they go inside to...? Fix their hair? Drink a vodka tonic? Get a fake tan?)

It's been a good decision on a number of levels: it's a kind of exercise we can do together (Senor Fluff is a much better runner than me, and attempting to run together just makes me whiny and his knees hurt); it's allowed us to see more of the area; it doesn't seem to be as much of a monumental exercise task, and so both of us will do more of it, even when we're tired, or not motivated.

So yesterday, I was scheduled to have coffee with a friend, and so I planned to squeeze in a quick bike ride and shower before our meeting. And I have rarely seen such a clustercuss outside of a faculty meeting in my life.

It started out fine. I realized early on that I had forgotten my sunglasses, but it was a bit overcast, so I didn't want to take up the time to go back. I had planned to go for about 45 minutes, so I needed to go far fast to get it all in. I did the first half of the route at a good clip, and started up the hill that marks the official apex of what I had planned to do. It's not a massive hill, but it takes some doing, and so I was mostly looking down and pedaling. When I looked up as I neared the top, I saw that a woman was parked, in the lane, with her flashers on. She flagged me down, and so I slowed up, thinking that she might need something, or that someone was hurt or something. As I got closer (still going uphill, mind you), she said "can you give me directions to D_____?" Unbelievable. You're parked with your hazards on for directions?! Whatever. I pedaled the last few feet to the top of the hill, and made to stop so I could tell her how to get there. Since I'm concentrating on her and how close her car is to the (virtually non-existent) shoulder, however, I misjudge the place where the crown of the road falls away into the dirt. And thus, unable to get my foot out of my clip, I go down like a bag of rocks. To the woman's credit, she helps me up and tries to dust me off, but still clearly wants directions.

After she goes on her merry way (with excellent directions, I might add), I use much of the second half of my ride to get the gears square, since the chain has slipped during my fall. At some point, I realize that my legs have turned to jelly. (I should say that the quads have turned to jelly. The rest of my legs turned to jelly somewhere around age 22. Ba-DUM-dum!) "I better cut this short and go home," I thought, and turned around.

As I approach the cut-off to the country road that leads to our section of town, I realize that a woman is standing on the shoulder waving me down. "No fucking way!" I thought. But yes! She wants to talk to me!! She's part of a news crew that's doing a story on the local road repairs! Full disclosure here: at this point, I have been riding for about 30 minutes. And I have fallen off of my bike. And before I got on the bike, I hadn't showered in two days. Gee, what would I like more than to give you a quote about how the road crews effect me? So, greasy, dirt-smudged me recorded a spot for the local television crew, and then they asked if they could just get a shot of me riding away. Yes indeed!! Here I go!!

As I rode away, I was both obsessing about how hideous I imagined I'd be on the local news, and worried about how late I must now be for meeting my friend. Luckily, I was cruising down this long hill. And cruising. And cruising ever faster, wind whistling in my ears, all the way down to the bridge.

There's no bridge on the way to my house.

The news crew had stopped me right before the turn off route that goes toward my house. In pedaling away from them, I had gone straight on, down the horrible horrible hill. A few weeks ago, I rode down part of this hill by mistake, and it was so painful to get back up that I swore I'd never go this direction again. A friend of mine who just did a 50k race in May "studiously avoids that hill." The hill has about 3 or 4 steep climbs, one after another. And I was down at water level---ironically, just the place that the road crews were starting to work on. Thanks alot, lady newscaster! This fucking road repair affects me now!! So I turned around and climbed Epic Hill, cursing and sweating all the way. When I got to the top, the news crew was still there, interviewing a couple in a Hummer. The intern and cameraman cordially waved at me as I went by.

Finally, I'm on my way home. I'm pointed in the right direction, and I'm doing my best to sprint, since I know I'm going to be late for coffee. And then the raindrops start to fall. And believe me, I wish I were shitting you. Racing home, I also discovered that the fall screwed up my back brake, but really, isn't that all just icing on the cake?

So much for my love affair with the bike. It's dead to me. With bike rides like these, I'll be back in the pool in no time!!



Blogger Sisyphus said...

This is why I sit around on my couch.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010 3:25:00 PM  
Anonymous The Bittersweet Girl said...


Just: wow.

That's one hell of a story.

I think I'll be joining Sisyphus on the couch.

Monday, June 28, 2010 8:29:00 PM  

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