Friday, May 9, 2014

Scars, Marks and Tattoos

"Vi-sickle, to ride my vi-SICKLE!" Bicycle Race, (Freddy Mercury) as performed by Graham Patrick Gaffney.

I set out on a "low expectations" ride. My usual riding friends busy, there was no one but me to push the pace. No lung-bursting, leg-snapping full-gas suffer-a-thons today. Just turn the pedals, enjoy the sunshine and invest in a fitness level I hope eventually rivals last year. A cold day resolved itself nicely and I pushed off.

It wasn't long before the ride explained that it would not meet my expectations, low or not. At a busy and complex intersection I looked over my shoulder at overtaking traffic and...I'm cyclocrossing! Dammit, I have to stop to see if I've picked up a thorn. What I pick up is the edge of the sidewalk and...


We train new bike cops how to fall, to "tuck and roll." It prevents injury, however doesn't keep me from getting road rash. A woman driver stops to see if I'm okay. I give her a thumbs up. She smiles and drives away.

I am okay...right? The bike feels solid, only my left shin is involved and there is no reason not to continue. The climbs over the C-470 bike path are fine, the roll into Morrison refreshing and I squirt down a goo pack. The ascent up the west side of the Hogback is invigorating, the dark cloud marking the time....

It starts to pour.

I was only fifteen minutes from home. I've been wet, cold and uncomfortable on a bike. Okay, so the road rash is now screaming, but this sort of thing had happened so many times the prospect of the few--

Pew...pfit, pfit, pfit. Why wouldn't I get a flat. I find shelter and discover a big piece of glass embedded into the tire, carving a fatal gash through and through. Aha! Digging for the empty gel pack, I employ an old mountain biking trick that has gotten a couple of good friends, and now me, out of jams. Time to add a little air.

The pump comes apart in my hands.

The CO2 cartridge comes in handy. The patch works. It keeps the pressurized tube from finding its way out and I'm home in no time. I hate cycling. I feel old, decrepit. I'm wet, cold and now I have to buy another fucking $50 tire. What was I thinking--

The sun peeks from behind the retreating clouds, bathing us once again with life-renewing warmth. I want to ride my bi-SICKLE!

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