Monday, April 4, 2011

Cycling Guardian Angels are Putting in Overtime.......

I know there must be guardian angels watching over me when I ride my bike, because that's the only explanation for why I haven't been killed long before now.

It's not that I'm reckless (often) or stupid (much), but sometimes when I'm tired or distracted or hot or thirsty or mad about the stupid wind, I make decisions that aren't too smart.

Today's example of having guardian angels isn't about making poor decisions or even about being tired or distracted or hot or thirsty, and I wasn't THAT mad about the stupid wind, even though it was fierce and always a headwind. Today was an example that sometimes stuff happens.

And sometimes the stuff that happens could have had catastrophic results if they had happened at a different moment.

I took my usual route home from school on my bike today, with the extra loop that gives me an additional 4.5 miles. Riding the extra loop takes me down a road with a sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet downhill on which I have reached my maximum speeds on my single bike. Last week I was angry and frustrated, so I pedaled hard starting down this hill, and when I got home I noticed my maximum speed was 39.5 mph.

That's nothing but a challenge.

Today when I started down the hill I wasn't angry or frustrated, but I pedaled hard to see if I could hit 40 mph. I saw 41, felt satisfied, and continued my (windy) ride home.

Another challenge is turning into the street on which we live. It's a very narrow street, coming off another downhill, and I have tried to see how LITTLE I can use the brakes turning in our road. It's a 90-degree turn, so I have to use SOME brakes, but I've been pushing the envelope lately.

Today I went screaming into that turn, happy that I was finally going to be out of the wind, giddy that temperatures reached the 80-degree mark today, and excited about going to the high school baseball game. I even considered riding my bike there too, since Hubby would already be there (the field is right next to the golf course).

My happy/giddy/excited feeling all but disappeared when my back tire slid out from under me. That's what they do when they lose air.

I didn't fall, and I somehow managed to get back upright without taking out the guy who was mowing his lawn on the corner.

Damn it, that's the same tire I just changed last week. I don't think this incident has anything to do with my (lack of) tire changing skills, but I'm not sure.

I was so busy being thankful that I made it all the way home that it only occurred to me much later how much worse it could have been going downhill at 42 mph. (That turned out to be my maximum. I must have hit 42 after my eyes started watering.)

If that tire had gone flat with me screaming downhill at 42 mph, I would probably have lost several pounds of flesh. Perhaps bone. But the bandages and casts would have more than made up for anything I lost, so it wouldn't have been a good thing at all.

Thank you again today, Guardian Angels of Cycling. Now can you please do something about the wind?

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