Friday, March 26, 2010

Oh no...Not another Slow Mo!

Alright now. I have told you about my first slow mo experience. The Hill. (check out the last blog)

#2: Highway sideways

Can I just say that I always thought that mountain biking would be much more difficult and dangerous than road bikes? This is true when you think of the basics. Roads are smooth, direct, and predictable. Mountain trails are ever changing, unpredictable and full of obstacles that you have no time to notice.

However, those obstacles, like trees and rocks, are not texting while going 30 miles an hour. Which, by stationary default, makes then around 200X more predictable than the teeny boppers on their way to Wawa after school.

(If you don’t know Wawa, move to PA; it’s worth the relocation)

On that note, I would like to make a public service announcement:

If I may…

To: Anyone between the ages of 15 and 21, or if you drive a car,
truck, SUV, Mini-van, or motorized scooter, or if you know someone
who drives a car, or if you are a passenger at any point in your
life...ever.
Check left and right before entering traffic. There might be someone on a bike who is very aware of you and hoping that before you make that left hand turn onto the next street, you look up from your hand held communication device, and notice me  I’m the biker that looks like I’m talking to myself, but really I’m just praying you don’t hit me!

Thank you. (Tell the neighbors, they might not read my blog)

This rant was inspired by the man in the parking lot next to Pathmark. The parking lot, located on McDade Boulevard, has barely enough room to back out. You have to wait until traffic dies down to pull out. As a biker, I have about 8 feet between the parked cars, and the oncoming traffic to slide through. As I approached this tricky little shenanigan, I made note that no one was moving, and made my way across the parking lot. Just as I was directly behind a little sleek black Sudan the guy backs up! Clearly he did not check his rear view mirror, or he would have seen my sweet looking curly hair sticking out of my helmet and advised his foot to wait to accelerate.

Nonetheless, he tapped my bike just enough to take me off balance, I wiggled a little and then fell sideways.
(This, as I mentioned above, was a very similar fall to my lakeside tilt).

‘Oh IT’S ON! I’m not hurt, but I get up and put my game face on. This guy is going down!’

The driver gets out of his car and looks at me. Immediately I forget my rage, and want to apologize for not wearing neon and flashing lights. The look in his eyes was pure sorrow. He felt so bad for hitting me that I felt bad he hit me. Here is this guy, going about his business and all of a sudden he hits a girl on her bike! He is going to go home and feel bad about hitting an innocent lady for at least a night, maybe even a week, a month or even a year!! But I'll be there for you…. I digress.

My immediate reaction is to apologize for being there. Between the I’m sorry’s and me assuring him that I did not need a ride, because I had my bike, and that I was okay, I managed to say something along the lines of “..Oh no! It’s fine, it happens all the time!” As if I go around getting hit on a regular basis and its cool and I may even like it.

Haha; The things that come out of our mouths when we don’t know what else to say…


We parted ways, and I made it safely to Neumann with a good story and no bruises. Now, I take the back roads. But, remember ladies and gentle men: Look out for bikers; they are looking out for you!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

I Still Look for the Kickstand

So, it’s been two months since I picked up my mountain bike from human zoom. I had a pretty sweet routine going for a few weeks. I rode to Neumann before track practice, went to class. All was good.

And then it snowed.

It snowed for days. At one point I was outback summoning pairs of animals into my wooden gigantic snowmobile I had just constructed myself … just in case.

Luckily, it didn’t come down to that, but the snow did take me off the bike for three weeks! After the torrential downpour of frozen water, the snow piles to stayed on the streets. The piles became blackened by the suburbian traffic.

BUT! (There is hope)

The snow has since melted. The calendar may have said March 1st, but my heart said the first day of spring. And it was right! On March 1st, the birds were singing and gallivanting about the air. It was great. Best of all, the snow was practically gone and the weather was begging me to get off the stationary bike and onto a real one. So, since I am not into being begged, I did.

Kristen and I went out for a ride along the Wisahicken yesterday. It was the bomb! It is a gorgeous trail along both sides of the river made for exercise bliss. The mountain trails are still covered in snow. We were riding along, and I was feeling like the shit. We entered traffic at one point because, (And this is a fun fact), it is illegal to cycle on the sidewalk within city limits! Hu! Knowing that could have saved me from getting hit last month! (You will have to read more to learn about that)

Kristen began telling me about this race that is coming up that is one of the first of the season. It is held on a farm and people from professionals to babies race in it. It sounds like a good time to me. She mentioned that she might get a team together to do it. It is a relay and whichever team does the most laps in 4 hours wins! It would be before the race season, so I could get some face time in and see what it feels like to be in a race.

“How serious do people take this race?”

“Well, when you are done your lap, you can grab a hot dog and a beer if you want.” Kind of thing. Apparently, in the past there were professional bikers beaten by a group of 12 year old boys.

And then she added,

“I try not to take anything too seriously…its life”

And that is why I am in this sport.

Im pretty positive I am going to do the race, so I will let you know how that goes!

After our ride, I realized I had some biking homework. I need to seriously work on my uphill muscles, so I needed to find a hill and do repeats on it. I also needed to get some time on my road bike, and practice with the ‘clip less’ pedals. {‘Clip less’ is referring to the shoes that are filled with clips. So why they are called ‘clip less’ I don’t know. I’ll look it up. }

Anyway, Today I went on a ride on my own. It was ballin! I did three of my cross country runs in one day, because you can do that on a bike. I was working with the clip less pedals at the stop signs and what not. I even found this KILLER hill. There are hills on either side of a valley that has a long gradual but steep hill on one side, and a short extremely steel hill on the other.

So, I felt like I had done all my homework; accomplished things; felt good. So I finished my ride out with a once around Ridley lake, one of my favorite places. I get to the far side of the lake, and there is a short path that leads up to the road. A very short but almost vertical hill. I try to get momentum, but when I get to the hill my bike nearly comes to a stop mid way! I am trying and trying to keep pedaling, and in slow motion I start to tilt. I’m about 45 degrees into my collapse when I remembered I can’t save myself until I unclip my pedals; because my shoes are attached to the bike.

I went down. Bike and all. Sideways, on a tiny hill by a lake. J I may be able to unclip my shoes when given warning, but looks like I will need a little practice when it comes to sudden obstacles; I.E. a log on a mountain trail. I was reminded that there is always something to improve.

Oh and every time I stop, I still look for the kick stand.