Archive for the ‘Bicycling’ Category

Ouch! Sunday, June 26th, 2011

Falling off your bike hurts. I mean it really, really hurts.

On June 5th I hit some sand and gravel on East Branch Road just off Rt.524. The road was riddled with potholes, my speed was probably a little to fast for the conditions, and I made some poor decisions. As we were coming around a turn I went to avoid a pothole. Since the road was fairly narrow and I couldn’t see oncoming traffic around the turn, I decided it would be safer to move towards the edge of the road than the middle. It was a simple choice really. I’ve been told that the impact of a moving vehicle is hard to forget and I just wasn’t in the mood to find out.

As a leaned the bike to straighten my path my front wheel started sliding on some sand. I tried to recover and my front wheel suddenly turned sideways. The handlebars were ripped out of my grip and I was catapulted up and over. The initial launching and the brief flight were rather exhilarating, but the landing absolutely sucked! Fortunately my shoulder softened the fall, acting somewhat like the crumple-zone does on a car.  Dazed and confused I was helped to my feet.

Damn that hurt!  

Long story short, I had my wife pick me up and take me to the hospital.  We did make a slight detour and stopped by the house so I could remove my favorite jersey before the ER cut it off.  This was, in fact, one of the worst decisions I have ever made.  Removing that jersey was slightly less painful than getting kicked in the nuts repeatedly by a Pro soccer team.  As I turned past the mirror I saw the damage I had done – where the hell did my right shoulder go!  There was no shape to it, nothing to define it as a shoulder.  I had the sudden urge to vomit!

The ER is never a fun place to visit, and even less fun when you’re the reason for being their.  After finding a big not on my head (they didn’t call it a knot, but I have trouble spelling words with more than twelve syllables), and a collarbone that appeared to be in five pieces, they sent me home.

Before

I saw the Ortho doc two days later and was told that I would need surgery, but he couldn’t fit me in for two weeks.  Thanks Doc!  

Two weeks later, after a two hour surgery, I woke up with some spare parts installed.

After

Lucky me!  The more I thought about it the more I realized that I got off easy.  It could have been much, much worse.  Some day I’ll be back in one piece and riding once again.  For now, I keeping looking at my bike like it’s possessed.  I can’t see the evil that lurks within, but I can damn sure feel it!  There’s always next season.

 

Just over 40… Sunday, May 1st, 2011

It’s early in the season and the weather’s been temperamental. After gaining the extra “few” pounds, I really don’t want to invest in “fat” clothes this year. With a gorgeous afternoon and only six weeks left until the Tour de Cure metric century, I need to put on the miles. I figure I’ll increase the ride an additional five miles each week until I feel comfortable.

Max and I decided to take a road trip to see his uncle, aunt and soon-to-be cousin. It’s eighteen or so miles each way, so I mapped a route with a detour to add the extra distance. Traffic was light and fairly friendly (except for the jack-ass that tried to make a u-turn in a tractor-trailer). Allentown got a little backed up and forced us on to the sidewalks for a short distance. Oddly enough not one driver flipped us off or screamed out their window. Next week we’ll try for forty-five and I’ve got just the ride in mind.

That’s My Boy! Saturday, September 11th, 2010

After searching the used market for the past few months I finally found a road bike for my son. It’s a great little bike that fits him perfectly (for the time being). A Raleigh with an aluminum frame, carbon-fiber forks and seatpost, and a triple-crank with a 105/Ultegra combo.

We went out on his first ride yesterday. It was a quick 16 miles around West Windsor that gave him a chance to get a feel for the bike and learn some of the rules of the road. Like any kid, he was excited, anxious, and had a limited attention span. He did manage to learn a few things, argue some others, but most of all showed a real passion for cycling.

Today was our big ride. I mapped out a 33 mile ride and we had a great time. The weather was perfect and the roads weren’t terribly busy. We were almost home when he told me that he wasn’t tired and wanted to do some more. I added a few miles to our ride to bring the total to just over 46 mles. He did great! Tomorrow may be a little rough for him (or at least his legs), but I think he’ll be fine.

I’m looking forward to our next ride. It’s not often enough that we get to spend real quality time together and bond. This was definitely one of those times. As a bonus I get a built-in riding partner. I’m hoping that he’ll maintain a passion for the sport and keep moving forward.

A New Milestone Saturday, August 7th, 2010

I finally hit a new milestone this weekend. After signing up for the Princeton Free Wheelers’ 30th Annual Bicycling Event my riding partner and I decided to do the 50 mile route. Two days before the ride we decided to switch to the metric century. He had done it last year and said it was pretty flat and shouldn’t be too difficult. Great, I thought. Come ride day we find out there are two distinct metric century rides being offered, flat and hills. We decide to do the hills. It wasn’t all that bad until the last 20 miles. I started to feel it and was slowing down with each hill. I told my partner to go ahead without me and I’d finish by myself. Then, around the next bend, was a mother of a hill…Agress Road in Millstone.

I had a few choice words for some of the hills early in the ride, but this was the hill that would expand my vocabulary exponentially! My legs were already shaking from the beating they took for the past 50 some miles and I started thinking about who I was going to call for a ride home, but I was determined. I needed to finish this ride and earn that extra notch in my belt. I shifted into my lowest gear and began the ascent. I looked up and suddenly this no longer seemed like a hill, no, it was a mountain. Maybe the ride was finally taking its’ toll on me, but I swear I could see snow caps at the peak. The first four or five feet weren’t so bad and I thought to myself I can do this. I took everything I had in me not to jump off that damn bike and started walking. I finally got to the top and was exhausted. I was too tired to coast down the damn hill, but I did, and it felt good.

Unfortunately every mile I road thereafter seemed like an eternity. I was starting to peter out, but I kept going. I got through Clarksburg, then Roosevelt, climbed one more bastard of a hill into Assunpink and then had a relaxing ride… until I came through the S curve. My front tire caught a stone just ride and it bounced my front wheel hard to the ride. I rode off the asphalt and onto the grass while moving at a pretty good clip. Two thoughts suddenly flash through my mind; what the dental bill wll be after twelve of my teeth become embedded in a utility pole, and if I should splurge for the Shimano 105’s after they surgically remove the Tiagra gearset from my rectum. But I got lucky this time and steered my bike back onto the asphalt without a scratch. I suddenly have an epiphany that it might be a good time to find religion. I finally get through Assunpink and ride past the horse farms. To quote a line from a great movie “I love the smell of horseshit in the morning, it smells like… victory!” I then see a fellow cyclist stranded on the side of the road trying to change a flat. I stop to help. He says he’s ok, but my legs starting telling me it’s be a real good idea to keep him company in case a bear, mountain lion, cougar, or any other dangerous wildlife should try to attack him. Luckily no bears came out of the house at the end of the driveway so I decided to be on my way and finish my journey home.

Suddenly every pedal stroke felt like it would be my last, but I pushed on. I didn’t break any speed records on the way back, but I made it! After the realization of what I had just accomplished I suddently felt re-energized.

I made the notch in my belt, had some lunch, then thought about that next milestone – the Century Ride!