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8 June 2002

In her "Ten Things I've Learned about Bike Riding," SecraTerri writes:

If you are a novice rider, here's what I suggest you do: turn off the computer, right now ... go outside and get on your bike ... head for the nearest public trail ... and fall off your bike on purpose.

Trust me: you'll be glad you got it over with.

Haggie and I discussed that on our Iron Horse Trail bike ride last weekend.

"Have you fallen yet?" I asked her.

"No," she said.

We talked about whether we should go out on our bikes and just fall deliberately to get it over with. Neither of us, thousands of dollars in fancy doodads to the contrary, were that committed to cycling.

This morning the other shoe dropped...and me along with it. I have had my first fall.

It was an inauspicious day to begin with. Something must have bit me during the night and I woke up with a swollen lip, looking like I'd connected with a solid right from Sonny Liston. (Does that date me?) I tried taking a drink of water, and it dribbled down the front of me, over the big lump on my lip.

I should have taken a picture. The swelling didn't last long and is not noticeable now (though I'm still aware of it).

(If nobody takes a picture of something, does it really happen?)

Is looking like I'd been in a fight a good enough reason to put off my morning exercise? I did consider it, but decided that no, it's Friday. The end of the week. The day before our Big Ride for Charity. I needed to be sure to follow my regular routine.

On Monday when I was at the club, for about 30 minutes I was there completely alone. I had the entire place to myself. This morning there was someone at every single machine. Amazing. All the regulars were there. It was a morning not only for exercising, but for visiting. Mrs. Whitehead and I talked about the heat and how it drains you. Superwoman and I talked about her car, and how she'd parked in the wrong place (several of us were surprised to see her, since her car wasn't in it's normal spot right by the front door). The Director and I talked about Phantom of the Opera and about Midsummer Night's Dream. The Walker and I talked about how many people had showed up to exercise. I wasn't sure if this was exercise hour, or social hour.

After I'd finished my 50 minutes, dripping sweat from the building, which had absorbed yesterday's 100+ temps and hadn't had a chance to cool sufficiently one hour into "open time," I was deciding whether to take the long way home on the Greenbelt, or the short way (the "long way" is 5 miles; the "short way" is 3 miles--and if I don't go on the greenbelt at all, it's just .63 miles).

With the Ride for Hunger coming up tomorrow, I decided I could use all the miles I wanted to put in--and besides, the cool air blowing in my face was a good way to cool down.

I've been trying different entrances to the Greenbelt and kind of paying attention to where I am in relation to the city streets as I ride. I thought I could get to the bike path by cutting through a parking lot. And, in truth, as I turned into the parking lot I could see the Greenbelt right there at the end of it.

The problem was that as I approached the Greenbelt, I discovered there was no handy onramp. This meant that I had to either turn around, or get off the bike and lift it up over the curb. I chose the latter.

Now, I have to admit that I'm getting better at The Awkward Dismount. Months of bike riding has finally begun to loosen up these old muscles and while I still can't swing my leg gracefully over the seat, I can, most of the time, lift the leg over the bar without having to put the bike on the ground and climb over it.

But today, as I began to dismount, my foot caught on the cross bar and, unprepared for being thrown off balance, I went down like a ton of bricks.

It all happened in slow motion. My brain was remarkably clear as I attempted to move my body so as to protect the bike (the bike???). And yes, my head bounced on the concrete--I was very glad I was wearing a helmet.

I lay there for a moment trying to take an inventory of body parts. It was obvious that I'd scraped my elbow. The wrist on my braking hand wasn't feeling too hot, but I could move it, so I figured I hadn't broken it. The legs were fine, just entangled in the frame of the bike (the legs had protected the bike from damage).

Fortunately there seemed to be no witnesses to my fall from grace. I managed to extricate all body parts from the bike and get the bike standing upright again. I limped onto the bike path and had to make the decision--go home and lick my wounds, or continue on the ride home. Naturally, I chose the latter. I am buff. I can bounce back...or crawl back...or something.

I got a little turned around and ended up headed in the mid-distance instead of the long distance, but decided to just continue on that way. And yes, I did The Dreaded Overpass, feeling very virtuous that I not only did the overpass with half of my body aching, but that I did it in 5th gear.

So now I'm home. I've cleaned up the wound, which looks rather unspectacular after all. My whole right side is aching somewhat, but I am a jockette. I will take the sore muscles and hit the trail with the other bikers at our event tomorrow.

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My first Boob booboo

Quote of the Day

You can't lose weight without exercise. But I've got a philosophy about exercise. I don't think you should punish your legs for something your mouth did. Drag your lips around the block once or twice.

Gwen Owen

Picture of the Day

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The other of our Malaysian Son's newborn twins
This is Alyssa.

One Year Ago
At the Drive-In
(a guest entry by my friend Diane)

Two Years Ago
Stressed?  Who's Stressed?

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