Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Night crasher

Date: Dec. 13
Today's mileage: 14.2
December mileage: 177.5
Temperature upon departure: 25

I have a better picture from Sunday, but this is one I actually took today, so there you go. I'm still aiming for journalistic realism. Today's ride was sponsored by Cyclelicious, a great read for everything from unfair cycling legislation to calendar girls who can't ride a bicycle to save their life. Also, Cyclelicious is one of the top-ranked bike blogs online, so I thought I'd make today's affiliate ride a good one.

By the time I dismounted from my swivel chair and left the cement box, the sun had already set. I decided to grab my headlight and head up to the reservoir - try my skills on the snowmobile paths up there. Unfortunately, after the thaw some ATVs and other wheeled vehicles drove up and down the trail, creating deep, frozen ruts that all but trapped me once I dropped into them. I tackled the trail with all of my lung-searing strength going up, remembering that speed and balance often go hand in hand. However, that theory didn't work as well coasting down. With only my tiny yellow headlight to guide me, I weaved in and out of those ruts and tried to keep my unmoving pedals just above the berm. Eventually - although a more appropriate word is probably inevitably - I overcorrected just enough and slammed right into one of those ATV canyon walls. Instead of jumping over it, the wheel lodged in the snow and I stopped dead. Or, rather, the bike stopped dead. I went for an extended ride over the handlebars.

Usually snow is pretty forgiving. However, snow that has soaked up four days worth of rain before freezing again is about as soft as concrete. I knew the moment I hit that I wasn't injured at all. But I lay there for a while anyway, staring at stars as they slipped behind wisps of clouds and thinking only of blunt pain and the repeated word "hard, hard, hard, hard." I got over it soon enough, though. I stood up, brushed off the powder, and worked my way back to the road ... humbled, but determined to keep trying.