Friday, January 26, 2007

I'd like to thank the academy ...

Date: Jan. 25
Mileage: 32.0
January mileage: 684.1
Temperature upon departure: 31

So I was all set to log on this evening and write a quick post about what an idiot I am, when I checked the Web stats like a do all the time occasionally, and discovered that this humble little blog made it as a finalist of one of the categories of the 2007 Bloggies!

I bet you'll never guess the category.

Seriously. It would have never occured to me. But I'll keep you in suspense until the end of this post, because my story today adds a few sprinkles of irony.

For all of the cycling I've done, and for all of my cold-weather cycling experience, I still occasionally make some spectacularly stupid mistakes. Today I hoped to do a little trail riding, so I hauled my fat-tired-but-studless snowbike up the stairs to find our front driveway coated in a solid sheet of glare ice. If this wasn't an obvious enough warning sign, I should have also taken into account the heavy rainfall that literally flooded most of the side streets yesterday, and the fact that the temperatures dropped below freezing shortly after the storm and stayed there. But I didn't. Snaux bike has been so burly in so many winter cycling situations that it's made me a little complacent. Studded tires? Who needs them? I headed down the road.

The streets were fairly trecherous, but I figured riding a few solid trails up north would more than make up for a little tentitive road riding. I remembered to keep my butt on the seat and never hit the brake. I rode slowly and methodically. When I hit the bike path, the surface changed to a smooth, translucent, 1/2"-thick sheet of ice. I was going along at a pretty good clip when I saw one of my co-workers, Korry, walking ahead. I'd recognize his hat anywhere. So I thought - hey, I'll stop and say hi to Korry. Without even really assessing the situation, I turned the wheel a little to the left and pressed lightly on the brake. I saw Korry's face as he stopped to turn toward that sound he heard, that horrible scraping sound, and the suddenly, the landscape lurched sideways. I felt both wheels kick violently to the left and launch skyward. For that split-second we were airborn, that quiet moment that carries the calm acceptence of impending disaster, so focused in a tunnel of silence that I'm certain I actually heard Korry gasp, so calm that my body went limp. Then I slammed like a lead-weighted rag doll on the ice, right shoulder first, then hip, then head. I could hear Korry yelling. And then I heard him say, "Jill?"

So embarrassing. One of those moments in which it didn't matter if I was physically hurt or not. My ego was crushed. I jumped back up, dragging my bike beside me. "No worries," I called out. "I'm a complete clutz. Happens all the time!"

I later spent several minutes in the bathroom of a Safeway examining my shoulder to make sure it wasn't mildly dislocated or otherwise injured. It's just bruised, but it did hurt. I still finished my ride, because I wasn't actually injured. But I finished it with focus, and with respect. And I know, I know. "Jill, BE CAREFUL." It's not really the kind of mistake you need to make twice. Even though it's a much slower and less snow-worthy machine, my studded-tire mountain bike is probably going to start seeing a lot more use. Starting tomorrow, which I have slated to be my longest training ride before the Susitna 100. I know. I'm bummed Snaux bike won't be there, too.

Oh ... and the category I've been nominated for? Best Sports Blog! Up in Alaska ... Sports Blog. It's the one-stop-blog where you can get all of your World Series of Superbowl Finals information from those in the know. It think that means I have a pretty good chance of winning, but maybe you could drop into the Bloggies and cast your vote anyway. Vote early and vote often. You guys are the greatest.