Today I offer up my final excuse, err, accounting of the year as to why I’m not riding my bicycle as much as I’d like. I could blame it on the weather, you know, days and days of unending rain followed by cold, cold temperatures. How cold was it, you say?
The weather was so cold the neighborhood raccoons were wearing knit sweaters as they emptied our bird feeders.
Last Friday was illustrative of my efforts to improve my fitness. It was a good weather day for December. The mid-afternoon temps were reaching the low 50’s, there was a slight wind, and fluffy white clouds dotted the sky. I deemed it a day for a ride. First up, I needed to get appropriately attired, which meant finding clothes located in a box left somewhere following our move to beautiful downtown Buzzard’s Roost. With the box located and a decision made to ignore the slight smell of mold, I wriggled and pulled into my lycra/spandex knickers that somehow shrunk while in storage. The “club fit” jersey (read FULL cut here) was encouraged into place soon followed by shoes and helmet.
Of course, it was necessary to “wire up” as we say in the “let’s measure everything we do” world of today’s fitness. That meant pulling off the jersey, strapping on the heart rate monitor, synching up the Bluetooth radio, letting the phone find the all critical GPS satellites despite the knowledge that I was probably not going to ride further than five miles. (Note: The Navigator gave me a GoPro Hero 3+ Black edition camera for Christmas so now I’ll have even more electronics to sync up before riding!)
Finally, underway and smoothly rolling down the road, a crazed squirrel, exhibiting madness like I’ve never seen before, dashed and pranced its way just in front of my tire requiring me to brake in a semi-straight line to avoid falling in the “horse apples” decorating the road. I didn’t need the GPS enabled fitness tracking software to advise me my heart rate was now out of the “fat burning” zone.
By the half mile mark, I was settled back into a good cadence but was quickly reminded that daydreaming on a bicycle is a bad idea as one of the local resident’s daughters practiced the fine art of make-up application whilst talking on a cell phone whilst driving with her knees whilst ignoring that big old red thing at the intersection. You know – the STOP SIGN!
At the three quarter mile mark, a large shadow accompanied by a buzzing sound, passed over me and scared me so bad my heart rate again jumped out of the fat burning zone. Thinking to myself that this must be what cycling experts consider to be interval training, I hit the apex of a left hand curve smooth and perfect only to find an immediate need to stop as fast as possible.
As it turns out, the large buzzing shadow was an Amazon drone delivering a French door high capacity stainless steel refrigerator (Item #000142378DBT) to one of my neighbors as a surprise present for his wife. Unfortunately, the GPS encoder for the drone misread the elevation marks and was flying so low that it intersected in time and space with a FedEx delivery truck, which was dropping off an extra large gas grill (with seven burners and an auto-incinerator feature) to the same household where the refrigerator was headed. Needless to say, the collision closed down both lanes of our rural non-shoulder, non-bike lane road. Local law enforcement, the FAA, the FBI, the TSA, and a couple of other alphabetically challenged organizations soon descended upon the stainless steel mess and began the long process of assigning blame.
After reporting my observations to the accumulated agencies and then giving an on-air camera interview to the local TV station about the matter, I was still committed to completing my ride. One hour after starting my trek and now a full mile away from home, I climbed to the top of the next rise only to find the road blocked by a mountain of trash and debris that had toppled from the county’s newest landfill – some people probably know it as the Park ‘N Ride at exit 33. Yes, the road was impassable and a real threat of puncturing a tire on a used needle lurked amidst the empty Budweiser bottles, used baby diapers, and fast food containers. This last impediment to my ride was simply too much and my spirit was broken – much as the Genuine Miller Lite bottle of beer to my left.
I turned around dejectedly and made my (fortunately) unobstructed way home. My mood soon improved however knowing that once again I would sleep securely in the knowledge that I had really, really tried to improve my fitness. As they say, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!
A Belated Congratulations!
Having not written in a while means that I haven’t congratulated my friend Ted Rogers, BikinginLA, on his successful move to a revenue supported site. Ted does an outstanding job of reporting cycling events that run the emotional gamut from sad/angry to happy/ecstatic. Here’s my best wishes for Ted and ongoing success as we move into 2014. Also, here’s hoping that he reports on many, many less cycling deaths and injuries in the coming year!
HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL!
P.S. A shorter version of this tale of woe was my final cycling column for 2013 the Mountaineer.