Saturday, May 30, 2009

Of Blessed Tegaderm and Favored Jerseys

I have a beautiful long-sleeved jersey. It's red. It's slim. It's sleek. It's pretty. It’s fast. It's got an M. C. Escher-ish print on the front. It's my fav. It goes with the bit of red on my shoes and ties in well with the silver helmet and black tights old racing saying: if you can't be good, ya gotta at least look good. I wear it whenever I can, but its days are limited to those few chilly spring and fall rides after winter is gone and before summer heat.

I headed out the door last night wearing Escher...the temp was a sunny 70. Thirty minutes later, I walked back into the house: You OK? Wheel asked.

Yeah, I just overdressed. I grabbed a short-sleeved jersey from the pile. It's one that I can't wear often -- doesn't breathe well when it's toasty out, but is perfect for 70. It's one of those bought-it-so-I-wear-it-when-I-can items. I'll even wear it mountain biking, and I always wear my old stuff mountain biking. It's far from cute. Far from my fav.

I dropped my favored, beautiful, red Escher onto the table as I headed out the door.


I just don't spill on the road bicycle. Sure, I gathered my share of road rash during my racing days, but really, given the mileage I was putting in then my percentage of biffs was low. Ideally, it would have been zero, but I was a pretty aggressive cornerer and caught a pedal in training once on an off-camber corner. The other time I was taken out by a teammate who couldn't hold it together after being bumped during a crit. I tried holding her upright, but the bicycles ended up in the curb and we slid off along the sidewalk, right past all the parking meters, street signs and coffee carts.

Back then I learned about Blessed Tegaderm genuflect. It's a bit of heaven, in the form of medical Contac Paper, for road-rashed bodies. Without it, a person faces a month of dried, cracking scabs and a lifetime of scars. With it, new, pink, moist skin forms underneath a protective cover and is one day free to face the outside world again, basically scar-free.

During those racing years, I also taught a beginning racing skills course put on by our club. I worked with the group that really didn't intend to enter into racing; and basically, people came out of class being in more control of their bicycles rather than the other way 'round...pack riding, physical contact, wheel touching, cornering, etc. I came out of it all with some decent riding skills as well...when compared with Joe Recreational Cyclist, at any rate. It's all about about the efficiencies of riding: those subtle position and weight shifts that make cycling safer and easier.

So, I get a bit haughty when it comes to others biffing on the road during a recreational ride. I'm supportive, but in the back of my head, I'm always thinking there's no reason for him to wipe out because of gravel in the corner...she ended up with a broken pelvis because of a paceline blip and she picked a spot she shouldn't have....


When I showed up back at home early for the second time yesterday, Wheel wondered what was up. I did a Superman I told him. My past spills: a Barnum and Baily arse-over-teakettle and a Roller Derby shove from the side. This time, as a friend and I were blabbing, my front wheel caught in some deep sand overwash where the trail curved. It's a spot that's always a bit hairy, but I typically don't think twice about it. I don't exactly know why it happened...probably too light a touch on the bars due to miscalculating the sand depth.

The front wheel immediately pivoted to the side and I launched over the top, except at the slow speed we were going it wasn't spectacular...more like the old Laugh-In bits with the guy on the tricycle. I slowly tipped forward and to the side, arms out to break my landing (luckily nothing injured there). Landed on my stomach of all things. Scraped an elbow and a knee. Humbled.

At home, I showered and began applying the Blessed Tegaderm genuflect. Wheel looked at my jersey: Oh, that's too bad, your jersey is ripped!

I grabbed my favored, beautiful, red, long-sleeved M. C. Escher jersey still sitting on the table from my earlier change. I smiled.

No it isn't!

- OB whew!


Once known as The Badger said...

It *is* a beautiful jersey. Where would one get such a thing? I know your Tegaderm, and knock on my head, may I never know it again! A Superwoman, indeed! As Country Joe said, "flyin' high, way up in the sky, just like... The Old Bag..." Glad you made it back.

The Old Bag said...

Once in awhile jersey makers hit a home run, and this was one. Unfortunately, it doesn't happen often enough!

Yeah, the biff...poor judgment, not paying attention -- criminy!

LimesNow said...

A woman and her love of the art! It's good to see you back on your blog. I finally put mine up if you'd like to come on over. Though not a cyclist, I've purchased some beautiful jerseys for one who is. A comment on taking a spill: my passion is walking or hiking. I dump WAY more often than I should. Down on the concrete, hands and knees bleeding. And I don't have to calculate any of the variables that you do - just perambulate like people do. I attribute it to being very busy in my head at all times!

Pete said...

I'm glad to hear your biff was not a serious one!

WheelDancer said...

Deep sand on a blind corner after a long straightaway makes that corner pretty treacherous. I'm sure there is lots of skin lying around in that sand. My closest calls as of late have been in that very same corner.

Trée said...

Gorgeous jersey. Just makes you want to ride!

The Old Bag said...

@Limes -- glad I'm not the only one in the dirt, but I'd rather neither of us be there!

@Pete -- thanks!

@Wheel -- it'll make me more nervous NOW....

@Tree -- I always look forward to spring and fall riding because of it... :-)

LimesNow said...

Oh, yeah. Adults are not meant to fall down. We must lose the tuck and roll instinct when we reach puberty.

T Regina said...

Last night, about 60 minutes into my nightly urban San Diego run, the sounds of shouting and whistling and general merriment filtered through the music of Radiohead zapping my brain through the iPod headset.

The monthly Critical Mass bike ride was flowing up Fifth Avenue in a glorious surge of wheels, eerie blue lights and human energy! The best way to describe the scene is "magical". Thousands of bikes "took back the streets" from the bullying roar and stink of internal combustion engines. What a joyful beautiful night scene. Imagine how much less stress those of us packed together in cities would feel if our "transportation infrastructure" was dominated by bikes.

...And tomorrow the San Diego Rock and Roll marathon will fill a major 4 lane highway with runners. Meanwhile it is time for me to throw myself on the mercy of the Saturday morning drivers and head out in the gloomy coastal overcast to do errands on my 1986 metallic blue 10- Speed Schwinn "Caliente".

I am glad you were able to get home from your spill on your own steam, Ms.O.B. Ouch.


KM said...

Tegaderm rocks. Believe it or not, they make it in long rolls. I once saw it used on a roadie who had slid on his side a few feet. Cut a long piece of it, clean the grit out of the wound (the worst part) and stick er on.

Doozyanner said...

What a beautiful jersey! I'm glad you (and it) weren't seriously hurt. I'd love to take a class like the one you describe. (Coming to Oregon any time soon??) I'm still a relative newby to cycling and get nervous in a pack. There've been some near misses caused by my inexperience, but luckily I haven't taken anyone down with me. My spills have been solo--not unclipping at a stoplight, for example. Hard to look like a cool cyclist when you're splayed out on the pavement, blocking traffic!

Groover said...

Great post.

Oh, I have experience with the tesafilmskinstuff, too. It's oozing, and it smells terrible ... but the results are worth it.

mike j said...

I've never heard of Tegaderm before. I'll have to check it out but hopefully not too soon.

rlove2bike said...

It is really funny how things happen sometimes. It was bad you crashed, but the good karma says you keep the jersey...and everthing worked as advertised when all was said and done.

The Old Bag said...

@KM -- the stuff is a Godsend. Didn't know it came in rolls! I like having some on hand, but hopefully I won't need to go that far.

@Limes -- I need to practice the tuck-and-roll on some grass somewhere. It just isn't the reaction I have.

@Terry -- I love running my errands on the bicycle. I've got a '76 Raleigh that's hanging in the garage waiting for some work so it can become the errand bike.

@Doozy -- agreed, splayed out on the side of the road just doesn't do much for the cool factor.

@Groover -- it's unfortunate that we all have to know about the good stuff.

@Mike J -- it's always good to have some on hand...gotta catch the road rash before it starts drying over.

@Rlove -- darned right! Skin you know how hard it is to find a great jersey?!

Once known as The Badger said...

If you didn't live so far away, I'd tend to your '76 Raleigh. I'm a remarkably good bicycle mechanic. ...some say, a bicycle whisperer. However, since I'm getting hard of hearing, a bicycle shouter might be more in order!

C. P. said...

The jersey's trashed... but it's the story that lasts!

The Old Bag said...


@CP -- you know, it's all about the story.