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!