17 November 2007

A Photo I Love

I love this photo of Westminster Street in Providence downcity (a street I often have to venture on to go ride west) for a few reasons:

-There's both a Dunkin Donuts and a CVS
-There's at least one car parked on the sidewalk
-There are potholes in the small strip of cobblestones found in the middle of the bricks
-The oldest 'shopping mall' in the U.S. is one the left
-There's both a RI-style metal grating and a RI-style manhole cover from hell

Please note, I've once seen a car try to turn this into a two-lane street before. Look closely - there's enough space.

Stupid Things That I've Done on the Bike - Part 1 of many

So I've been reminiscing today about some stupid things that I have done on the bike before. It all started because yesterday I literally blew up the tube on my bike wheel (and exploded the sidewall) while showing off some bunnyhops on the Brown main green - it sounded like a gunshot when it occured and definitely brought more attention to me than when I was just bunnyhopping around.

-My first major road bike crash ever was in Colorado Springs two summers ago. I was riding and singing Elton John songs at the top of my lungs (I get bored when riding alone which naturally entails singing), and went past a group of like ten rowdy teenagers. Mere feet past the group of rowdy punks I hit a patch of sand and totally wiped out right in front of them, smashing my derailleur into the curb and bloodying myself up pretty bad. They were all like "holy hell that was hardcore" and "holy hell that guy was singing Elton John and riding a bike and then just crashed."

-On my third ride ever on a road bike back when I was in high school in Colorado Springs I thought it would be cool to try doing a trackstand at an intersection because I had seen somebody do one earlier. The problem, though, was that I didn't know how to do a trackstand. I was wobbling out of it and was in a massive flurry to avoid drifting into traffic while not falling (plus I sucked at unclipping and didn't have that certain reflex built into me yet). Right then, two DISCOVERY CHANNEL TEAM guys turned the corner in the intersection to ride in the opposite direction on the road I was on (they were going fast...Chris Carmichael is headquartered in the Springs so that's why I assume the Discovery riders were there)!!!!! I came literally one inch away from completely wiping both of them out!! I felt so sheepish.

-Crashing while riding the trainer (i.e. didn't have the bike screwed in properly). I've done that multiple times.

-Crashing in the courtyard of Keeney (did it twice last year). Of course I've done much worse in Keeney before, though :)

-Breaking my arm in a mountain biking accident fall of my sophomore year of high school which meant that I had to do the rest of the cross-country season running with a big green cast on my arm.

-Trying a solo breakaway my first road race ever.

Just a taste of stupidity. My cross-country coach in high school once told me, "Graham, for being somebody so intelligent, sometimes you do really stupid things." Sometime I'll have to reminisce about stupid things I did back in the days of competitive running (i.e. flipping the bird while leading a race in track, trying to push someone off a bridge during a XC race, losing my shoe during Metro League XC race one year, etc.)

Wiser souls have been advising me to take good care of my achilles. My philosophy now is - if it hurts to walk, don't ride, but if it doesn't hurt to walk, then ride and reflect. It doesn't hurt to walk now, and it rarely hurts to ride now except when sprinting or hammering hard. I rode with Brent today for a nice long ride, except since he's not horribly afraid to apply his strength on the bike in a dynamic manner I felt a bit of a twinge in the achilles once in a while, but otherwise it was fine. I spent a good deal of today looking at a big music note, which you'll understand if you've seen his brand new bike.

11 November 2007

One Ridiculous Ride - Rhode Island at Night from the Bike

I got back on the bike for the first time Friday afternoon. At 4:15pm. For a nighttime ride. I had never (intentionally) done a nighttime ride before.

Long story short, I rode with a teammate who was dressed like the freaking iceman and had on a reflective construction vest, a huge blinker on the back, and headlights. I had a tiny reflector/blinker on the back that I borrowed from somebody, and I wasn't dressed like the iceman. I just showed up for kicks.

We went down the East Bay path, and while the reflection of city lights on the bay and the parts that pass through towncenters were quite visible, it felt like the majority of the ride was in the deep dark woods. Without headlights, I personally could not see the ground directly below me, which was probably bad because a lot of the path is covered in slippery leaves and a bit of gravel this time of year. Thank goodness for all those rides that I do with my road bike on mountain biking trails (there's no better confidence builder than riding clipped in on a road bike on a non-technical mountain bike trail). Coming back, the Providence skyline was beautiful above the water, but we didn't care because we were flipping freezing!

After I came an inch from getting T-boned by a car in East Providence, the two of us had a lengthy discussion about how to approach the Henderson Bridge. We decided that the sidewalk on the Angell Street side was probably best - although the sidewalk is horribly small and debris-covered and the railing separating us from a significant drop into the Seekonk River was a bit too short for comfort. Nothing like the old Washington Bridge crossing, though...but I guess I never did that at night either. We got over the Henderson, although my strategy was to do it as fast as possible and get it over with while my teammate took it slow and thus had time to reflect upon the danger of the situation.

The East Side was well lit. The off-ramp from the Henderson onto Angell Street was the most comforting site of the evening. That says a lot.

For the record my achilles tendon is still totally screwed up, so I don't know what I'm going to do with it. My two options are to continue to rest it (although rest seems to have little effect on its currently non-existent improvement), or just start riding on it again. Logic tells me to pursue the first option, but then again I don't like applying logic to riding.