A little tough to type this one with a sprained wrist, which I did not sustain crashing my bike on ice.
A mild 26 degrees in Seattle yesterday morning, could there be better weather for bike riding? I insisted on meeting my friend Jessica for a breakfast ride. I did not take the less steep, zero curve route down to the trail. Even after seeing all the frost outside. And knowing it was below freezing. And obviously too early for the barely-visible sun to do much about either.
No, I had to ride my warm-up hills. Did I bail when my bike wheels spun out going uphill from lack of traction? Of course not! I was too busy being psyched that I could apply that much torque.
The last hill before you get to the trail crests into a steep downhill curve. And you can see that the street is in tip-top shape in any case. As soon as I turned to head down the hill, I spilled in a tremendous heap. Did I mention that this street is a bus route? The bus route where my nearly new bike lay still while I continued to slide down the hill at a good clip, given my mass, initial momentum, high slope angle and the relatively little friction between my fancy shiny bike clothing and the frost-covered road surface.
I would rate the next 60-90 seconds of terror that I experienced on the bus route in my top three terrifying moments lifetime. The other two:
1) Waking while driving back to college to find the front-left wheel of my car in a climb over the median snowbank on Route 17. When asked if I believe in a higher power, I am forced to consider the inherent beauty of the universe, my driving skills at Age 19, and the handling of the Guidomobile, a 1984 Buick Regal. If I woke up from a coma tomorrow to find my life since that night had been an alternate universe dream and I had actually been nearly killed flipping over the snowbank, I wouldn't be surprised.
2) My homeroom teacher frosh year of HS would store half-pints of milk out on the windowsill for his coffee. One of my classmates and I had developed a habit of dropping said pints near unsuspecting folks from four stories up. Alright, I did all the dropping and my pal did all the watching. One late autumn day, we (I) achieved perfect splatter on what appeared to be a crazy homeless guy wandering by our school. Seconds later, the crazy homeless guy, burst into our homeroom followed closely by a school security officer. Now let's replace "crazy homeless guy" with "disheveled physics teacher" and we have an accurate cast of characters.
At this point in my life, trips to the principal/dean/other-punk-in-charge's office were no big deal. But disheveled physics teacher wanted me turned out. And there was no question where I would be sent: my zoned high school, site of several pipe bombings and gang wars over the previous several years. I took the subway an hour each way so I wouldn't have to go to that hellhole. And this was the subway before Guiliani turned Manhattan into Disneyland. Yeah, you would have needed new shorts too. As it ended up, this moment of terror was grossly misplaced, I should have been much more terrified about what my football coaches had in store for the "positive reinforcement" I received instead of administrative punishment or banishment.
Just so we're all clear, yes, I do know exactly how f-ed up I was as a teenager. I'm not sure my judgment has improved all that much, but at least I do a better job of aiming my stupidity inward.
Where was I before that firewalk down Memory Lane? Ah yes, sliding down an ice covered bus route, awaiting my place in the great beyond with "Bridgestone" permanently imprinted across my body and sparkly bits of my new bike piercing my skin. Somehow I managed to stop the slide about 20 feet from my bike. Tried to stand, but Sir Isaac Newton wasn't having any of that. Crawled hands and knees up hill to my bike, pulled my bike to the curb, managed to get up and started walking my bike down the hill to the trail. And that's when I finally managed to crunch my wrist. Fell down on the ice and slammed my hand while inching towards the trail. Wrist is still a bit off three days later.
Got on the trail, took a slow ride over to meet Jessica, fixed my bike, and then rode another 18 miles to breakfast and back home. Seriously, Patty's Eggnest in Greenwood/Ballard/Crown Hill. My hand could have been dangling by one tendon and I would have made the ride for their bacon.
I may have learned my lesson about riding on ice. The one I should have picked up in high school physics, but I failed that a couple of times. Definitely didn't learn any lessons about bailing when hurt. Breakfast was so worth it. And I needed to get a ride in.