Saturday, June 24, 2006

A new hope

I can push again.

Well, mostly.

I did a route on the mountain bike through trails that I did with my brother about 10 days ago. At that time, I could effectively only push with my right leg, and had to keep my bike in ultra low gear to do anything. Even the slightest incline sent me to 3 MPH.

Not today.

Tonight I flew through the trail, able to press reasonably hard with both legs. I still feel leery about getting out of the saddle and blasting up a hill, but while sitting, I can really fire away. And fire I did.

On the flat pavement I could get near 20 MPH. Last week I was looking at 12 MPH. I really don't go above 20 MPH on the mountain bike on flats, even at full health.

Tomorrow I will hit the erg.

My adventure: Coming down out of the park on a fierce winding paved downhill, I misjudged a turn at about 30 MPH and ended up traveling on the gravel shoulder. Which meant even less control for saving the turn. I braked hard and my back tire locked and skidded. The bike threatened to slip out from under me, so I had to ease up on the brakes to regain control, but kept my speed. Ahead, the shoulder dropped steeply into what I could only guess was a ravine. I couldn't see where it went, just that the shoulder ended abruptly. I was headed right for it. As the front tire was a foot from dropping in, I did the only thing I could: Laid the bike down.

I came to sit with my legs over the edge, ass on gravel. The bike, which I still had by the handlebars, had barely come to rest on the overgrown grass three feet below the road level. I looked down to see a 10 foot length of aluminum drainage pipe protruding from under the roadway. Had I remained on the bike, I'd have ended up landing on drainage pipe in a steep ravine 10 feet below the level of the road. Doubt that would have ended well. Can you say 'search party'? More likely I'd have been eaten by the wild turkeys I saw 4 minutes prior. Carrion: The organic alternative to cremation.

I won't be bombing that descent any more. I like living.