It starts out innocently enough, a favour for others, a gesture of appreciation if you will. Today being Thursday it is of course Doughnut Day. Day of Sugary Carbohydrate Invasion. The Thin End of the Sugary Wedge.
Most days I shuffle these evil things off my desk and out of my office but today I was invincible – no need to move anything. I subsequently paid the price for my arrogance.
It started with a Tim Bit – a doughnut hole marketing scheme and as it turns out, an even thinner wedge end. It is food from the devil. Evil. The bite-sized bit lures you into thinking you can have just one but it is truly the gateway drug. By the time the dust had settled, there was spittle and drool splattered about the place, my desk littered in doughnut-remnants, evidence of the carnage that had just ensued. The look on my co-workers faces was a mixture of horror and disgust with a trace of admiration. I won’t add to you, my dear reader’s discomfort by putting an exact number on the victims, it is enough to know it was sufficient to feed a house of aspiring runway models for a week.
Having not ridden for a week I was already enjoying an overwhelming sense of self-loathing before my hubris had been thoroughly vanquished by the devil’s food. Full of easily-accessible sugary fuel and disdain for my activity level, I took advantage of today’s Chinook – the wind, not my bike – to get out for a ride before the sun went down. I headed north along the canal path, a section I don’t often get to ride. It’s been under construction most of the summer and eventually fell off my ride list which is funny because I don’t have a ride list. From 32nd I headed for Nose Creek Park and its short, steep hills to try to erase some of the day’s earlier carnage that was settling into my waist.
I made it to McKnight before the universe reminded me I know naught about riding in general and less about riding in faux winter. As I came out from under McKnight, in a gentle right-hand corner, I realized the shadow across the path was in fact a thin layer of wet mud. Immediately after that realization I learned that it was in fact a thin layer of very slick mud. The front end washed out and two things went through my head in quick succession: WWTS and; oh man – these stretchy pants are almost new! Luckily for me, the slick mud gave way to a skiff of gravel providing a relatively low-friction surface on which to smash my hip without the added insult of melting the lycra to my thigh.
Remarkably there was no damage to the stretchy pants and no damage to the bike save for more character on the previously-characterized bar end. My pride was bruised but otherwise I seemed to have escaped unscathed. My right hand hurt a bit as one might expect when it’s called into duty to save the elbow. I straightened my bars and brushed some of the dirt off before I hopped back on to continue my ride. Get-off or not I was going on a ride.
As I rode out to Nose Creek Park, I couldn’t help noticing that my wrist was in fact much more tender than having just suffered a slap-fest with the pavement. Putting any weight on it was excruciating but I could pull, break and shift without any drama. I pushed on determined to get a few kilometres in before the sun disappeared and made things more treacherous than I’d just discovered they were. I didn’t get far before my wrist, the rapidly setting sun and an unexpected head-rush that affected my hearing <?!> made the decision to turn around a prudent one.
I cycled home nursing an increasingly tender wrist, wary of anything that looked like it might be shadow, mud, water, gravel…I’d lost some confidence in the stiction of my front tire. As a made my back along the path I’d just travelled, my hearing returned to normal but my wrist did not. I stopped to take a picture of the offending mud before I made the climb back up to Centre. I passed another cyclist headed for the mud and tried to warn him as he went by “it’s slippery under McKnight!” though it probably sounded more like nonsensical gibberish. I imagine him skipping across the same gravel thinking to himself “oh…that’s what that guy was yelling about”.
Upon arriving home nurse Tracey tended to my wrist with a combination of homeopathic treatments. I’m starting to think it may be in worse shape than first thought as it’s rather swollen and stiff. We’ll see how bad it feels in the morning and if it’s worse I’ll get it looked at after the Remembrance Day service. In the meantime I’m extremely pleased with the performance of my MEC Roubaix stretchy pants – no holes, no damage of any kind.
I also have a new appreciation for roadies who turn and flee at the slightest indication of imperfect road conditions. It’s time to – at the very least – put on the knobbies. Studded tires – you’re in my future.
*What Will Thomas Say?