Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Mo Chronicles - Bunny Hopping

The bet with StravaMo has become a fun additive to my cycling.  We can each, on a daily basis, look at each other's stats and see who does what and who leads the bet.  As of Monday last week, I was comfortably 100+ miles up on Mo, and I was enjoying watching him try to catch up.  However, with my little Fender Destroyer incident on Wednesday, I had to take off a few days (two commutes and the FOG ride - probably 100 miles of riding) to recover.  Mo jumped at the opportunity to attack while I was down (Contador/Schleck?!?) and went for a few bonus rides - over 100 miles from Thursday through Sunday - and recorded his biggest week of miles (203 miles) in the last 52 weeks.  Well done, Mo.  ((You are still going to lose)).

Now for the fun part.  I have been meaning to buy a little trophy that Mo or I an keep on our office desk as a symbol of who leads the bet.  I suggested that the trophy needed to be relinquished on demand should the Strava data lead change.  The demand for the trophy could be made at any time, on any day, so long as the leader showed up in person to collect the goods.  So for all of January, that trophy would have been safely on my desk.  But Mo took the lead yesterday with his commute to work.  I took it back this morning as of about 7.30am when I logged in my commute.  If Mo rode to work today, however, he would take back the lead.  This bunny hopping should continue for a short while until either a) one of us is able to get a long ride in or b) one of us takes a little break.  It is for these situations that the trophy would be a  new facet to the bet.

My knees hurt too much for me to take on any big rides, so the window is still open for you, Mo.  Take the opportunity while it exists.  Kick me while I am down.  I won't hold it against you.  And it will only hurt you more, come December, when I am comfortably in the lead.  We can then look back and reminisce about how you tried to take advantage of a paraplegic. 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

FatGuy - Fender Destroyer

It could have been so much worse.  But I think I am going to live … although it hurts to type this … I survived my first bike versus car incident.  That’s the good news.  I have begun to type this from my hospital room at 11.49pm.  But I will rewind to about seven hours ago.

It seemed like another normal commute home.  I did the 4.25pm Ferry and planned my normal 6 mile bike ride home.  I talked a bunch of smack with StravaMo about how I was going to own him on our bet this year.  In fact, I had planned for Mo to do another wacky 50 mile morning, plus 10 mile “errand” plus 17 mile day – gaining 50 miles on our totals.  But his presence on the boat got me excited when I learned that he aborted this morning and just got in a normal 17 mile day.  Sweet!!  I gained a few miles on him today.

After getting off of the boat, a crew of about 5 guys jetted off.  I stayed behind to chat with another buddy for a maximum of 30 seconds.  I accelerated to get out of the parking lot, then slowed as I made my left onto the bike path westbound parallel to Sir Francis Drake.  I slowed in the normal spot, looking left up the driveway into the Wood Island Office Complex, clear.  I accelerated a bit as I got back on the path – which, by the way, doubles as the sidewalk.  I looked left in driveway number one, clear, and the same in driveway number two when all of a sudden a Toyota Tacoma pulled out from the offices into the bike lane.  There was another bicyclist immediately on my right, so I couldn’t veer into SFD (he did).  So braking was my only option.  Unfortunately, my reflexes and my FatGuy inertia won the battle.  I T-Boned the Tacoma right in front of its front, passenger-side wheel.

I’m not sure exactly how it all went down.  But I remember looking down at my handlebars and squeezing the brakes as hard as I could.  Next thing I knew, I was on my butt, on the driver’s side of the Tacoma, in the east bound bike lane on SFD, not quite in the lane of traffic (not to be confused with the west bound bike path where I started).  I sat there for a bit, making sure that all my facilities were generally intact.  The cyclist next to me grabbed my bike and moved it to safety (I think).  Then the driver of the car approached.  I still had my hands on my helmet and my face in my lap.  All I heard was something to the effect of, “Wow, Man, that was an impressive flip you did over my hood.”  By that point, I was pretty sure that I wasn’t dead.  My right hand was throbbing but I felt capable of getting myself up and off of the street.  I stood to an incredible pain in both knees.  Oh crap.  I sat back down on the ledge and just sat quietly, staying silent and wiggling all of my extremities.

Finally I came to and started to chat with the people that stood around.  There was me, the cyclist from next to me, the driver and one other guy.  Everyone was really calm and careful to see whether I was all right.  My most pain remained in my right hand.  But my knees were starting to hurt more, too.  The driver started to chat us up about what happened.  He was careful to not point any fingers (yet) and say how that intersection is so dangerous.  “I see bikers flying through here every day, nearly missing cars”, he said.  He rambled on about how it wasn't his fault and how “we both were kind of at fault” and how it wasn’t fair that “bikes always got the benefit of the doubt when cars and bikes collide”. 

When the pain got more manageable, within a couple of minutes, I stood up and started talking a bit myself.  I took out my camera and took a few pictures of the white scuff marks on his fender and the FatGuy marks on his hood.  According to the driver, he looked left (away from my direction) to check the traffic and when he turned his head back, he saw me flying over the hood of his car.  He claimed to never have seen me coming.  More interesting, he said that he saw me fly over the hood, do a complete mid-air flip, land on my feet on the other side of his car, and then do a somersault on the concrete, landing on my butt.  It truly all happened so fast that I have no clue what really happened.  The driver was really cool, albeit a bit evasive, though.  And I could tell that he was equally traumatized.  The cyclist next to me spoke up and said to the driver, “Well, you did come out a little too fast and too far into the bike path”, but the driver wasn't having it.  I snapped a few more pictures, we exchanged a few more pleasantries, the cyclist gave both of us his contact info, the driver texted me his name and phone number, and we all went our separate ways.

I rode home pretty gingerly, continuing to assess the situation, adrenaline still pumping.  My knees and right hand hurt the most but I was, again, going to live.  I figured out that when I was ejected from the bike, my knees must have somehow hit my handlebars.  The front wheel was riding straight, but the bars were tilted probably 10-15 degrees to the left.  I had to bend the front wheel back into shape from the broken spokes and bent rim, bent the left shifter back into place and I tightened up the front fork.  The weirdest thing of all is that my bottle cage was completely bent and pulled from the frame.

I made it home safely and was greeted, as usual, by my happy kids.  We went straight up to the shower where I could get my clothes off and take a further look.  My knees were both bruised and my right thumb and pinkie was swollen pretty nicely.  I had little scratches on my left elbow, right ankle, and right pec - just above my nipple.

Putting the kids to bed, I rested on the couch until the Missus returned home.  I told her this story and she insisted that I get some x-rays on my hand and knees.  Unlike usual, I agreed and headed to the ER.  So here I sit, waiting for the doctors to see me.

That’s the game day report.  More to follow.  Did I mention that I am not dead?  I think that is the most positive thing can state for right now.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Wicked Witch of the West

This morning, I felt like sleeping in and didn't get out of the house until after 7am.  This opened me up to a whole new crowd.  I guess those that sleep in are a bit on the cranky side.  You would think that the extra sleep would solve some of the drama.

I will share the story via an email chain with one of my commute friends, <<PAL>>.  I have removed the names to protect the guilty ...

An email to my pal ...
On Tue, Feb 5, 2013 at 8:38 AM, <<WHEEL DESTROYER>> wrote:
OK … I have a mission for you.  I need to identify a couple riders.  A male and female combo, she is in her early to mid 40s, he is mid to high 40s.  She had short blonde hair and a bit of a fuzzy face.  Him brown hair with no facial hair.  Both were wearing <<FANCY>> Jerseys.  He had a <<BIKE CLUB>> shorts/pants on (hence my email to you).  NOTE: MY PAL IS A MEMBER OF THE SAME CLUB  He rode a red <<HIGH END>> road bike.  She had a titanium road frame, looked like Motobecane, but probably fancier.  They passed me on Shady Lane (the first time) and she commuted all the way into the City (she was wearing a backpack).  He peeled off after the GGB and headed south towards the Park (he did not have a backpack on).  My guess is that they started in the San Anselmo/Ross area.  They certainly knew eachother and ride together frequently – by the way they were chatting.  He led most of the way and she rode his wheel.   How’s that for starters?

Her response:
From: <<PAL>>
Date: February 5, 2013, 5:46:23 PM PST
OK so the guy must have been <<PROTECTED>> and the girl <<WITCHY WITCH>> who I think you know from the ferry.  If fact, as I read your email again I'm almost sure it was <<WITCHY WITCH>> on his wheel. I'm surprised you saw them as she usually goes in much later than you do. 

On Tue, Feb 5, 2013 at 6:28 PM, <<WHEEL DESTROYER>> wrote:
Ding, ding, ding.  I did some Facebook stalking and you nailed <<PROTECTED>> and <<WITCHY WITCH>>.  I knew I could count on you.  I don't think that I have met either of them before, though.  I can tell you, and I'm sure that it was a case of 'someone-woke-up-on-the-wrong-side-of-the-bed', but your pal <<WITCHY WITCH>> was a complete jerk to me this morning on the commute (you are right, by the way, I left way late today, and that it how we crossed paths).  As I mentioned, they passed me on Shady lane.  And we did a little bunny hopping back and forth up to Camino Alto.  Not surprisingly, they schooled me up the hill, but I caught up to them on the bike path in Mill Valley.  Rather than keeping up the passing back and forth, I just settled in on <<WITCHY WITCH>>'s  wheel and enjoyed the pull.  I gave her a 'rider back' and coughed and spit a few times so she would know that I was on her wheel.  I was certain that she knew I was there as she nodded her head a few times, but she made it clear, later, that I was mistaken. When we slowed at a stop sign, she made a point to scream at me with some less than nice stuff.  I had my headphones on so I didn't get the exact message.  Rather than incite her further, I tried to just ride past the two of them.  But she pulled out in front of me, blocking my path, and proceeded to yell a bit more and complain to her riding partner, <<PROTECTED>>.  Trying further to not instigate, I just looked at the guy and apologized again for interrupting their ride.  I apologized the same to her, but she was having none of it.  So I just kept riding on as she yelled at me.  They passed me one last time on Bridgeway and I just decided to ignore them.  I rode more slowly and went on with my day.

If you happen to see her in the near future, you may want to mention to her that she came down on the wrong guy for absolutely the wrong reason (riding her wheel).  Life is too short for me to cause a scene, but she did her damnedest in trying to push my buttons.  You might further relay to her that the biking community in Marin is pretty small.  When she is wearing <<FANCY>> kit and/or a <<CLUB>> kit, she should think twice before acting the fool and potentially embarrassing her 'sponsors'.  Just food for thought.  Long story short, no harm done.  She is lucky that it was me and not one of my less patient buddies.  

On Tue, Feb 5, 2013 at 7:27 PM, WHEEL DESTROYER wrote:
In rereading my email, I don't want you to misconstrue one phrase.  When I said, "... she messed with the wrong guy ..." what I meant was "... she messed with one of the good guys ...".  I'm not trying to make a threat or a big deal.  But she really made an arse of herself today for no reason.   Ok, enough negativity. Thanks for letting me vent. 

From: <<PAL>>
Date: February 5, 2013, 8:01 PM PST
I see you received your <<WITCHY WITCH>> initiation attack!  You are one of many, my friend.  I have known her for many years, and she has always been this way.  It's sad because she obviously has some "things" to deal with, but I find that I have to keep my distance as far as friendship is concerned because you never know when she will go completely ballistic.  Plus I don't want to deal with all the bullshit.  You should tell this story to <<OTHER PAL>>, she will get a kick out of it.  Not that she would be laughing at you, but because that type of incident is so common with <<WITCHY WITCH>>.

Miss <<WITCHY WITCH>>, careful who you f&*k with ...  You are now about to feel the wrath of the full <<WHEEL DESTROYER>> mafia.

2012 Recap and 9,000 mile update

I logged my first miles on Strava in August of 2011.  That month I ripped two mountain bike rides for a cumulative total of 14 miles.  A lot has passed in the last 18 months.

My 2012 final stats are as follows:
7,141.4 total miles
5,558.9 commuting miles
209 GGB crossings
2 organized centuries (one with the NearNakedMan suit)

Today, February 4, 2013, I crossed the 9,000 mile mark on Strava.  Five figures, here I come.  Time to break some more frames.