11.02.2008

TIGER BALM

TIGER BALM
www.tigerbalm.com


all would have been good had I not at the last minute taken the safety precaution of carrying a 29er tube in my jersey pocket
was all set to head out bareback
but at the last minute figured that it would be a rookie/roadie mistake to head out into the woods without at least a tube
sure I was dependent upon Cargo Mike for his pump and I was playing the odds by not bringing a 15mm wrench for the bolt on rear wheel
something better than nothing because we have all learned that it is a short ride on the bike but a long walk on foot when something goes wrong in the woods

we arrived and pulled the bikes off the car
I grabbed a rag and some Gold Link chain lube
my chain needed to be tightened and my brake pads needed to be adjusted
I put the more competent mechanic on task... Cargo Mike is not only more skilled but much faster with his skills
after gearing up in the parking lot at Schaeffer Farms with last minute adjustments completed we rolled past a parking lot filled with cars and ducked into the woods

that little silver can of Red Bull certainly aids with the warm up
I led into the woods
Cargo Mike and I rode briskly through the woods... not race pace... but fast
the conditions were perfect

the temperature was Indian Summer in all of its glory
shorts and t-shirt weather
perhaps warm enough for one last dip in the local watering hole before the cruelty of winter settles in

my amber lenses set the canopy of orange and yellow leaves on fire
the trail was beaten enough that the leaves were either blown off the trail or mulched by the volume of cyclists that had already traversed the trails on this day and the days prior

not too long into our ride Cargo Mike grew tired of my pace and my massive form limiting his sight line and took the lead
I marveled at the precision to which Mike gracefully cleared each and every obstacle
in spots where I was forced to slow and slam into the tall logs or log piles Mike never broke pace
simply floating over anything and everything in his path
always scoring style points while never losing speed

log rides, log ramps, and larger fallen logs on the trail side offered entertainment for both Cargo Mike and myself
Mike was entertained by the obstacles while I was entertained by watching Mike clear things that are unclear-able for me
I was yearning for a helmet mount video camera

this was not a race... on race day Cargo Mike would serve up a healthy portion of dust
a healthy portion which I would have been forced to eat
but this was not race day
no... this was a friendly weekend ride
yet we hammered
I was forced to work harder on the hills to bridge the gap that Cargo Mike would create as he dipped and zipped between the trees
cornering faster than I can corner
descending faster than I can descent
and not only clearing obstacles faster than I can clear obstacles
but by clearing obstacles that I can not clear

as we rode I spoke to myself...
trust the tires
not so heavy on the brakes
I was expending way too much energy by having to accelerate out of the turns that I was braking so hard leading into

when we hit the Open Fields we enjoyed over spinning on the single track which was flanked by freshly mowed fields
our single gears were too small to concern ourselves with vigorous over spinning
there was no need to make up time
there was no one to drop in the chase
there was no wheel ahead of us to bridge the gap on
we were just riding
riding and enjoying going fast

as we approached the weather tower and the last quarter of the Open Field at Schaeffer things got a little nasty for me
I was arcing a turn... trying to listen to that mantra... trust the tires... not so heavy on the brakes
I was trusting the tires and my hands were open and off the brakes when everything went wrong
the front wheel started to slide out on me
then the front wheel began a high speed chatter
the front wheel was perpendicular to the trail but I was still going straight forward all the while still at pace
when the bike hit the grass I started to slide
by this time my body was twisted around my handlebars and I started to float
feeling a sensation of weightlessness I hit the ejector button

still floating and sliding I pushed the bicycle away from me and went into a tuck and did a dive roll
lacking the finesse of a gymnast I am certain it was not pretty
but as I started the roll I felt a confidence that this was not a serious crash
it felt as if the crash was nearly over and I was going to be back on the bike chasing Cargo Mike's wheel without much loss of time
a sense of relief ushered through my body as I felt that this was going to be a crash without casualty
then on one of the rolls I compressed my body upon the oversized 29er tube in my jersey pocket
it hit me hard
like a punch to the kidney

I moaned... I grunted... I shouted out to Cargo Mike to wait up
the pain, soreness, and tightness was immediate
I knew that the best thing to do would be to check the bike and check the body and start moving again

once riding I could pedal
my focus on the trail was primary
but the soreness to my back messed with my head
I was able to clear things and climb things with only a little added pain
but psychologically I was out of the game
I feared my front wheel sliding out
the tight turns between the trees on leaves had me a little skittish
I tried to overcome my fears
it no fun riding with this sort of hesitation
especially when chasing the wheel of a superior rider

we stopped and I let a little air out of the front tire to try and aid in both confidence and traction

we rode for a short while longer linking yellow, orange, to white
we moved briskly but I felt as if I had lost a great deal of the flow
we doubled back and repeated some trail but eventually found ourselves at the parking lot
through the parking lot and off onto the trail towards Blackhills Park for a little cool down

we loaded the car with gear and put the bikes on top of the car and headed back into the city

as we drove Cargo Mike and I chatted
our conversation drifted between quality and chatter and my incesent ranting
I need to apoligize to Mike for my need to vent... but I am sure he is used to it by now
my brain is a pressure cooker that needs to blow some steam from time to time
poor Cargo Mike... I have taken him on as my therapist, my riding instructor, and my mechanic

the timing worked out well
we were getting back into the city with ample time for me to drop of Cargo Mike and get home to my family well before dinner

with my sore back I invited the boys to hike the dog with me
the boys refused so I insisted
the short hike across the street merged with an chance meeting with some young friends of friends in an alley a few blocks away
Lord of the Flies style play ensued as it often does when young boys gather
when Shadows and Tall trees blended into the darkness of night I pulled the boys away from the action and headed home for dinner

still sore...

the afternoon ride was a bit of a last minute decision
initially I had intended to ride on Sunday
but the Saturday Window of Opportunity presented itself so I ceased it
it was a quick grabbing of bicycle and gear

swapped out seat posts and grabbed a bag full of gear
never did I think about pulling the gear filled seat pack off another bike so that I would have tools/pump/tube if I neeeded them
nor did I think enough to take my well worn Time pedals off the single and replace them with either the Time Pedals on the cyclocross bike or the double banger
no... I left out ready to ride bareback with some beater pedals that do less than a perfect job of holding onto the equally well worn Time cleats

this ride occurred with the hope that I could ride both Saturday and Sunday... life permitting
but... it looks like I may be riding the bench on injured reserves this Sunday instead

in the end the crash may have been a combination of a situtation of assumed risk and tire pressure

Tire Pressure and Seat Post Height are still riddles to me...

I think I was rocking a little too much pressure in the front

I think I need to brush my teeth, get dressed, walk the dog, and start my day



1 comment:

Jim said...

>>>lacking the finesse of a gymnast I am certain it was not pretty

Gwadz, if there was a Blog Understatement of the Year award, I'd totally nominate that. You deserve to win.