Down For the Count … But Not Out of the Race

I thought about calling this blog post “Pity Party: Table for One” but after some processing and mental fortitude I realize that I don’t want to throw a pity party anymore. Sorry me. I take back my invitation. The Pity Party is cancelled.

But I think it’s important to detail the events that led up to this almost-pity party.

Yesterday was a day full of anxiety. It started off as benign nervous excitement as I got my financial aid stuff taken care of for my MFA program this Fall. Everything gets more real when money is involved. But from there it snowballed into a roaring panic.

I took my car in for a routine oil change as it was long overdue. The car repair shop has a mechanic do a video walk through of your car and texts the video to your phone (which is neat!). Fortunately for my life but unfortunately for my wallet, the mechanic told me that my breaks were almost bald and I’d need two new rotors. Yikes. So my formerly $69.95 oil change/tire rotation turned into a $515 car repair bill.

My anxiety told me that the world was going to end. I’d be broke. I’d be destitute. It was time to panic!

I needed to exercise out these demons so I went to the trail and went biking. I was suppose to do bike sprints today but I decided to do a cool 20 miles out and back and just listen to music. 90% of the ride was great! It wasn’t too humid or hot. The wind was very mild, and I had a good playlist going.

At the almost 18 mile mark, the world did almost crash down on me. I knew I had 2 miles left to go and I wanted to go hard for those last two. Just let ‘er fly. I built up some speed and when that happens most cyclists rock their pelvis side to side a little to add a little oomf and power behind their quads. I went to push down on my pedal and I heard a crunch, I heard bolts flying off, and then I caught the bike post right in the crotch (thank God I’m not a man).

I have pretty decent balance thanks to martial arts and cross country skiing. Likewise, it’s been drilled into my brain that if you’re about to fall you let yourself fall and either “tuck and roll” and transfer the energy into the roll OR just let your body go loose so you don’t break anything. Thankfully, I didn’t fall. But without the bike seat now attached to the bike, I caught the post where it hurts and then I slid onto the back tire and rode that baby about 20 feet before I could bail off the bike.

The actual seat cracked and the brackets that hold the seat to the post shot off. And I’m pretty sure my butt tore off some of that faux leather. RIP bike seat.

When I say “bail off” I mean I started running with the bike and then I let the bike roll forward out from beneath me while I kept running.

Once the world stopped doing the panic horror movie “shaky cam” thing, I took inventory of myself and determined that I wasn’t bleeding anywhere I could see and I didn’t have any broken bones.

However, my bike seat was toast and I still had two miles to get back to my car. Nobody was going to come in and save the day, so I picked up my seat, pulled up my shredded ‘big girl panties’ and walked my sore and probably bruised backside back to my car.

In those two miles, I jumped between “poor me — boo hoo” and “You son-of a &#@*% stupid bike. I hate you. I hate this. I hate hate hate everything!” I wanted to lean into the negative. I wanted to shout at the world and pound my fists on something. I wanted to throw a tantrum. And I did … for just a little bit.

But in those two miles, I had plenty of time to calm down and settle into the exhausting realization of “Yes, this did happen. Yes. It sucks. But it could’ve been way worse.” I could’ve broken bones. I could’ve flew head over heels off the handlebars and landed on my back or my neck or my helmet-covered head. I could’ve torn something in my delicate female anatomy … Hell … I could’ve torn my legs up with the pedals or in the wheel spokes or in the bike chain. So all in all, I was pretty fortunate to get out of that scrape with only minor scratches and bruises.

I stopped at the Kwik Trip to change out of my clothes and into a fresh pair (which I always do after a hard ride) only to find that the shorts I was wearing along with my bike chamois were torn to shreds. I’m more annoyed about the bike chamois loss because those babies can run from $40-$90 and the shorts were really comfortable.

Then I realized that I ripped through two pairs of shorts. Fellow bikers out there know that you usually go commando beneath your bike shorts (I wear a second pair over my bike shorts because I’m self-conscious about how I look in bike shorts). Both shorts were torn to shreds.

Well…time to call up my local bike shop.

I was walking along the rail trail which parallels the highway for close to 40 minutes with my bare and scratched butt hanging out for everyone to see! Cool (…she says sarcastically). At least my t-shirt covered some of it.

While driving home, I had to accept that my bike might be out of commission for a little while. I e-mailed my local bike shop (LBS) to schedule an appointment to look at (and hopefully try out) new saddles but the bike business is booming thanks to COVID and the bike shop is low on inventory right now.

The literal and figurative pain in the butt about shopping for saddles is that every person’s body is different which is why there’s like 120 different kinds of saddles to choose from through my LBS’s online store. I don’t know their return policy on saddles thanks to the pandemic but if I get a saddle and find out that chafes or gives me saddle sores, I don’t want to get stuck with a $50-$145 purchase that I can’t return.

I went to the women’s cycling subreddit for suggestions and one user kindly used the analogy that asking for saddle recommendations is like asking for someone’s favorite beer or potato chip brand. I’m going to get many different answers and none of those seats might work well with my body type.

Oh well. I’m alive to tell the tale. I’m alive to wade through the countless options and possibly make the wrong choice.

I have plenty of other things I can do to train for the Korte. While my bike is in limbo, I plan to do a lot more hiking because that’s fun for me. I’ll be back on the rail trails soon, and there’s always the stationary bike at the gym if I feel the need to log some miles towards my year-long biking goal. (…we hates the bikes at the gym, precious…)

Some days are just bad days. My husband did share this nugget of perspective with me: “At least we’re having these things happen to us when we actually have some extra money. We’re not completely broke and at the point where this one setback will ruin us.” Folks…my husband is so smart.

All in all, the pity party has been cancelled. And it’s not going to be re-scheduled.

Today’s plan: Ice and rest the ol’ bruises, scratches, and aches.

Tomorrow’s plan: A long hike on the Ice Age trails

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