Saturday, November 05, 2011

A cautionary tale about doing stupid things

Today I did something really stupid: I tried to ride seven miles on my bike after having not ridden at all, in any shape, form, or fashion, since May. My friend, Mary Ellen, and I were able to do our first ride in May because we'd trained for months and months before, and still it was hard. And we thought we were going to be able to ride with NO training?

We were quickly disabused of whatever notions of miraculous "muscle memory" and "it's just like riding a bike" nonsense. I nearly fell straight on my head while we were doing an easy ride around the parking lot to warm up. I had a very bad feeling after that, worrying that we were being stupid, but we pushed on anyway. I told myself that it was just stupid fear and that we'd enjoy ourselves once we pushed through it.

And then we were out on the course and things just got worse and worse. There was a steep downhill bit covered in debris with tight switchback turns that we had to walk down with our bikes. There was a steep uphill bit once we hit the bike path where my chain derailed. Fixed the bike, got back on, carried on riding. As we approached the next uphill bit, I heard Mary Ellen cry out behind me so I stopped to look back just in time to watch her fall with her full weight on her wrist. Game over.

We walked with our bikes two miles back to our cars then I drove her to the Urgent Care where they took x-rays and determined that she has a distal fracture of her wrist and will need pins surgically implanted so that things can heal properly.

The moral of this story? Don't go "all or nothing" with your training and most definitely do not take riding your bike for seven miles at a patch lightly. We didn't give this event the respect it warranted and now Mary Ellen will have to undergo surgery before we can try riding bikes in the gym again. Lesson most painfully learned.

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