Sunday, May 10, 2009

Sometimes finishing is a victory in itself

Some days the victory is just finishing at all, and yesterday was one of those days! I was riding in a local organized/supported bike ride called the Armadillo Hill Country Classic, with a couple friends. First we had problems getting started, ended up crossing the start line about 10 minutes late. No big deal. That was followed by confusion over the turning back point for a couple riders that were going on a shorter route. Once all that was sorted out and the rest of the group had split off, my friend Barry and I headed off for the last 55 miles of our 80 mile bike route. We turned onto a middle-of-nowhere country road and went a few miles, when it started occurring to us that we were not seeing any signs or any other bike riders. After we crossed a few cattle guards, we really were questioning if we were on the right road. We had maps, but there were no signs for what road we were on!

Around that time, as our minds were still on trying to figure out if we were on the right road; we came to a low-water crossing with just an inch or two of water. Barry went thru it with no problem, and I came thru next. Or at least started to...

The next thing I knew, I was lying on my back in a lot of pain, with my bike laying a few feet away. Apparently the water was stagnant enough, and there was such little traffic on that road, that a nice film of algae had formed on the road under the water. I must have hit that just right, and my bike slid sideways so fast I didn't even know it happened until I hit the ground. We surveyed the damage to both myself and my bike, and it didn't appear to be anything major damaged on either. I had a good strawberry and bruise on my hip, but the elbow had taken the worst of it. I thought for a while it might be broke, but it was just badly scraped and bruised.

The good news was that as we were dealing with the aftermath, a number of other riders came by; so at least we knew we were on the right road. And a very nice elderly lady stopped her car and gave me a couple of Tylenol. So, 15 minute or so after the wreck, we were ready to roll. We figured we would get to the next rest stop and I could get the scrapes cleaned up and looked at, then see where we went from there.

In the few miles it took us to get to the rest stop, two mechanical difficulties surfaced. The first was on my bike, as I started having difficulty with the gear shifting on the rear wheel. Nothing major, but it was definitely annoying. The more serious one was actually with Barry's bike. He had started going real slow... really slow... and we finally figured out his rear tire was half flat! We put a little air in, and finally made it to the rest stop. At the rest stop, I got cleaned up and bandaged, and Barry put some air in his tire. We also got some food and drink, and then we were ready to go again.

Didn't take long before Barry's tire was going flat again, of course. This time we were coming up on another rest stop, and there was no question that we were changing out the tube. Bike support pulled up about the same time we did, so they helped us change out the tube. That was around 50 miles into the ride, and thankfully was the last difficulty we had to deal with (other than the annoying shifting issue I was having).

So, we finally finished the 80 miles and got back for some good food and some needed rest. Certainly not a time or pace that we were going to brag about, but sometimes it is a victory just to finish, and this was one of those times.

One final word... everyone that participates in these events owes a HUGE thank you to all the people that volunteer and help out! It's really amazing when you think about all those people spending hours making PB&J sandwiches, cutting up pickles, driving around in bike support vehicles, etc. Make sure and tell them how much they're appreciated :)

Please see this website to read more about the HFK program and to make donations:
RMI Hope For Kidz Website Link


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