Lessons Learned

I have an unfortunate history crashing my bike when the rear quick release comes out of the dropouts. I’ve learned that I absolutely, positively, need to double-check the QR anytime I’ve taken off the rear wheel. It only took me several embarrassing crashes while crossing major thoroughfares (Argent Road, A Street, Court Street) to figure out this important bike safety tip. Today, though, I learned another lesson: apparently the little bugger works its way loose. It isn’t enough to check it only after re-installing the rear wheel.

It makes sense: I’m thinking of how much forward force is on the rear hub anytime I’m standing while pedaling. 175 pound rider, 23 pound bicycle pushing the rear wheel into the ground, while the pedals pull the chain = forward thrust of both the bicycle and its rear hub. Hey look – I just scienced it!

Something that possibly delayed my learning this lesson is that it’s spring. I’m trying to stay in the saddle more. I read a few years ago that staying in the saddle in the early season equals stronger legs & better climbing in the race season. Yeah, sure, whatevah. It’s been tough, because I like popping out of the saddle early on a climb to pick up momentum. But I’ve been sitting a lot more than I normally would.

Today, I took a different route in to work. I wanted to test a possible route for a newbie bike commuter who lives west of the airport. I was on Road 44, stopped at the stop sign, waiting to turn onto Sylvester. I had to come to a full and complete stop because there was a Sheriff’s deputy approaching. He was far enough away that I had room to pull out in front of him, which I did.

BAM! I fell over.

BTW, I think it is impossible for me to have one of these low-speed crashes without saying “shit shit shit” as I’m falling. Interesting aside: years ago, I discovered that it is highly likely that my dying words will be “shit” and “fuck” over and over again. Apparently I am going to plunge into the afterlife in a whirl of obscenities.

I hopped right back up, scurried back to the side of the road, and commenced putting my rear wheel back in place. The Sheriff’s deputy stopped and asked if I was okay. I am thankful I didn’t recognize him, nor he me, but I’m sure he’ll find out who it was. As usual, the worst wound was to my pride. It grows back pretty quickly, though.

So, new rule: once a week, I check the rear QR.

I have big bloody spot on my knee, which leads to another thing I learned today. I knew pretty quickly after getting back onto the bike that I was leaking. When I got to work, I discovered a quarter-sized deep scrape on my left knee. I raided the first aid cabinet. I found a pad with antiseptic & topical pain reliever on it. Hello, friend! As I was rubbing the bloody spot, it stung like hell. Isopropyl alcohol was listed as an inactive ingredient. Jerks. I was not expecting topical pain reliever to cause pain.

I got the knee cleaned up and bandaged. I’d left the house about 30 minutes late, so I arrived at work at 8:00. I was eating my breakfast sandwich while tending to my knee. And here’s the new thing I discovered: if you’re using a product with benzocaine in it, wash your hands thoroughly before eating something with those hands.

I’ve spent a fair amount of today walking around – I’ve gotten up from my desk a few times per hour – and the knee feels fine. That’s important, because this weekend’s run is a 10-mile run at endurance pace. And this crazy woman is planning to run home from work. It’ll be my first long run in weeks. I’m looking forward to it.

Here’s hoping I don’t randomly fall over while running, too.


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