It’s been a while. I’ve been riding, not as much as I would like to, but some is better than none. I keep thinking I need to write it all down, I’ve had some rides where there wasn’t much to report and I’ve had some rides where I think you would be quite entertained.
On two separate rides I’ve seen full size bucks that didn’t make it across the street; the strange thing is they seem to come to rest in a spot that keeps them from endangering another person and keeping themselves from getting run over again. One was in the “suicide lane” and the other was in the bike lane. Strange.
Since I have a million and one things I am supposed to be doing right now, I’ll see if I can keep this brief, but for those of you, who actually know me, yeah, wish me luck!
So, I got up at 4:40 Saturday morning to start on my list of a million things to do. I started off very productive, I was going to log into work and work about an hour and then head out for my ride so I could be back by 9:30. A piece of furniture was being delivered and last weekend when they delivered it, it had some damage and I wasn’t home so this time Mark wanted me home to ok the fix. I figured if I rode out at 6:30 I could be back by 9:30 if I did a long ride, but I got involved in my work and the next thing I knew it was 8. I jumped in the shower and went to feed the neighbors cat.
The delivery guys showed up and brought in the piece. It looked good to me. I didn’t realize how long they would be setting it up and I should have (hind sight is always 20-20) took off at this point as it was about 10 and probably not too hot, but I got involved in vacuuming and laundry and then I started getting hungry and tired, had I left I would have been golden, but nope.
I was picking things up and then they left, Mark still has to adjust it , so I couldn’t move all the stuff that is in the living room back into the other room. We’re hungry so we fix our lunch around 12. I’d say I don’t know why I was so hungry, but I have a feeling it was due to my very creative but tiny dinner from the night before, but that’s a story for another time. I ate and ate and ate, then I wanted desert, so I made cookies and then I ate way too many of those. I eat when I’m tired and avoiding chores (makes sense right, sure.)
So with my belly bomb and it now being about 1: 30 or 2, I figure I’d better start cleaning again as I have company coming and a messy unorganized home. I can’t ride; we have to take the dog to the vet at 3:30. The glass on the new furniture is all smudged and oily looking so I attempt every single cleaning tip on the web to clean the glass. I don’t know about you, but I can never get the annoying smudges off the mirrors or glass. I tried my good glass cleaner, nope, I thought, well it seems kind of greasy or oily, so I tried 409, nope. I got onto Google. Try straight vinegar, ok, this I’ve done on mirrors before to some success, nope. Shaving Cream? I’m desperate, I give it a go (folks, do not try this one, it just makes a bigger mess). Good old hot water, soap and a sponge, ah…. Much better, I just need to check the results in different lighting to make sure the streaks just aren’t hiding. Who knew?
Ok, so now it’s time to take Nanook to the vet. That was a long appointment, we got home just before 5:00 with a much lighter wallet and 3 different medications, poor guy, I knew he hadn’t been feeling good. So as not to leave you hanging, he has an infection and needed antibiotics and his left eardrum is ruptured, so he gets drops and some pain medication. My poor guy.
So we get home and I’m lying on the couch, I am SO tired, why did I get up at 4:40? Oh yeah, to get stuff done. Well, at least I accomplished a little, but my cookie and other food item belly bomb is telling me, I should get some movement in. Mark and I are chatting, it’s getting close to 6, I know the sun is going down earlier; I just haven’t been paying attention to how early. We both do bad math and say I should be good to go.
Now, had I rolled out the door at 6, I would have been ok, I rolled out at 6:22, ah, tummy not too comfortable, but I can do this, I will just ride to Costco and back, 22 miles about. I head out, I come to one intersection and I pass a police car parked off the side of the road, ok. I go a little ways more and pass another police car that just parked and the officer is getting out of the vehicle (he didn’t pull all the way over to the curb either, just an observation). I think, hmm that’s interesting. I get to the crossing, I go a little ways and another police officer drives by. Wow, well, it is Saturday night and I got to thinking, we rarely leave the house on Saturday night, so maybe this is normal! As I’m heading toward Costco I notice the absence of any other cyclists, I usually see at least one no matter what time I ride. I also notice it seems to be getting dark, maybe it’s just my sunglasses, should I cut my ride short and not go down to Costco and turn around, nah, I have time, plus I have a bunch of cookie calories to try and counteract. I go down the Costco hill; it does seem to be getting dark…
As I come up the Costco hill I decide to shave off a little extra loop I do to add miles. I’m booking it down Empire Ranch. I blow through a stop sign, but not as fast as I usually do because there are cars there, I slow enough to go through it with the car on my side, as I’m rolling through I notice the police car on the other side, dang it, I hope he has better things to do than give me a ticket for running a stop sign, but I definitely would have no excuse, except, “I’m sorry officer, I live on the other side of the river and it’s getting dark and I don’t have lights with me, so I’m going as fast as I can.” Think he would have bought it?
I get to my turn to head home where I usually go straight and then come back to add mileage but; I cut off this other addition and start heading home. Yeah, it’s getting dark. (Side note, I usually have a flasher and a headlight, but I’ve been riding in the daytime so I took the headlight off and my flasher flew off on another ride when I hit a pot hole and I haven’t replaced it. Maybe I will add that to my list of things to do today.) I’m coming up to the street that would take me to my brother-in-law’s house, hmmm, should I stop at his house and call Mark to get me, or keep riding. I get to the intersection and there is my brother-in-law at the light, so I wave as I pass by (the cookie belly bomb is pressing me on, burn those calories). I think to myself, he’s thinking, um, it’s getting dark, are you crazy? I’ll have to ask him what he was thinking, or maybe I just thought it was darker than it was. I’m pedaling as fast as I can, but I need to be faster. How I wish I had my headlight and a flasher. I hope my few reflectors are reflecting. It’s more like twilight; I take off my glasses so I can see a little easier.
Most of the routes I ride take me by family, so I always have a rescue point. I have the keys to a few family members’ homes just in case. Do I have my keys with me today, no, I thought of it as soon as I pulled into the street, but I thought, I’ve yet to need them…
So I am back to the crossing, I play a mental game with myself every time I hit this hill. I try not to let my speed go less than 9 mph. Now I busted out the hill coming up which I usually don’t do, so I was hoping my legs had the juice to go back up the hill. My legs are tired and I just want to get home and my speedometer drops to below 9 mph for a second, no, I have to go faster, pedal! I get to the top of the crossing. Ok, there is no denying it, it’s dark, there is some light in the sky, but it’s dark.
I am going across the top of the crossing and I usually go anywhere from 25 -30 mph down the crossing, but since for all intensive purposes I can’t see what lies before me, I need to go slower, which doesn’t help me get home any faster. I see the one cyclist coming up the crossing (I see him because like a smart man, he has a very bright headlight). He’s yelling at me and is making a fist with his thumb pointing out and pumping his arm. Of course I’m thinking he’s yelling, you idiot, don’t you know it’s dark and you’re making cyclists look stupid? But of course we pass only for a second and he’s obviously trying to point something out to me. I think I hear something like “ear.” I focus ahead, “oh shnikey!” There is a HUGE buck running the trail, oh, he’s saying “deer, deer!” Thanks dude!
How the heck am I going to get home?! I start mentally willing the deer to cross the street but not to get hit, cross, but don’t get hit, cross but don’t get hit. There is no way I’m going anywhere near him, at first I thought it was small until I got a little but not much closer and he turned his head to check out traffic, oh my gosh, he was HUGE and his antlers were quite the rack. Cross, cross!!! He starts to cross, phew, ok, don’t get hit, don’t get hit. He makes it across the 5 or 6 lanes and starts running full speed down the other side. Now I start willing him, “stay over there, stay over there, don’t cross back over, don’t cross back over.” Of course just this very minute writing this I realize I’m lucky nothing was on the trail to make me crash because I was totally focused on the shadow of the buck running. He then disappears down the cliff toward the river. Thank goodness, we both made it down unscathed! I pull into the gas station under a light. I call Mark, where are you, did you know it’s dark? Yeah, we misjudged that.
I am a mile from Grandma’s and its all neighborhood streets, but of course I don’t have her key and she can’t let me in. He is just pulling onto our street and has some groceries. I ask if he wants to come to Grandma’s house, he paused and I realized, he doesn’t have the cookie bomb in his tummy, he’s probably hungry for dinner, and he is. He asks if he can meet me there, his dinner will take 20 minutes to fix (he’s thinking I have my key so I can visit her, had I had her key, I would have done this.). I tell him I’ll just come home as I can ride through a neighborhood and there won’t be traffic and that if it’s too dark or scary, I will call him to come get me.
I don’t think the street lights are on the timers for it to get dark so early. Man is it dark. I keep thinking to myself, see this is why “you” don’t judge people. I usually get upset when I see bicycle riders in the dark without lights (especially without reflective gear) and even riding on the wrong side of the street (but I still get annoyed with this.) Now I’m thinking, maybe they got stuck like I did. They don’t have a choice, they have to get home. Me, I had a choice to be rescued, but I chose not to (I blame the cookies, wait, I ate the cookies…). I’m thinking there’s no way I can’t get hit by a car because the car will hit the plank sticking out of my eye before it ever gets to me!
I get to the last street before my neighborhood and hop on the sidewalk, I’m being stupid riding in the dark, but I’m not going to be that stupid and ride in the bike lane. I head up the hill to my house, dang it’s dark, spooky dark, the trees are casting shadows. I pull into my driveway at 7:58. Phew, made it. Mark meets me at the door. I tell him to thank the Lord for getting me home safely (I’ve already done this a few times). He asks concerned, did you almost get hit by a car? Surprisingly, no. I said no, that’s why I said thank the Lord for getting me home. So, thank you Lord, I will definitely try not to do that again, if it gets dark and I don’t have lights, I will call for a ride.
Moral of the story: Don’t ride unprepared and don’t eat a bunch of cookies, they make you do crazy things! J A cookie a day keeps the crazy away!