Tossing and Tortured 'Till Dawn

I come back to you now, at the turn of the tide.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Update: I quit bike racing.

Don't worry, I un-quit. But I had to let it all go, just for a day or two.

After last weekend's crappiness, I took Monday off, then proceeded to ride about 4 hours on Tuesday and Wednesday. I got it done, but it was just no-fun, going through the motions, garbage-time. When spinning beside the river in the sun feels like suck, you know you need the day off! So, when the little group started hammering on Thursday, I just let 'em go and kept riding. Fuck this, I thought, I quit. I never planned to hang it up, really, but sometimes you have to let it all just -- go.

This weekend, there's racing going on in Enumclaw -- last year's edition was one of the first USCF races I did, as I recall. I'd already thought about giving it a miss, and the events of last weekend sealed the deal. Instead, I hooked up with some folks from the bike forum that I geek out on sometimes to ride around the east side of Seattle. The rain even held off for us, which is a good thing, because riding in wet jeans would have sucked.

Yeah, I was pretty out of my element, and when I got to the meeting point, I realized my shorts and helmet were still in my gear bag from the race last week. At least I had my shoes! Whatever, I thought, this is just going to be a casual deal anyway. So I rolled off, in a jersey and rolled up jeans, and half a dozen guys I'd never met before. None of 'em were racers, and somehow, that was just fine. A couple had cameras, too. It looked like this:

The key element here isn't how much of a fred I look like -- though I might even beat Kerry today -- but the fact that I'm smiling. Actually, I am in pretty much every pic from this ride.

The other funny thing was the Broadmark, that is, Haagen-Dazs, er, Hagens-Berman guys I ran into on the way to Cougar mountain. What was their not-at-Enumclaw excuse? But, somehow from across the road they both recognized Yours Truly, and shouted at me for my lack of a helmet. It was good-natured, and I told them they'd have to chase me up Cougar and catch me. But, really, what's the helmet obsession among Americans? Okay okay, helmets are great, they protect your head, and modern ones are light and ventilated enough that they really aren't a pain to wear. I do, nearly all of the time. But everybody seems like they are everybody's generic mother on it. It's like the whole CLICK IT - OR TICKET! campaign.

Yessir, we have the freedom to carry assault rifles around, but, woe befall he who rides a bicycle without a styrofoam hat!


  • At 9:12 AM , Blogger stokediam said...

    If you think what's in your head isn't worth protecting, then maybe it isn't. But crashes happen at dumb and unpredictable times. I went down last October, riding alone, on an oily patch and slid my head--my helmet--10 feet across the pavement. Ask Wes or Neil if they think wearing a helmet is woeful after Longbranch.

  • At 12:00 PM , Blogger josh said...

    you look emo....

  • At 12:10 PM , Blogger Argentius said...

    Thanks, mom! :) Yeah, like I said, I wear the thing essentially everywhere. Maybe some people would've bailed on the ride, having forgotten their lid, though...

    My point is that we are SELECTIVELY obsessed with safety. For instance, I strongly believe that not allowing passenger vehicles over 4,000 lbs (or so) on public roads would save a lot more lives than cyclists wearing helmets...

  • At 12:58 PM , Blogger stokediam said...

    Wearing a helmet is a commonsense issue, not just a law and a rule. This is safety you can choose; it doesn't have to be legislated. There's a lot of things that could save more lives than bike helmets, but this is a case where you can be proactive and save your own head without waiting for an act of Congress to protect it.

  • At 3:49 PM , Blogger K-Man said...

    don't want t brains spattered on road!

    good to take some time off.

  • At 10:46 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Sweet car behind you in that pic. I bet the guy who owns it must be totally awesome-o.


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