Saturday, October 24, 2009

A Fatal Fall Blow Out

Greetings Readers

You know I should be pissed. Well, maybe not just pissed, but fucking pissed off. Yet, I am not.

Every year, we come to the year that I despise. Well, perhaps despise is too strong of a word to use. I just dislike this part of the year. Why?

Those beautiful autumn leaves that were once hanging oh so beautifully in whatever tree(s) they bloomed from early this year are now a sight I hate to see. Those Gold, yellow, red and eventual brown and gray color that were hanging on the branches are now on Mother Earth. The wind, the rain and the snow dislodge them from the branches and they have fallen to the ground for their final resting place on Mother Earth.

It is at that moment that I hate those autumn leaves. Those leaves pile up in the street gutters as well as the sidewalks that do not have a private residence to rake up those leaves on the ground.

When there is a layer of leaves on the sidewalk or gutter I do not have a clue what those leaves may be hiding. I may ride that particular route every other day, but I still be careful of how fast I am riding through those leaves. How do I not know that county maintenance may have started work that day and dug up half the sidewalk or took out a portion of gutter to re-set concrete / asphalt so that portion of the gutter is brand new.

When the sun goes down I even become more careful since I do not want to ride through a dark part of the sidewalk that is littered in leaves since I imagine there will be a hole and I can actually see myself hitting that hole and going over the handlebars to kiss Mother Earth.

In addition to that hazard there are some leaves when they dry up they turned brown, dark gray and a dull orange. Not a problem, except when those leaves fall in area that was landscaped with rocks of those exact same colors. Riding at a regular speed through that area becomes somewhat of an adventure since I am trying to avoid riding over any rock; even though it may be a leaf that I have just avoided. What is the sad part is that I probably avoid every leaf and then Murphy’s Law happens; I actually ride over a rock. Fuck me.

That’s not it Readers, in some areas I ride I know there is debris – whether it be a smash can, a plastic bottle, wood, a partially destroyed hub cap, wire, or even a storm grate. I know where these items are so I know where to ride. Which means, I know there is something under the leaves in that particular area.

However, the other day I gambled in this particular area I ride in regularly. I saw the pile of leaves in an area that I knew that area was “clean” from anything the last time I rode my bike through. I slowed down a bit and that’s just a reflexive response I do when riding through leaves.

I had my Ipod and music blasting but I faintly heard something metallic hit my rim and felt the tire instantly go flat.

In a split second I knew the biking gods have extolled some vengeance for something I have done in the past year. There was no need to get mad, but I knew it was probably a long time coming that I had some sort of blow out like this. Now, if you Readers, faithful Readers, have read recently you will know that I had did something to my back bike brakes.

I was unable to come to a stop in time, but by the time I did the bike tube got dislodged from the inside of the bike tire. The bike tire partially came off also.

Fuck me. I was almost home to my humble abode. Far, but not far. With what I saw (and what you see in the picture) there was some serious repairs that needed to be done before I could start riding Tracey again. My thinking at that moment was to basically forego fixing the tire and just carry Tracey home. Why not. After all, if I can do the 24 hours of Boulder last year for a total of 50 miles in 24 hours I can walk a bike home in a mile.

The situation was not funny at the time, but thinking about it now it is sort of funny. I knew my “rules” I laid down and for me not following them this was the price for not following them.

Anyway Readers and fellow bike rider(s) in Denver, Colorado area - the leaves are now everywhere and hazards exist underneath them leaves.

In closing Readers, the leaves may hide something underneath them, but also be very, very careful when taking a corner on a bike. Those leaves are just as slippery and soon you could find yourself going horizontal and embracing Mother Earth. Again, I know from experience and I am passing along these “pearls of wisdom.”

Until the next time

Daryl Charley
The Fallen Athlete

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