Sunday, April 17, 2011

Giant vs. GMC or Avian Turf Wars

Today was my attempt at my longest ride ever, I am trying to build the miles up on the bike so when I get to my first Olympic distance race the bike doesn't destroy me simply because I've not conditioned well enough. I had two goals - one, just put in the distance, and two get to a big "hill" - put that in quotes, because seriously in south Florida, the only hills around are bridges.

The Earth Destroyer
I love bike lanes, it gives you a place to ride, it's well marked on the street. So today I'm cruising down the road in the bike lane, and suddenly a guy who's about three feet in front of me decides to take a right turn. I slammed on the brakes -- but really I was going somewhere around 20 mph and he apparently had forgotten that he just passed me so I slammed right into the side of him. It was jarring, but I've got to say overall it was a pretty positive experience. I swear, no less than 8 people stopped to make sure I was alright. There were people yelling at the guy in the truck, who did stop and was pretty apologetic. There were people politely explaining what the point of the bike lane was to him, there was even a guy telling me about how he'd been run over the week before, although he said that one was mostly his fault. So I picked my bike up, brushed myself off, thanked the people who were still around and went on my way. So thanks to everyone who stopped by to make sure I was alright, even to the people in the cars who just yelled out in my defense.

Gangster Birds
A little later down the road a bird tried to land on my back, not just once, but twice. This is quite an odd experience - and this is the second time in this same stretch of road that I've run into this bird in a year. So here's the scenario. I'm cruising down the road, slower than cars, but not too slow of a pace either, tucked down onto the aerobars. Then there's the feeling of someone grabbing my shoulder, followed by what could best described as someone yelling "rah!" The first time I thought it was my wife trying to be funny. Of course that's ridiculous, she'd have to sneak up on me in her minivan without me noticing, reach from the driver's seat through the passenger window without running me over. That whole thought takes a third of a second, and then it happens again. At this point, both times, I can see a freaking bird shadow over mine.

So today this happens about a mile from where I'd just picked myself up off the ground. Plus I knew what it was right away. So there I am swerving around in the bike lane trying not to have any new holes created in my head, all the while thinking "ugh, not again, this birds going to freak me out and into the sand." Thankfully, I'm pretty sure this bird's territory is only about a half a mile long, so it was over as soon as it started.

The Lesson
So there we have it, 5 miles into what I was hoping to be a 30 mile ride I've been run over and a bird has attacked me for, what I can only assume is because I was in his hood. I seriously thought, "is this life telling me to turn around?" I rationalized if another car hits me, I'll turn around. In all seriousness, I thought, this is the way things go, and while this ride seemed to be going downhill in a hurry - there's always that big uphill in the middle :) So I just kept going.

The rest of the ride went well, the hill wasn't too much to be impressed with, but it is the largest hill that I know of in about a 30 mile radius, so it was worth it.


Amy said...

You were hit by a car! Aack! That doesn't sound good at all. Although we were apparently in the minority of bikers who weren't hit by cars on the Key Saturday. There were 3 accidents that I heard about.

On the serious side I'm glad you were not hit.

Now, seriously what is up with that bird?

Jeremy said...

Amy - That bird is nuts! The first time it happened I was wearing a grey shirt, so I rationalized that perhaps it was confused and thought it was going to be the road and was surprised when it was squishy and had arms.

But this time I was wearing a bright - perhaps even shiny - biking shirt. So now I'm pretty sure the bird is just crazy and dive bombs passer's by.