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TriBikes and Elementary Schools Do Not Mix

Posted Oct 13 2009 10:05pm
It is true, tri-bikes and elementary schools do not mix.  Okay.  Maybe I should clarify.  Tri-bikes and the before school traffic at the local elementary school do not mix.

I started my morning nauseas... I'm pretty sure it was from too much cake last night.  Yummy cake from Davis Bakery... our favorite bakery.  Yellow cake with strawberry preserves between the layers and strawberry cream cheese icing.  It was so good I had 2 pieces instead of just 1.  And I felt it in the morning, let me tell you.  But no vomiting, so I decided I had to go and ride my bike. 

It was dark when I left the house.  So dark that when I passed the Publix and saw that there was a police officer exiting his car, I hoped that it was dark enough that he couldn't see me... or that if he could see me he wouldn't care to take the time to pull me over and give me a ticket for riding my bike in the dark without any bike lights.  That kind of dark.  As I sped away (or tried to) at 16 mph, I was thrilled when he either didn't see me or ignored me.

I got through the traffic and on to my lovely closed road circuit.  I had it all to myself... probably because it wasn't even 6:30 am and it was dark.  As I rode along, I heard rustling and then a sound that if it was in a cartoon would have meant that some small animal was scolding me.  I looked over and there was a Racoon Momma with her Babies on the grassy side of the road, and in fact, Momma was the one chattering.

Despite feeling like throwing up, I was riding really well.  Guess that's what happens when you eat all your calories for the day.  I was supposed to keep at race pace - so between 16 mph and 17 mph (the idea is that while I can go faster I need to stay here because for me if I do the distance faster right now I have no legs left at all for the run) - and I was having a hard time not hitting 18 mph at times.  Luckily for me (I say with irony) a head wind came up, so then I was able to average 16.4 mph for the entire ride.  I would laugh when the wind would die down and I would look down and see 17.9, 18.7, etc. It was a much better ride than last Sunday... of course there were a lot fewer hills too. Hmm.

While it was still dark but slowly getting lighter a deer appeared.  A beautiful young deer that was pretty much as tall as I am when I'm on my bike and in aero (which I was).  I love seeing the deer run out there, they scare me too.  It's as though they're drunk drivers because I really have no idea what they're going to do next. I really don't want to be killed, riding my bike alone at dusk, by a deer who decides to dart out in front of me.  And this deer was CRAy-ZEE.  It ran across the road, down the median of the road, then back across, the side of the road, then back in front of me, and then finally back to the grassy side where it ran circles around the lake and then jumped the fence.  Let's just say I slowed down a little during this episode because I didn't want to end up as road kill.

Later, I saw two deer running and frolicking on the other side of the fence.  They had their side of the fence and I have mine.  It was all good... and they were beautiful.

Other cyclists started appearing (the sun had risen) and the first few sets of them almost jumped when they saw me.  I guess they thought they were so early they'd have the closed road to themselves... or I'm just that scary.  HAHA!

What does this have to do with elementary schools?  

Oh, yes.  I finished my last loop and only had about 2 miles left in order to finish the 35 miler, so I headed back home.  At one point, I thought should I just brave going by the elementary school or should I go the back way so I avoid the elementary school?  It was close to work time and the back way would be longer than the 35 miler and I didn't want to be late for work... so I went past the elementary school.

Seeing the traffic jam from the parents trying to turn in from every side and the parents trying to escape the school parking lot, I (at least) got onto the side walk.  I probably would have been killed if I hadn't been on the sidewalk, quite frankly.  As I approached the entrance, I unclipped.  I slowed but realized I might not have to get off the bike if I slowed just enough.  I waited for my turn, just like you would if you were in traffic.  But these parents were not paying attention to anything other than getting into that parking lot.  They were taking risks with precious cargo in their assorted variety of mini-vans and SUVs that I, frankly, would not if I had my children in the car.  This should have told me to get off the dang bike.  But, I'm a little stubborn.  I was at the point that the bike was almost completely still but I was still clipped in on the left side.  It was my turn.  I started to take it.

Either the driver of the lovely white Grand Caravan minivan didn't see me in my hot pink tri-top and on my bright red tri-bike, or she just didn't give a darn that I was starting to cross the road, and she stepped on the gas and went.  Luckily for me, I have a strong sense of self preservation and laid my bike down on the edge of the sidewalk.  I was going so slowly that it really didn't matter injury wise.  I have a slightly skinned knee and some minor scrapes ( can you call it road rash if it happened on a sidewalk?) on my left leg (cuz it was still clipped in when I laid the bike down). 

It's a good thing I was in a good mood from the bike ride before this because all I did was pick up my bike, walk it across the opening to the school, and get back on it and ride away.  At this point, I was able to walk the bike across the street because every other parent in their cars saw me lay my bike and body down on that sidewalk and no one was moving.  Yup. Talk about embarrassing.

The irony is that as I laid the bike down, I saw my friend's car.  She was taking her daughter to school.  I emailed her later and told her I was the cyclist.  She said that she saw me and not knowing it was me thought I was looking rather professional on my bike but that I was taking my life into my own hands because elementary school drop off is plain crazy.  When I crashed she saw it was me and tried to get out of the car but was told she had to keep going because she was blocking traffic.  Good thing my body wasn't what was blocking traffic!

But I've learned my lesson.  Go around next time because tri-bikes and elementary schools do not mix!

There may be a small sabbatical from my writing over the next few days as we're going to Mr. Darcy's parents for the weekend followed by my work trip to Arizona to teach a CLE.  If I get a chance to write I will, especially since my next post will be my 200th post!  (I thought about doing a 200 item post and then realized that because I am loquacious by nature that it wasn't such a great idea.)  So, I'm not sure what I will do... but I'm sure it will unveil itself to me... probably while I'm writing it.  But not to worry the writing sabbatical does not equal a training sabbatical. 

A 12 mile run scheduled for Sunday (Thanks to Tall Mom on the Run for the encouraging Hi Five from her Blog!) and then whatever Coach has in store for me for the 1st part of next week will somehow get done in Arizona!

Happy Weekend!
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