Monday, April 26, 2010

The End...For Now

I hate it when vacations run out. They always end sooner than you're ready no matter how much you psyche yourself up for it. I knew the end was coming but I sort of lucked out this time...I was supposed to go to work last night but for the first time in about a week, the train arrived almost on-time and they called an extra crew about an hour before my vacation officially ended. I woke up in a panic sometime after midnight thinking I'd already missed a call but a quick check with CMC let me go back to sleep. Sometimes you're the windshield...
It means a couple of added days home but the downside income for it this time.

Oh well, it might take a bit longer to recover anyway. I overachieved a little this weekend, which is a good thing but not without cost. It all started Friday...

The Good Doctor and I planned to go to Shindagin for a little single-tracking so he swung by after work and picked me up. On the way we decided to invite another pal of ours to try out his new mountain ride in the woods. Dave hasn't pounded the trails quite as much as Doc and I but everybody has to dive in if they want to play and he was game to have a go at it. It all looked pretty good on paper.
We set out on the uphill side and quickly got into some tight stuff with roots, logs and creeks; the usual for Shindagin. I crashed within minutes trying to get out of my pedals again. I'll figure those things out eventually...if I live long enough. Dave had been sort of half-sick all week so he quickly started trying to cough his esophagus out in between the dry heaves while Doc operated on the bent derailleur he acquired on a log. We're really having some fun though.
I managed to crash four or five more times, with one (luckily unobserved) beauty that jammed my right bar-end nearly through my ribcage and felt like it collapsed a lung. Dave went down in a tangle on a stone fence crossing (which I did turn around in time to see) and banged up every anatomical part he has except his left big toe. It helped him forget about the coughing though.
But the epic failure went to Doc...He kept complaining that he had a squeak somewhere in the driveline every time he pedaled but couldn't figure out what was bent. He'd been down hard leaping a stump-jump and thrown himself flat off a stony creek bank already but that's not even noteworthy with us. He kept going for a ways further and I finally caught up with him after untangling myself from a pine tree. A close examination of his spiffy aluminum frame found it snapped off right where the seat post meets the bottom bracket, probably as a result of one or two of those hard landings. The squeak was the lower end of his seat tube grinding itself to shavings on the remains of the weld.
The Doc legend lives on! That guy is strong enough to destroy most bicycling devices with only Clif Bars and Muscle Milk for fuel...chains, tires, spokes, pedals, chain rings and now a frame have all succumbed under his assault. He should start another career testing bike parts. He'd have the R&D people earning their money the hard way trying to engineer stuff he couldn't break. So far, they've failed miserably.

With that kind of damage and the terrain we were in, riding most gingerly was nigh-on impossible so he mostly walked the thing out of the woods to avoid bending the frame irreparably out of true or worse, breaking it completely in half. A good welder should be able to fix it up but I'm afraid he's done with dirt for a while.
We eventually staggered out of the woods to the truck just after dark and since we were all showing assorted minor injuries and equipment damage of varying degrees, we deemed the outing a success.

The next day started with Ibuprofen and coffee before a long drive up around the St. Lawrence for Chris's sister's birthday. We made the trip and spent a few hours hanging around chatting but decided we'd head for home a little early to take the scenic route before it got dark. Turns out, that was the best thing we could have done. We happened on a small state park somewhere above Alex. Bay and just pulled in to have a look around.

The place was almost deserted (still off-season you know) and the only sound was the water. We walked a couple of miles of shoreline, poked under rocks and walked hand-in-hand like kids. It was one of the most relaxing things I've done in months. The sun set thought the clouds somewhere up in Canada and I think I could have stayed to watch it come back up. It's probably just another busy, noisy campground in the summer but was a little bit of quiet and calm. For once...I wasn't in a hurry. Isn't that what a vacation is supposed to be?

The rain settled in on Sunday and I spent the day gathering up my scattered stuff to load the grip, planning for a wee-hours call Monday morning and just mostly being still. It's been a good week and I hate to see it end but with luck, it'll be the pattern for more to follow. I've got a couple more to take in July plus the Tour de Cure and the Warrior Dash...but that's another story.

No comments: