Monday, September 28, 2009

28 September 2009

I can't believe it's been 12 days since I last posted, but a lot has happened, so I'll try to get things caught up.
In my last post, I mentioned some drama on my last Tri-City ride; I'm not going to discuss this to discourage anyone from riding, but to encourage everyone to be careful. Anyway, near the end of our ride I was third in a group of six riders heading back to the cars, with lights and flashers on, and a pickup truck came into the MARKED bike lane and struck me on the left arm with his passenger-side mirror. It took me a quick minute to realize what had just happened (fortunately, I did not go down!) and I shouted for those in front of me to get a tag number. They sprinted to catch the guy because he didn't stop while I called police. About a half-mile up the road, they caught the guy and stopped him until the police could get there. No one was injured in all this, but the potential was there for this to be a bad situation. After he hit me and nearly hit the two riders in front of me, he completely crossed the bike lane and hit the curb. When being interviewed by the cop, the culprit admitted to having a few beers earlier in the day and cataract surgery in the days prior. He should not have been driving so late in the day (it was not dark yet, but got dark while we stood there), and told the cop he did not see us! I am 270 pounds, wearing a white jersey, with five others all with lights and flashers, and he did not see us! An incident report was filed, and a copy was mailed to me; I have attempted to contact the police to follow this up and my calls have not been returned. What else can I say?
Not one to be easily deterred, I would have gone right back the next week to ride, but went instead to Alabama to attend a training class for responding to WMD attacks. I don't give a rat's patootie what the liberal media says about WMDs not existing (they've all got brown eyes; guess why?!?); they do exist and are a real and present danger. Fortunately, there are people we may never meet dealing with issues we are happily ignorant of, all in the name of protecting the American people, and they deserve our gratitude. I had a blast (figuratively speaking) and learned so much. We learned how to identify several substances based on signs present and how to respond to them in lifesaving ways. We were taught to suit up in the best way to protect ourselves (and NOT adding to the body count!) and evacuate and decontaminate victims. It is a very satisfying feeling to know I can be part of the solution and not the problem.
The facility was located on a closed Army base that was first started in 1917. It's history includes years as a Basic Training Camp, home to the Women's Army Corps (WACs), and several years as an internment camp for prisoners taken in WWII. It was sad and haunting to see decay taking over and to think about all those brave people that passed through there in their course of defending our freedoms. Many of the older buildings were literally falling to the ground and being swallowed up by vegetation. But, in my minds eye, I saw all the soldiers from recent history marching around and training to face the enemy in Europe, Japan, Korea, and VietNam. We are a blessed nation because of the sacrifices of so many.
Another wonderful part of the week was the group of people I was privileged to train with. The facility was with the Department of Homeland Security so folks came from all over the country to attend training. We came from all of our corners and worked together, just as we would need to in a real situation, and made good things happen. Of course we had to laugh and play a little bit, so the night we finished we all went out to dinner and our great time together continued an evening longer.(Too busy eating to smile for the camera!)
In spite of having a great, mind-expanding week, I was ready to get home on Saturday afternoon. I missed my family and my Roubaix! I didn't ride during what was left of my weekend, but once I got the kids off to school this morning, I came home and jumped on my bike and rode like a beginner! I hadn't ridden for a week and felt fast as a brick! I left the house and rode the first 15 miles or so into the wind, but finally made that turn that put the wind behind me and ROLLED! Ended up doing 26+ miles at 16.2mph and was very happy with that. I have the Tour de Camden next month and the River Ramble in Orangeburg in November and want to do well. I don't have to be first, I just don't want to be last. Also, I am on track (with some work, of course) to do 5000 miles this year; this would be quite an accomplishment for me.
Like I said, it's been a busy 12 days and I don't see it slowing down anytime soon. I'll just keep hammering and try not to get dropped.
Be blessed, be safe.

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