Monday, June 8, 2009

A Verbal Spanking: That's What Friends Are For

I debated whether or not to post about my bike ride on Saturday for two big reasons:

One, I would be letting the world know how stupid I was, and Two, That I can be a complete ass at times.

However, for the sake of educating those around me to (hopefully ) prevent them from repeating my ass-like mistakes, I decided to go ahead and post...

Keith and I had planned to meet about 4-5 km away from the beginning of Highwood Pass on Saturday. We had talked about it throughout the week, and Keith had warned me of the shite weather that was coming. I kept warning him about how stubborn I was.

Sure enough, Friday night, the weather was so unbelievably crappy -- snow on my front lawn and freezing cold, that we decided to call off the ride in terms of safety. Highwood Pass tops out over 7200 ft, which is higher than Turtle Mountain right across the street from my house. I could very well see the amount of snow that was "up top."

A quick aside for non-mountain living folk -- when we talk about the weather we invariably talk about how much it has "snowed up top." Here's a conversation for example, "The weather looks like it might change." "Yeah! Did you see how much it snowed up top?" LOL!!!

Saturday morning rolls around and it was frigging cold outside. I was determined not to waste my hilly ride on my trainer, but to get out there and brave the elements.

Here is where my stupidity began to peek through...

I geared up -- read: double layers of everything except any kind of beanie under my helmet -- and headed out at 3:00pm.

About 35 minutes into the ride, it began to snow. The sky was black and dark gray -- it looked like it was 10:30pm, not the middle of the afternoon! The snow wasn't too bad, but the roads were drenched and full of puddles. I sort of took it easy going downhill, because I wasn't too sure about my skinny little tri bike tires on the wet surface.

Very soon thereafter, the snow turned to hail -- terrible hail. The kind that is accompanied by blasting wind. Sandblasting the hail against my cheeks, my face. Holy crap, it was so painful, I put my head down to look directly down and would only sneak a peak once in a while to see the road ahead.

Then it rained -- pummeling, cold rain. All the while, I kept asking myself, "Should I turn around? Is my core cold? Naw! I'm doing fine!" All the snow/rain/hail completely soaked my lower legs and feet. I never realized how thoroughly wet your feet can get in those cycling shoes during inclement weather.

Well, the saga went on and on. I could have (should have) turned around many many times, but I wanted to get in my full 3 hours outside. At one point, I was riding through a white out! On my frigging bike.

When I finally turned around, the weather had really deteriorated. On the way out, there were the occasional patches of dry pavement. On the way back, it was just a shitstorm all the way home.

There was a period of about 500m where I heard a funny noise from my tires and realized that it was because I was riding through a hail/slush/ice mix that had accumulated on the highway. Holy crap! I couldn't stop, I kept on pedaling.

When I finally got home, I was already planning ahead to change and go out for a 30 min run -- well that changed as soon as I started taking off my wet and filthy clothes. My feet were frozen solid. Then, when they started to warm up, they hurt so bad I wanted to cry. You know that feeling? Oh man, I sat on our heated bathroom floor and kept squeezing my feet trying to grimace my way through the pain.

I tried to talk to Mike and my voice was about 2 octaves lower than normal. It sounded like I was hungover from one heck of a party!

I missed my run and had a hot bath instead.

I was a dumbass on Saturday!

My good friend, Keith, let me have it in a very appropriate email he sent me the next day. What if a car had lost control and hit me because of the crap conditions? No race is held during conditions like that, so why ride outside? He laid a verbal smackdown and I deserved every single word of it.

Thanks for being a true friend, Keith!

I promise not to be a dumbass anymore! ;)


Susi said...

i sent you an email with my verbal smackdown after keith told me you went out. :) it likely wasn't as harsh as keiths, but i second his sentiment. REMEMBER WE ONLY GIVE YOU SHITE BECAUSE WE LOVE YOU AND DON'T WANT YOU DOING STUPID THINGS!!!

now. lets all bow our heads down and pray to mother nature to please please please give us some nice weather!


Jenna said...

OK. I gave you way too much credit because I "assumed" that given the bad weather (!!!) and given your experience there last year (!!!) or the one SUSi and I had (!!!) with hail and cold rain that sounds similar to yours BUT WE TURNED AROUND ...MY GAWD. Please bend over so I can skip the verbal smack down and kick your ass!!!! JULIE - you want to get to IMC HEALTHY and INJURY FREE - how does this help you achieve that goal?

Be brave. Be hardcore. BUT - balance it all with the thought of health in mind.... IF i did not love you so much, I wouldn't come down so hard.

NOW, here is some sympathy - I could feel your cold feet from here and that is not a good feeling at all!! Please take care!

Leslie said...

Live and learn hey! I know what its like when you get it stuck in your head to do something! We are all like its good when you have people around you to let you know when you are doing something stupid.

Last year I tried to go biking in a torrential down pour. You couldn't even see the shoulders of the road it was coming down so hard! Chad sat me down and yelled at me...I was getting ready to get out of the truck and bike! It happens to the best of us!

If we weren't so darn focused we wouldn't be triathletes!

Runner Leana said...

Oh Julie, I can't believe you rode outside! I'm glad you made it back safely though. And I'm with Susi. Let's hope that Mother Nature decides to send the nice weather back our way!

Charlie Browne said...

Ok, i am start out in iffy weather but when she turns bad even I get the heck off the thinks you win the dumbass (as you put it) award!! Said with love of course!

Kelly B. said...

Julie...nothing I can say that has not been said...
thanks to God it turned out okay...jeepers.

Shannon Wicks said...

Live and learn...I almost got ran over last summer in Nova Scotia riding in shitty weather. Scared the shit out of me and now I won't ride in the slightest of shittiest conditions.

Anytime I get tempted to ride in crappy weather I remind myself this:

1.> Is it really worth it to take a chance? All it takes is one bad decision and you won't be riding ever again.

2.> Suck it up and go hit the trainer!

Julie said...

Thanks for giving me shit, all! LOL!!! I totally deserve it!!!!!!

KK said...

Wow. That is all I can say, wow. Actually, this too: I am so glad you are okay!!!!!!!!!!!!! You a really hard core. (I would have definitely bagged the whole workout.) But holy guacamole i was freezing just reading that. i can only imagine. Glad you are safe! And even glader you didn't do that run, yowzers!

Cath said...

Well, it's that crucial balance thing of not wanting to give in (whether it be weather, tiredness or whatever), but at the same time (and most importantly of course) looking after your long term health - not always easy, but listen to yourself and your sensible voice in your head. Lesson learned - and time to move on as they say.....

That aside, it was FAB to see you today - even if I was a bit spaced out when you first arrived! I jumped on my bike later and had a great ride....hope Gord got your bike sorted. Really looking forward to cheering you on on Sunday - it'll be strange to be on the sidelines for a change, but hey I get to cheer you all the way then - yeha!


Amy said...

I give you credit for being so determined. For real, wow. I would have stayed under the covers drinking hot coca.

Glad you got home in one piece and I sooooo know that freezing foot/stinging feeling. Not fun!

Dano said...


Hey there Julie!! I'm not creeping anymore!

Stop being crazy weather riding girl! Lol. inspired me. I get to the Jaw in two weeks and then start with the team...and I'm gonna blog it all! Seems like it would be fun.

Anyway....these fine folks sum it all up....sometimes it just ain't worth pilots talk...better to be on the ground wishing you were flying....then flying and wishing you were on the ground......


Julie said...

Hey Dano!!!! I am so excited to read about your adventures...

Very good pilot's advice too. :) :)