Archive for November, 2010

Counting Scars

Scar and needleIt looks like I may have acquired 6 scars from the spill I took last month on the trails in Des Moines. I usually proudly point out scars and dish the details, both interesting and not, pertaining to the event or circumstances resulting in the flaw. This outward posturing is in direct contradiction to my internal dialogue. Inside, I go through each story with careful attention to the failures and imperfections that led to the permanently marred flesh – which of course is a reminder of the failures…and around again I go.

Today, after I added the 6 new marks to my list of my visible defects on the skin, I decided it was time to let go. Instead of replaying the mistakes leading to disfigurement, I will look at these as evidence. This will remind me that I was in it. I tried. It’s not over. I’m still in the game and these aren’t even setbacks. I get these because I try not to give myself the opportunity to opt out or worse, go halfway. Yes, I am an adult woman who still has skinned elbows and knees but I am not on the sidelines. I am ok with that.

  • 6 from the bike fall in October (user failure)
  • 1 little one from the fall before that (too fast on the curve, leaned too far with the pedal in a 6 o’clock position)
  • 1 from a gravel mishap
  • 1 from my bike gear (looks like the large cog)
  • 3 from a cat (passes for a run in with Freddie Krueger)
  • 1 from an ice mishap
  • 2 from removed moles
  • 2 from piercings
  • 1 from a cyst
  • 2 from burns
  • 30+ from 2 surgeries resulting from a ski accident
  • 3 from a hurdling accident
  • 1 from a barbed wire fence
  • 1 from a chicken pock

Total: 55+ visible scars

November 23, 2010 at 4:49 pm Leave a comment

11 Reasons Why I Ride a Bike

I was sick all weekend. What a drag. It was a beautiful weekend. I would have loved to take Ira out for some fall miles. Instead of doing that, I ate dry toast, drank 7-Up and considered why life on my bike is so great. This is what I came up with.

Road Rash October 2010

  1. It’s hard to take myself so seriously when I’m on a bike. How can I take myself seriously when road rash and bug guts are at the top of the list when the conversations begin with, “An interesting thing happened on my ride today.”
  2. Freedom. I felt free like I was flying when I was on my yellow Schwinn with a banana seat in 1978 riding ramps in the parking lot of a church. In 1983 on my 12 speed I had the freedom of independence, never reliant on anyone else. Today, almost 30 years later, I feel free when I ride as fast as I can for as long as I can because during that ride, nothing matters but the ride.
  3. Playground rules. When I was a kid, a small posse would roll up and we would slowly circle the newcomers. We gave the rides a once over then asked questions about the bikes. Has that changed at all? Nope. As a matter of fact, when remembering people’s names, it’s easier to associate the person with the style or particulars of his bike. “You know Tony. He’s the one with the long-tail Surly.”
  4. Physical connection. When I ride my bike, the sounds and smells around me connect me to the place, good or bad, it’s connection that is important for perspective.
  5. Legs. Yes, this is a vanity reason. I’m not too proud. Have you seen Victoria Pendleton? Seriously.

    Victoria Pendleton

  6. Camaraderie. Of course on any ride, there is camaraderie amongst the group. This camaraderie extends beyond my friends or my team but to the other people out there. Rarely do I meet a person on the trail or road that doesn’t say hello or give that nod of recognition.
  7. Chasing the elusive goal. Better, faster, stronger. During every ride, I think about this, particularly on hills. Today I will be better than yesterday.
  8. Continuity. Nothing has changed. I have changed bikes over the years, but it is really the same now as it was when I was flying over ramps on the yellow Schwinn. The only difference I can think of in my 37 years is the introduction of the bike helmet to my gear. A good move, considering my occasional riskier riding.

    Rampar Rapide 10 Speed

    1983 Me with my Rampar Rapide 10 Speed

  9. Strength of body, strength of mind. It sounds a little corny when I read that, but it’s true. When I feel physically strong and able, my head is on board. I make better decisions and I am sharp.
  10. A good excuse to be outside. Fresh air and sunshine will always put me in a better mood. I prefer to ride my bike outside than hop on a stationary bike or trainer. The latter two are a means to an end, but they really only help me to be better, faster, stronger when I am riding outside.
  11. To feel something. It could be exhilaration, pain, exhaustion, fear or energized. It is something. It is always connected to the ride. It is never about other “stuff”. Just the ride.

Today I feel much better. Today, I’m going to ride my bike twice.

November 8, 2010 at 12:25 pm Leave a comment


Tia Martinson

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