Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Slide, DiMaggio, Slide!

like the moment when the brakes lock
and you slide towards the big truck
you stretch the frozen moments with your fear
and you'll never hear their voices
and you'll never see their faces
you have no recourse to the law anymore

It's bound to happen, sooner or later. A close call. Somebody doesn't see you, or thinks you're going slower than you really are and they're sure they can just zip out in front no problemo. Yeah. Not so much.

Because werk has just been crazy busy these last few weeks, I ended up staying a little late tonight to catch up on a few things that were overdue. Don't worry, I've still got plenty more stuff to keep me busy. It turned out to be a beautiful afternoon that would have been perfect for taking the River Road, but since I was already late I decided to take the more direct Minnehaha Ave route. I had the Jamis out and was giving the Brooks a try. After 23 miles on the Brooks all I can say is, "You mean it gets better?" It's already as comfy as my Specialized Body Geometry saddle on the Schwinn.

Anyway. I was trucking down Minnehaha in the bike lane and had the Jamis cranked up into the big ring. There was a weird cross wind that felt like it was really a tailwind even though it was pushing me to the side. I started clicking up through the rear cogs and soon was maxxed out on gearing. There's no computer on this bike, so I don't know how fast I was going. I'll go with fast.

That's when I saw her. A woman sitting in a blue SUV. She was waiting to cross Minnehaha, coming toward me. There were two other cars behind her, so I figured she had been waiting for a bit. As I approached the intersection she made her move. Pulled out right in front of me. I was half expecting it, so my reaction time was phenomenal. I hit the brakes, hard. The rear tire locked up and went into a skid. Even though I was skidding, I weirdly felt in total control. It was like one of those moments of great focus when I instinctively knew everything was going to be OK. I let up on the rear brake and leaned harder on the front. The bike snapped back in line and stopped. At about the same time she noticed me and hit her brakes. So even if I hadn't been able to stop in time she wouldn't have hit me. But it was close, on both our parts. I gave her a hearty "Why don't you watch where the f^&* you're going?" and she glared at me through the windshield. Like it was my problem for slowing her down. She looked just like a Bratz doll. With a pierced eyebrow. I don't know, maybe they make a Bratz doll with a piercing. After seeing the baby Bratz with leather and lingerie (twins Phoebe (Sugar) and Roxxie (Spice)) I wouldn't put anything past the soulless bastards at MGA Entertainment.

Since I'd come to a complete stop and she was obviously more Important than me, she continued through the intersection leaving me in the middle of the street until she passed. Once the truck was gone I noticed there was a woman standing on the corner. We talked for a moment.

She: I'm glad that ended the way it did.

Me: Me too.

She: You had good reflexes.

Me: Thanks. I guess it pays to keep the brakes tuned up.

She: Be careful out there.

Me: Thanks, I will.

I rode off.

Had I not been going so fast, it probably wouldn't have even been close. So, note to self: Keep the speed demon routine on the River Road.

Date: April 24
Mileage: 23
Ride type: Commute
April mileage: 334
Year to date mileage: 1038

Date: April 25
Mileage: 23
Ride type: Commute
April mileage: 357
Year to date mileage: 1061


Tim said...

Sounds like an infuriating experience but encouraging, in a way. It's gotta feel good to know your experience paid off in fast reaction and skillful control of your bike. Nice job.

Sparky said...

Try not to get creamed, eh! nice riding dude. Very glad you avoided the chrome implants.

Jim said...

I was on my way home tonight, on a bike that I'm a little nervous about the brakes. I'm hauling @ss down a hill (hey, I can't resist as it was a long winter of keeping it slow). I had a bad feeling as I approached the intersection. Luckily, for whatever reason, I anticipated the drivers bad move and unhauled @ss.

I don't think most drivers have any idea of the speed you can build up on a bike. And I'm not even all that fast.

Pete said...

I'm not that fast either. Get those brakes checked, Jimbo.