Monday, December 21, 2009


…and that’s a good thing! We’re headed back toward more sunlight and more riding time. December 21st was a long day in many ways but not when counting sunlight hours. Tomorrow the sun will graciously rise slightly earlier and set slightly later marking the turn toward the longest day of the year, June 21st.

Since the winter storm blanketed our area this past Friday, I’ve discovered another benefit to cycling. The outstanding cardiovascular fitness that comes with riding also prepares you for… are your ready for it?… unlimited shoveling of snow! I’m pretty sure that I kept my max heart rate at no more than 150 bps during the long hours of shoveling that I’ve done since Saturday. Well, o.k., so it wasn’t long hours as in 10 or more hours but it was long enough for me – probably 3 hours anyway.

We started our shoveling extravaganza on Saturday when we couldn’t get back up the mountain to our house. The melting snow created a fine slush mixture that kept the tires from getting a grip even though 4 wheel drive was engaged. So, as we’ve done in the past, my “better half” and I shoveled out two paths for the truck to travel. We’d shovel awhile then make another run at it in the truck followed by shoveling further up the mountain when we drifted off the road. Ah, the joys of a beautiful white snowfall.

Today, I further worked on my slide, lift, toss technique while shoveling off a friend’s drive so he can get in tomorrow when he arrives for the holidays. Unfortunately, about as much snow would stick to the shovel as I would move so I was tossing a heavy weight on the end of a stick for much of the time. Still, that heart rate stayed down. Now, if my mid and lower back, my arms, and my upper back were in as good a condition as my legs and heart, I’d be in outstanding shape! Maybe two or three more snowstorms this year will get me in peak condition for the next riding season, which starts in only 9 more days! I’m somewhat surprised that I haven’t read about this form of off-season workout in any of the cycling mags that I read and I read a lot of them!

Unfortunately, with melting snow followed by temperatures dropping into the low teens comes ice of the very slippery nature. On the way to work this morning, we topped the gap on Waynesville Mountain and came upon a pick-up truck that had turned over. The youngish woman driving was still in the vehicle but couldn’t get out. After assisting another passerby in stopping oncoming traffic through the gap, we assisted the woman out of her truck through the high side window, which is normally the passenger window. Luckily for her, she was unscathed in the incident and did not appear to have any notable injuries or any altered cognition that might be the result of a head injury. In fact, her powers of observation were quite intact. As she sat upon the top of her overturned vehicle surveying the scene, she quickly stated, “Golly gosh, oh no, geez beans! My beer is all over the highway.” Sure enough, when she turned over, the contents in the rear of her pickup had disembarked. What looked to be two cases of UNOPENED beer was strewn all along the highway. Uh, seeing as I try to keep this “family sensitive”, I will point out she didn’t really say “Golly gosh, oh no, geez beans!” Her euphemism was somewhat stronger and led me to consider that her father may have been a sailor.

I suppose that nature had to find a way to balance itself today. Since the young woman didn’t get hurt in the wreck, Mother Nature must have decided to reach out and trip someone else up. Dagnabit – it had to be my “better half”. She was in the parking lot at her office attempting to strike a deal with a local man to scrape the parking lot when she fell and proved once again that icy pavement is harder than the human head. After a wonderfully short visit to the local ER and a CAT Scan, it was determined that she is o.k., not concussed, and will have one heck of a headache for a couple of days. She is home resting comfortably having had some of Dr. Zeke’s homemade soup that is guaranteed to fix what ails ye. I’m hoping I can talk her out of going to work tomorrow.  Oh yeah, I didn’t really say “dagnabit” and I know for a fact that my father was a sailor.

Until later,


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