How I Left My Mark On the Neighborhood Streets and Lived to Tell About It

Sometimes there are events in my life that are too ridiculous to believe. One or two of them in a lifetime may be believable, but it seems like, for whatever reason, I can barely get through a week without finding myself in some absurd predicaments or shenanigans.

It was about this time a couple years ago when I was training for my first (and last) triathlon. I can run, I can ride a bike, and I can swim (slowly), so I thought this would be a fun thing to try. I just hadn't counted on the fact that doing all three of these activities together, one after the other, would make my legs feel like jello and make me move in slow motion like my feet were stuck in concrete. 

One one particularly spectacular day in May, my training program called for an hour bike ride and a mile run. There is a trail near my neighborhood that I like to bike because it goes practically across the city.  I was going to bike for 1/2 an hour, turn around and go back home, park my bike, and then run a mile in my neighborhood. It was a great plan. In theory. The reality of it was a complete and utter disaster.

It started out well enough. I was cruising along on my bike with my extra padded seat, enjoying the sunshine, and I came to a portion of the trail which involves crossing a street. There is a stop sign on the trail and there are often cars passing by, so I always try to be very careful at that particular spot. I slowed way down and looked for cars. There was a bunch of road work going on and a crew of workers about 200 feet away near a cement truck. Because of the road work, the road was narrowed to one lane. I carefully looked around the trucks to make sure no cars were coming and then I went.

Only guess what? Little did I know because I was looking for cars and also BECAUSE IT WAS NOT AT ALL MARKED there was a 12x12 foot square of freshly laid cement right in my path. And I rode right, smack into it. My bike sank down about 2 feet and I flew off the front of my bike face first into the wet cement. I tried to pull myself out of the cement and it was making slurping, sucking sounds as I very unsuccessfully tried to gracefully extract myself from the wet, horrible, gray slop. The crew of 12 or so road workers were all just looking at me. "Hello!?!? Maybe you could stop leaning on your tools and wipe those obnoxious smirks off your faces and come HELP me?!?!” I actually didn't speak to them at all. I was too busy trying to get out of the cement and save my bike in the process. I was also saying swear words under my breath. Or maybe very loudly, I'm not sure. I just know I was MAD. Why didn't they mark the damn street????

A man came up behind me on the trail on his bike and asked "Are you okay??  If you hadn't been in front of me I would have done the exact same thing. That is not marked at all."  "Um.... I'm glad I could save you from the pain and humiliation and mess that I just incurred??"  Then one of the workers came over and also asked if I was okay. He told me that I needed to wash the cement off or it would burn my skin.  I replied "Well, you need to mark this better, I could not tell that there was cement here at all". He stared at me and blinked a few times.  Then he told me to come over to the truck where there was a hose where I had to hose my shoes, legs, and arms off as well as I could. He hosed off my bike while I called my husband to come pick me up.

Then another guy came over and introduced himself as the foreman. He asked if I was okay.  I replied "oh , yep! I just heard that rolling around in freshly poured cement is amazing for your pores and I wanted to give it a whirl."

Not really. I actually said "I'm fine, I'm just pissed off."  I told him that I did not see the cement and that it was not marked.  He said there should have been a cone there. There wasn't. Then he told me that a little girl did the same thing yesterday.  And that didn't make you solve your issue??  He tried to give me his phone number "in case there was anything I needed".  What I needed was to not try to drive my bike through freaking quick sand, but we can't always get what we want, can we?

I started walking my bike home because I felt like an absolute idiot standing by the street covered in hardening cement.  At this point I realized that my bike ride was not happening as I had planned, my schedule was going to be thrown off, my bike was covered in cement, my shoes were probably ruined, my clothes were definitely ruined, and I was MAD.  When I get very angry I get all Incredible Hulk-ish and start yelling and breaking things. Just kidding. Actually I cry.

I started crying and sloshing up the sidewalk pushing my bike with its chain hanging down because it had fallen off in the chaos.  I looked back and saw that the road crew had moved up the road and was quickly repairing my cement angel marks.  It was a minor consolation to me that I made a very definite body mark in their cement and that they had to fix it.

Needless to say, I didn't get my workout in that day. Even without doing hardly any exercise, my legs felt like jello, I felt like I was moving in slow motion and my feet were stuck in blocks of concrete. Oh wait. They actually were.