Larry's Blog Pages

August 14, 2009

Another Drive By

Friday, August 14th proved to be a day full of bad encounters. Thankfully, no injuries to report but one of these days I probably will not be so lucky.

As usual, I left the office for my lunch time workout. Being a Friday in the summer, it is supposed to be a half day but I had been busy at work so I decided to stay a little longer but extend my lunch. I am sure I deserved the extra time so I could enjoy a longer ride.

Having this planned out in advance, I brought my road bike to work instead of the cyclo-cross and remembered to bring all the gear needed for flats, hydration, emergencies, etc.

My route for the 50 to 60 km ride would take me along Britannia Road to Milton. Up Bell School Line hill and down 14th Line (under control!!). I then would head south on Tremaine to get back to Britannia, for the return ride to work.

Everything was going very well. The hill was as challenging as ever (especially with the heat) and I safely made it down the other side without incident. Even with the brakes on most of the decent, I still hit 70km/h after negotiating the bends. The cycling was smooth and I felt strong in my legs so i was really enjoying my lunch time cruise.

After stopping for the lights at Trafalgar, I continued on my way across a rougher section of Britannia. Here, you can not get to close to the edge with a roadie so I tried to stick as close to the white line as possible for a smoother ride. Luckily, I was alert during this portion of the trip as some ignorant driver decided to pull out and pass a dump truck just as I was cycling past in the opposite direction. I saw both vehicles coming my way and the metallic minivan was not too worried about me, that is for sure. I crunched up my shoulders to make me as small as possible and started to curse at the van as it flew by my left side. I held on for all I was worth because of the vacuum they created and fortunately pulled through without a scratch, although I was in a very animated state.

My next encounter was that day was on my late night run. After putting the kids to bed and then pulling up some soggy carpet in the basement, I needed a little stress buster. As late as 11:45pm may seem, I am very use to the night training so I headed out for an easy 15k run. I was clocking along in good fashion, very close to my ideal steady state. I would have been right on pace but I had a few red lights to obey.

As I neared the 7k marker, where the road tightens up, several cars were coming towards me so I got right to the edge and kept my eye closely on them. Training so often at this time of the night, I am aware that the younger yahoos have a tendency to swerve, trying to push me off the road. Well, this time it was something kind of new as the last car zoomed past.

It was fairly dark in the area so I could not see inside the car and the next thing I knew was I had been hit with something just off centre of my lower abdomen. Of course, my first reaction was to start swearing at the car and trying to get some info. It was far too dark and they were going too fast so I could not tell what make or model the vehicle was.

After giving up on this, I looked down to my mid-section to see the damage. No blood, no ripes, no mess. Thank goodness! I then checked out the ground and saw the weapon of choice of many local punks, an egg. It was broken now but did not leave anything on my shirt. Just a mini scare from a couple of idiot teens that I wish I could have reported.

I always worry about this when I run at night. I usually run on the edge of the road as the sidewalk adds several elements that make running less fun. Because of my proximaty to the road, I often fear an empty beer bottle will come out of the passenger window in my direction. Once, while cycling home at night in Etobicoke, I had a full carton of eggs tossed into my gut as I made a turn. Scared the crap out of me but the eggs did not break on that instance either.

I guess I can count my lucky stars that things were not more serious but it reminds me that I need to be a lot more careful and proactive. You just never know what may happen while training but if you stay out of the danger spots to begin with, your chaces of these encounters will be fewer in numbers. It looks like it is time for my to re-evaluate my routes to keep things safer.

Take care,

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