Sunday, February 22, 2009

A Public Service Announcement

Post crash helmet safety

So you’ve had a bit of a crash? It’s time to check out the old brain bucket for any incidental damage. It may be that you don’t think your head even touched the ground, especially if you’ve cleverly employed the “out-stretched limb” technique of face-hitting-the-ground (FHTG) prevention. Of course we all know there are dangers inherent in employing the out stretched limb, particularly arms, to prevent FHTG, however these dangers are usually rewarded with the very nice NBN (not broken neck), LOC (lack of concussion), TAIMS (teeth all in mouth still) and NBDW (no brain damage whatsoever). However just because you’ve avoided FHTG doesn’t mean your head hasn’t hit the ground during your balletic dismount. Check for tell-tale signs.

Scuffs, for example on the front near the visor.

Or to the rear. If either are visible then your head has hit the ground and if both are visible then your head has obviously rolled along the ground!

It is CRUCIAL that you check for further damage. Are there any dents in the exterior the helment?

If yes then your head has probably hit something both hard and pointy. Time to check for cracks, especially in the area of any dents. They may be obvious like so…..

Or more subtle like this one.

It maybe that you don’t find any cracks, but have both scuffs and dents, and if you also have some broken bones then you MUST THROW AWAY your helmet. If you do have cracks then you MUST THROW AWAY your helmet. It is important this is done safely.

First you’ll need some safety approved footwear. I recommend steel capped boots.

Since you are obviously accident prone (hence the broken helmet) I also recommend knee pads, a full face helmet and the all important ugly safety glasses. With these in place you are ready for the log splitter.

The most reliable technique to employ is to have your log splitter hit the helmet with the flat end, this will reduce the chance of nasty ricochets. Ensure you sight your target carefully.

DO NOT stare at other things in the vicinity.

Keep a nice stable stance with legs akimbo.

And destroy that helmet. Repeat as necessary.

You should end up with a safely destroyed and unusable pile of polystyrene and plastic and a fantastic feeling of satisfaction and responsibility.

Place the contents in the appropriate rubbish receptacle.

Congratulate yourself on a job well done.

Now go out and spend plenty of money on a replacement helmet. Remember all those scuffs, dents and cracks would have been on your head without you dearly departed helmet!

Monday, February 16, 2009

I can walk places?!!

As anyone who read my last post knows this whole healing thing has been taking a wee bit of a toll. I’ve gotten to the point where enough’s enough and decided to try and sort my mental state out (that’s why I’m sitting at the home computer at 10.45am on a Monday in my pjs). I’ve booked myself some extra sleep ins and my lovely husband and I treated ourselves to the first relaxing, do-anything-we-want weekend in forever.

I won’t blather on about Saturday, except to note we went to Scorpio books and I picked up a New Zealand poetry anthology. *wonders how many of my 3 readers I’m about to lose when I start going on about poetry instead of mountain bikes?*

I’ve been writing poetry on and off since I was 7 and won a poetry contest run by the local radio station in Cromwell. It has been a very long time since I really sat down and wrote poetry, about 2 years I guess. Reading these beautiful, strange, funny and clever poems in my new book has woken stuff up in me and I want to write again. So I’m warning you, this blog will have some poems in it, which is weird for me. I’ve never really shown them to anyone.

Back to the matter at hand. So yesterday hubby and I decided it was time to get out and enjoy the country again. I was amazed to discover that I could get almost the same amount of enjoyment from walking in the bush as riding my bike. We headed out for a very easy walk, as I’m still fighting off a cold, and ended up at Glentui. It was amazing and a bit freaky when we got out of the car. The whole area was humming with bees and wasps, it was crazy. I’m allergic to bees and while in small numbers they don’t worry me at all, when there’s lots around I feel a bit freaked. So this mountain of buzzing was a bit worrying. We had a picnic lunch in the sun and then headed into the bush. The wasps were everywhere, thousands and thousands of them, but all very passive and out of it on nectar.

The forest was gorgeous, however I felt sad there weren’t more birds around. There were a huge amount of rat and stoat traps so I guess that explains it. The whole walk I only saw a couple of bellbirds, 3 fantails and a couple of goldfinches, all birds I can see in my backyard! Damn predators. My lovely husband was a paragon of patience as I was stopping every few minutes to look at a tree, take a photo of lichen, or at the top of wee hills get my breath back. So what should have been an easy one hour walk was actually a very relaxed 2 hour walk, yay! My walk in the bush left me wanting more, so hopefully we can try something a bit bigger next weekend with a few more people (I promise to not to stop every 5 minutes).

And (nervously), here’s that poem…

Glentui Wasps

Forest thrums, whirrs

Electric song, tinnitus hum,

Black and gold army feasts.

Sooty growth


Like drunks they stumble

across the path

Their fate at my feet.

Lichen flower

Fungus petals

Dead beauty

worm waste,

Anger dulled, blasé

they fly through me.

Where is the bird song in this throbbing machine?

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Longing

My dear readers (all 3 of you), I am feeling dispirited. I have been to the hospital this morning to see how my bones are healing and while they are healing extremely well it will be 6 MORE WEEKS before I can ride a bike outside. This is terrible news.
Riding on a wind trainer when it is hot is awful and to be honest I really can’t be bothered with it. I get little or no enjoyment from it, more a grim sense of satisfaction that I’ve done my duty. I miss the pleasure of being out in the countryside, up on the hills, in the fresh air and sunshine. I miss hanging out with my mates talking for hours about how great our bikes are, what a great ride that was, I can’t believe I finally nailed that section. I miss shuttling, flowing down the hill, being really scared and excited, pushing my boundaries. I miss cleaning my bike after a long dusty ride. I miss whizzing through trees and doing little hucks. I miss riding with my lovely husband and pushing hard to keep up. I miss the solitude that isn’t lonely cause you’re with your bike and that’s all you need. I miss adrenaline and endorphins. I miss being muddy and dusty and sweaty. I miss the speed.
I miss the intangibles as well. I long to be on my bikes, I feel like I’m missing out. Like I’m that kid that doesn’t get picked to play and watches from the sidelines while everyone else is laughing and having fun. Every day its sunny I know people are out riding their bikes and I’m not. I’ve endured a winter of riding on the road, in the rain, against the wind, in the dark. This summer was meant to be my reward.
I’ve been trying to get my head around 6 more weeks of feeling like this and I just can’t. It Is Not Possible To NOT Ride For Six More Weeks. Unfortunately I don’t know what to do to overcome this. More Calcium tablets (I have been a bit slack in taking them)? More Panadol and more exercises? More wind trainer rides (I don’t know if I can). Right now I’d just like cake, lots and lots of cake. Fortunately I don’t have any cake (or cake like treats) available and I can’t bake to save my life so at least I shouldn’t end up the size of a whale. Well at least not a Blue Whale. Maybe a Minke Whale, or a Narwhal. That’d be cool, kind of like the unicorn of the sea….
Oops I digress. I’ve just checked my calendar and if the doc’s say I can ride on the 23rd of March I’ve still got a good 3 weeks to train for the Mt Somers race. For that to be a realistic goal I really need to get motivated about my bloody trainer again. So how do I do this? I’ve tried TV and I’ve tried training DVD’s. I’ve got a fan set up, but when it’s above 30 it doesn’t seem to help. Gah!
Anyway, thank you all for indulging my self-piteous whine (oh, my favourite shoe shop has also closed so that’s made me really grumpy also). I promise that it will be the last one for a while. I’m off to look at the biscuits in the tearoom.