Some days you’re the bug

Jen and I got up early this morning again, and although the ground was wet the rain had stopped and so off we went. These early morning rides, I don’t know quite what to say about them.  We love them some days,  we hate them some days, but if two slightly dumpy middle-aged mothers are going to ride with the big boys, we need them.  We’d been up late last night (if you call 10:15 late, which you should, if you’re riding 40km before work) taking care of team business and trying to find two consecutive days to do our back-to-backs.  The rally has all these deadlines designed to make sure that you’re hitting benchmarks for training. You need to do a 50k by May 18th (done!) a 90+ by June 21st (yikes) but the hardest one is the back-to-backs.  By July 6th you have to have ridden two 90+ rides in two days.

Jen and I both travel for work, both have families, both have jobs, and we knew that when we agreed not just to do the rally again, but to be team leads, that this would be tricky, but last night was ridiculous. We finally had to book actual days off of work to make it happen, because neither of us could find TWO DAYS in a row where we were both in town and not committed to something else.  We were both a little daunted, and I don’t know about Jen, but I had a largely sleepless night, turning over things in my head, trying to make it all work. 5:30 came really early, but after a long night, if you know what I mean.

This morning I drank my body weight in coffee, and left. Jen lives on one side of the city, and me on the other, so usually she rides over to my house, we do a little hill training, and then I ride her home, then come back. That way we both cross the city and back. She gets a little alone time, and so do I, but we also get to hang out a bit – if you can call cursing your way up a hill “hanging out” and I guess we do now. We were cruising along this morning and decided to take some rather dorky selfies.  (Somewhere Samantha is screaming “Mum! Quit with the selfies. You’re a dork”, and to her I say “Yes.” We are dorks, and we embrace it. We’ll do as we like.) We stopped by the big inukshuk, and we stopped in the park on Lakeshore with the dinosaurs in it.

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This turned out to be a tactical error.  Those dinosaurs are fun to take a selfie with, but they’re on sand. We thought nothing of it, and traipsed across the sand, took our ridiculous selfie, and then got back on our bikes.  Sort of.  The sand had filled in our clips, the little cleats on the bottom of your riding shoes that attach you to the pedals. (Yeah, I know. It’s an incredibly stupid idea to attach yourself to a bike.  I have a few scars that prove it. It is super efficient though, except for the part where you’re occasionally crying in the dirt.) Jen and I both had trouble getting “clipped in” but we managed.  The trouble started later. The next time we wanted to “unclip” they wouldn’t come out. “I’m stuck!” cried Jen, and I would have been afraid for her, but I was too busy realizing that I was stuck too, and that we were both totally going to die.

A little panic and force and out they came, and we didn’t die after all, but we had to be really, really careful for the remainder of the ride.  We rode to Jen’s where we talked about cleaning out the clips, but in a future sort of way – and I drank (more) coffee and then rode home.  I had a couple of near misses, but every time I was able to get my foot out in time (I started doing it way before I needed my foot out) and I rode home thinking that if this had been a year ago, by now I would have been a bloodied mess of a cyclist, and I felt pretty proud of myself.

I rode to my house, and as I got close to the lane that runs to my back garden, I swung my heel out to unclip my right foot.  It didn’t come.  Now, rule number one with clips is that you only get hurt if you stop. That’s when you fall over, attached to the bike, and one of the things you learn if you ride in clips is that if you can’t unclip, you don’t stop. So, I didn’t.  I turned in the street, and rode down a ways, yanking on the clip the whole time. It eventually came free, and I circled back – rode to the bottom of the lane, stopped and put my right foot on the ground. Safe!  What a relief.  Still straddling the bike, I tried to swing my left heel out to unclip. Uh oh.  Never mind, I’m stopped already, so other than it taking a while, what’s the worst thing that can happen?   I waved at the old lady down the street who supervises everything, and then said hi to the letter carrier as she headed towards me. Then I swung my heel again, and again, and finally put a little oomph into it, if you know what I mean.

This sadly, didn’t free me, but did have the completely surprising side effect of unbalancing me entirely, and there wasn’t even time to counter,  and as I fell over left-ways – still attached to the bike, I realized that I’d discovered a whole other way to fall down. I’d literally swept myself off my own damn feet.

This was not lost on the letter carrier. Nor the lady down the street, who toddled her sweet 80+ year old self straight over to me, lying there (because I was still $%%$!ing attached to the bike) and said, in her thick Jamaican accent “I never saw nothing like that in my whole life! You were just standing there, and then you jus KNOCK YOUR OWN SELF DOWN.”

Thanks lady.  Got it.  So, there we have it. My 300+ days without a fall are over. I never even made it a year, and my mum’s idea of sponsoring my by the bruise? I have a super elegant one on my arse, just to add to the dignity of it all.  My name is Stephanie, and it’s been 0 days since my last accident.  Sigh.

Karmic Balancing gifts? Yeah. I think that would make me feel better too.   Remember – to get in on the action, you just donate to someone on our little family team –







and then send an email to me at with “Enter me” as the subject line, and give me your address, and whether or not you’d like to be in it for spinning gifts, or just knitting.  Cool?  Ok. Present time!

Dani, from KSC Designs has two beautiful gifts.  First, a circular needle case in the fabric of her choice will go to Carol D.

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and a set of gorgeous box bags (again, the lucky recipient chooses the fabric) will go to Pattye B. Thanks Dani!

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Liz R got super lucky – mostly because Maggie S is a little bit nuts, in a great way.  She saw this skein of 1350 yards of laceweight silk noil in the “miss-wound and hoplessly tangled” bin at her LYS, and turned it into this beautiful ball, only to realize that she’d spent enough time with it already, and had no urge to knit it.  Liz R – we hope you love it. Make something great.

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Next up, three lots of patterns from  Theresa at Woolly Wits.

Group 1: Plaid mitts, Bonnie Garter Tam, Gait’s Haire Cowl & Wrap will be sent off to Mary Beth M.

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Group 2: Double Dealing Scarf, Farwen, Fiber Fest Hat will be off to Anne G

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Group 3. All Squared Up, Panier Purse, Mag Mile Hat. Last, but not least, will go to Ann M.

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Next up, Alicia at Sweet Sheep Body Shoppe has a lovely gift.  Two bars of her handmade lotion bars will wing their way all the way to the UK, and go live with Bobbie S.  Bobbie will get to choose which two, and they look delicious.

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Finally, a beautiful skein of Alley Cat yarn from Wandering Cat Yarns, in a beautiful colour called Delphinium.  (Don’t you think that delphinium coloured socks would just be the bomb?)

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I hope that Jill S does, because this skein will be all hers.

Now, if you’ll all excuse me, I’m going to go take a hot bath with epsom salts in, and see what can be done about this arse. Thanks so much to everyone who’s contributing to its cause.