Friday, October 07, 2005

A True Rebel

My leg is still not right, but I guess that's to be expected. Normal recovery time is no less than two weeks, according to every medical source I can find, for a grade 2 quad strain. Since I'm still in the midst of week two, it's no suprise that my leg is still a little sore and stiff.

Today I decided to hit the bike again as part of my active recovery plan. I said to myself, "no more than 20 minutes, and stay in the neighborhood." Because I planned to stay very close to home within the relatively enclosed series of streets near my apartment, I didn't wear my helmet.

I ALWAYS wear a helmet when I ride.

Today, though, I didn't. I left the house wearing only my trusty Fassa Bortolo cap. A cold front had just come in, and the weather became breezy and cool---a nice change from the last gasps of Summer that have been keeping temperatures high around here for a couple of weeks. The combination of the cool weather and the even cooler feeling of riding without a skull bucket instantly changed my mind about the ride. 20 minutes? Ha!!

I left my safe little neighborhood and headed toward Seneca Park, my usual warm-up spot and a great place to gawk at all the athletic lady runners who never fail to show up every day. On the way I ran into a Barbasol guy testing out his new pair of Power Cranks™. I've never seen such a desperate look of pain in someone's eyes before I saw him---those cranks really are a hell of a workout, apparently. We rode together slowly for a while and chatted about his new toys and about the cool weather. Before long, he turned for home and I continued on toward the park, feeling better with every passing minute.

Those passing minutes started adding up, and before long I had been out for an hour. Unfortunately, the sun was going down and the clouds of the storm front were rolling in, so I was losing light quickly. I headed for home, still in slight disbelief that I had actually left the house with no helmet.

To be honest, it was one of the best feelings ever. I know now why so many pros insist on training without them, and would still race without them if given the option. It's stupid, and dangerous, but it's really really NICE.

But I know better, and I'm not going to make a habit out of it. All I need is to get hit by a car and get made into a human vegetable, right? So my helmet-less days have come to an end as suddenly as they began---but at least I have a perfect ride on a perfect evening to remember them by...