Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Got Beat Up.

Two nights in a row.

Monday night Heather and I went over to Frick Park. She to read, I to ride. I'm pretty sure she didn't have any trouble with her reading, but I had a pretty nice wreck on the Bowling Green (if that's the right name for it) trail. Basically, it starts near the Bowling Green in Point Breeze and runs down to the bottom of the Homewood Trail.

The descent down to the Homewood Trail is the part that gets me every time. It's really steep (at least to me) and even though I know that I'd be a lot better off to just keep moving and lay off of the brakes, I can't convince my body to actually DO that.

What happens is that I'm on this really steep angle, braking way more than I should be, and of course my back end decides that it really wants to be going a lot faster than my front end. In order to accomplish this, back end goes up over me. Needless to say, physics and gravity and all sorts of other things of science don't look too fondly on that, and the bike and I end up on the ground in a heap.

Looking at the bruises, it appears that I landed on my left forearm, right thumb, chest, both knees, and somehow my right ankle. But not my head. We can all be thankful for that.

Looking at my bike, it seems to have landed pretty heavily on the rear derailleur. After I picked myself up, brushed off all of the dirt, and climbed back on the bike (oh, and no, I didn't try to go down the hill at that point. I just decided to go a different way), it was immediately apparent that the shifting was all kinds of wrong. The chain was jumping all over the place in the back, especially under load. I looked back at the chain, and the cage was definitely not running even to the rear cogs. Great stuff. At least it was still rideable, and I was able to make my way back to where Heather was camped out without too much trouble.

I took the bike to Pro Bikes at lunch today. They confirmed that, yes, I did, in fact, bend the derailleur. Or the hanger. They're not sure which. They'll check it out and let me know. They know me by name there. First and last. It's a little scary. I probably spend too much time (and money) there.

That was Monday night.

Last night (being Tuesday night) was another night at the Oval for the Cat C race. Heather came with me again so that she could watch. Before the race, there was a little class about treating yourself in the event of a wreck. Foreshadowing?

I didn't feel especially awesome before the race. I probably should have eaten more before we left. I had a Clif bar and some goo before the race, but that was about it since 3:00, I think. I joked to Heather that I would be finishing 35th of 35.

Everything started out fine. I got a little nervous when they said we'd be doing 35 laps this week, instead of the 32 that I was used to, but really, what's another mile and a half among friends.

I was doing pretty well for the first few laps. I noticed pretty early that I was far back in the field, so I shifted to the right and started moving up. I was probably somewhere in the top fifteen by the 10th lap or so.

I'm not sure what happened after that. I can point to a few things as probable causes, though: As I was going through the third and fourth turns on one of the ensuing laps, I drifted pretty far to the top of the track and totally lost the wheel in front of me. Right as I realized I was going to be in trouble if I didn't get my butt back on someone else's butt real soon, I heard a wreck to my left.

I don't know if that spooked me or what, but I didn't end up getting back on anyone's wheel, and I saw the whole field starting to move along without me. Amazingly, there was one other guy who was having some sort of similar (but probably entirely unrelated) problems. I pulled up behind him, and we trudge along for a number of laps (I don't know how many) before the group finally lapped us. During this time, it became pretty evident how windy it was coming up the last stretch toward the finish line.

Once the group came back around, get on someone's wheel and stay there. With that taken care of, the last eleven laps were pretty easy going. I still can't believe what a difference it makes to have someone in front of you doing the job of cutting through the wind.

The one really great thing about being 34th of 35 (the guy who wrecked was down for at least a lap or two before he was able to get back into the race) is that I missed the wreck right at the finish. I can't personally verify this, but from what I heard, it sounded like the winner decided to slow down as soon as he crossed the line and celebrate his victory. Of course, someone else ran into him, and I think someone else ran into that guy. Celebrating because you won a C race? Come on. Get a grip.

Regardless of my result, I'm glad I finished the race. For a while there, I thought about just pulling off and giving up. Those laps where it was just me and the other guy were rough, but at the very least it was good exercise.

A few things to take away:

  • Don't try to move too far ahead. When you follow the guys who are moving up on the right, chances are they're going to be faster than you. If you can't keep up when they break, you'd better have a good plan to get back in with the rest of the field.
  • Pay better attention on the turns. I still don't know how I drifted so far up the track on the fourth turn, but it killed me. I was out on my own, and there was no way to get back in. I was screwed.
  • Always pay attention at the end of the race. If someone is going to slow down so they can shoot some "V"s at their friends, you'd better be ready for it.

Better luck next Tuesday, maybe.

Monday, June 15, 2009

We love you, Eve.

Last Wednesday, June 10th, our little kitty cat, Eve, died. We had taken her to the vet in the morning to have her teeth cleaned. They called us around 2:00 in the afternoon to let us know that they were going to have to pull her top left fang. That really wasn't very surprising to us, because in the past few months it had started to get a little lower, to the point where she had a bit of a snaggletooth.

We waited for them to call back to let us know that they were all finished and we could come and pick her up. The whole day in the house was pretty lonely without her. The vet called at 4:30 and asked to speak to Heather. I told her that I was Eve's other parent and she could let me know whatever. She got a little bit quiet, and then she told me that Eve had died.

Eve's physical that morning had gone fine. She had no problems with the anesthesia. The extraction of the tooth went really well, as did sewing everything back up. The tooth was really infected. The vet told us she came up out of the anesthesia without any trouble, but when they went to remove her catheter she got really fussy and kicky. When they did get the catheter out, Eve passed out and then she was gone.

They tried doing CPR for twenty minutes and tried to get another line in to give her emergency fluids, but she had no blood pressure and it was almost impossible to get into a vein. They tried, but they just weren't able to help her.

The vet told me that she thought that Eve might have had a surge of adrenaline that was just too much for her little heart to handle. She had never had this happen to her before, and she was really upset on the phone. She asked if we wanted to come get Eve to take her home. I said yes and asked if she'd still be there when we got there. She said she would wait for us to get there before she went anywhere else.

Heather and I drove to the vet, each of us a mess. We thought Eve was just getting her teeth cleaned. We knew that tooth was going to have to go, but lots of cats get their teeth pulled. It wasn't like this was some new experimental treatment. And she was only eight! And (to the best of our knowledge) really healthy! Like I said, we were both really upset.

When we got there, one of the vet techs led us to an exam room. Heather and I sat and waited. After a few minutes, our vet came in carrying Eve. Eve was just laying there, not moving. She handed her to me, and I looked at our little kitty and just started crying. It was so awful to see her like that. Not moving, not doing anything. Just there. I was cradling her, and if she had been alive, she'd have never let me hold her like that (she loved to be held, but not like that). It was terrible.

The vet talked to us again and tried to explain everything that had happened. She was crying as she told us how sorry she was. I know that she was genuinely upset and that they did everything they could. I have no bad feelings toward her or the practice.

We took Eve back home and buried her in our backyard. We wrapped her up with a towel and gave her her two favorite mice, two crinkly foil balls, and some primroses. Laying her in the ground was really hard. We both gave her little kisses and pet her one last time.

These past few days have been tough. The first time we came home from being away from the house, she didn't come to meet us at the door between the garage and the basement. When I sit at my desk to work, she doesn't come up behind me, reach up, and scratch the back of my chair. That was her way of letting me know that it was time to give her a little attention, which I was always happy to do.

She doesn't come up behind me, but every little randomly occurring noise from the house makes me think she's on her way in to see me. Heather is just as upset as I am. We both just can't believe that she's gone and she'll never be back.

Eve was the best little kitty cat. She owned our house and let us live there. That's how it was from the moment we brought her into the house and let her out of her carrier. She was comfortable from day one and she seemed happy to let us take care of her.

Over the five years that we had her, Eve amazed us in so many ways. She was always there to greet us when we got home. When we were upset about something, she would come around and let us pet her (I think she regarded this as a win-win situation).

Eve slept on our bed with us every night. She would curl up next to me and just rest against my side. It was one of my favorite things. Although she wasn't always as cuddly with Heather, Eve took care of her when I went to Florida for two weeks for work. During that time, Heather said Eve would lay with her anytime she was on the couch and slept next to her every night when she went to sleep.

Eve was the Best Little Kitty Cat. We will love her and miss her always.