Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Don't stop thinking about...

I went for a 22-mile bike ride today. It was 45°F, wet (but not rainy) and the wind was blowing at some 20 mph. I finished the hilly route in 1 hr 22 mins. By the time I got off the bike, my hands were so cold I could not make a firm fist.

The biggest problem, though, was that I had to pee so bad by the end of the ride my kidneys were hurting!

I should explain. You see, there's a lot involved in pulling the bike over.

First of all, one has to find a place. It needs to be secluded (no peeing on anyone's front lawn) yet near enough to the road that I can drag the bike off. It would not do to have someone stop, throw your bike into the back of their truck and drive off while you're, well, indisposed. The path to one's place of seclusion needs to be not muddy or gravely, or too grassy, because that stuff gets into the cleats of the cycling shoes and then I can't click back into the pedals.

Assuming that a place can be found that meets these rather stringent requirements, one has to deal next with the actual act of voiding the bladder. This is easier said than done when one's parts have been pressed on a bike seat for the last hour. I don't want to set off a TMI alert here, but there are times when it takes some help to get things moving in such situations.

Fast forward past all those details. Now one has to get back to the road, mount up and get started again. On a ride where I'm not pushing for a time, this is straightforward. When my legs have been working at their limit for an hour, though, they do not take well to stopping and starting. Hell, even getting on the bike risks a certain amount of cramping if not done just so.

In the end, I decided that the risk of kidney failure outweighed the hassle of stopping. I'm a guy; I can hold it that long. I'm just grateful the road was mostly smooth and that it wasn't raining. I did my best not to think of running water or babbling brooks. It would have complicated things.


Laurie B said...

I thought that the pro's just snuck it out and peed on the move? My guess is that thier shoes get filled fairly often.

Glad you are out riding in any case.

We're thinking about riding fro snoozy home to local U, about 8 miles after some warm up local flat rides. Are helmets on your "always" list? We ride old lady sit up bikes and survived the 50's with out them.

Wayfarer said...

During the long races like the Ironman series, the more hard-core do exactly as you said. I'm not at a place where I need to deal with that in my own racing. A 3 hour tri is the longest I do, and that's within the "I can hold it if I need to" range.

I stand by helmets as essential safety gear, and I never go out without one. I've been in two accidents involving vehicles in my time as a cyclist. Neither was my fault (the drivers blew through lights and signs) but my helmet made it possible for me to walk away from them both.

The thing is, 50's traffic was slower, sparser and more respectful of cyclists than the 21st century version. You are a safe cyclist, but you are not the only person on the road.

As well, I've had more than my share of "crash and burn" events. Even casual riding risks the occasional tip and fall, and a helmet leaves one feeling just embarrassed -- instead of embarrassed and concussed.