Last week was a total bust in terms of cycling. All of my good intentions to ride just kept coming up short. I can blame rain and lightning and work and all of those other typical excuses but when it comes down to it, I just didn’t feel like riding my bike. I could have planned better. Although I did make a solid effort to ride yesterday.
I woke up early and headed to the big, scary hills (yes, we have those in Florida) for a group ride. I wasn’t feeling into it on the hour long drive out to the hills and I really wasn’t feeling it when I got there. There were a lot of other riders that I didn’t know and talks of riding hard and that the local police in this itty bitty town weren’t too happy with cyclists. So, at the very last minute, I decided I didn’t want to do it. I just flat out decided that I wanted to ride alone and where I knew the route. Yes, I had a bike anxiety day. I haven’t had one in a long while but it happened and I’m over it. Let’s move on.
I got in my car and headed over to the much less scary paved trail. I planned on riding anywhere from 32 to 39 miles just so that I could get something in on the bike for the week. Since I was already a feeling small and dumb for leaving the group ride in the way that I did it’s no wonder that what happened next got me all sorts of upset.
As I rode along the trail I was thinking about how far I’ve come on the bike and it was ok that I left the group ride. But I couldn’t help feeling a twinge of guilt about it. Clearly, had I stayed with the group a poor innocent creature could have lived another day to gather nuts.
Anywho, I got to mile four and saw a squirrel a little ways ahead of me. I had previously thought squirrels were playing chicken when they did that crazy run back and forth thing they like to do. It pissed me off. And I thought they were assholes. For some reason I decided to look up this behavior one day when I was bored. I found out they do it to try to confuse predators. I think this is smart and sad all at the same time. Makes them more like able now doesn’t it?
This little squirrel, whom I’ve creatively named, Mr. Squirrel, saw me and began his zig zag dance with destiny. He zigged right and then left and then right again. Just as I hoped he would get off the trail to the right, he ran back toward the left and right into my front wheel. There really wasn’t much I could do. I know that I am supposed to stay the course as much as possible on a bike to avoid losing control and busting my face. I’d like to say I’m happy I didn’t crash and I did the right thing, but of course the animal loving side of me is sad that I hurt and/or killed him.
My eyes welled up with tears as I rode shakily forward and then decided to go back to see what I’d done. I turned my bike and rode back to the spot where I’d hit Mr. Squirrel, but he was gone. I figure I maimed him enough for him to scurry/hobble back into the nature reserve to die amongst his little squirrel friends.
I ended my ride as soon as I got back to my car. And yes, I cried. A couple of times. I can’t help it. I’m a sucker for animals. I did the whole chin quiver, followed by some sobs and then made three phone calls. One to coach Navy Steve, one to P-Funk and one to my sister.
I sort of locked it up for the call to coach Navy Steve. I think my voice cracked one or two times. His first remark was, “You hit a squirrel!?! I never hit a squirrel.” Followed by, “Did you stay up?” He then assured me the squirrel was probably fine. He’s a nice coach.
However, I’d like to point out that both P-Funk and my sister laughed. Of course this made me laugh too because I’m sure I sounded hilarious sobbing into the phone that I killed a squirrel. My sister said to look on the bright side, at least I ride fast enough to kill things now. And P-Funk told me that squirrels were resilient and fell out of trees all the time. She even met me for breakfast so I could Belgium waffle my sorrows away.
It’s ok to cry on your bike, even if people look at you oddly while you ride by them. And I hope Mr. Squirrel is happy in squirrel heaven where they never run out of nuts and ride squirrel-bikes over cyclists.
|RIP Mr. Squirrel|
On a happier note, I ran TEN miles on Saturday. That’s the most I’ve run since March. I’m hoping that I can keep running farther bit by bit until Augusta. That clock is ticking and I’ve lots of work left to do. Happy Monday.
P.S. Can you guys say a little prayer for Mr. Squirrel and his family? And also maybe throw in a little prayer for me and not running over anymore animals? That’d be great. Thanks.
GAH! i had a VERY witty comment, but it disappeared. perhaps it got run over….
Aw RIP Squirley! Great seeing you yesterday!
But he walked away…maybe it wasnt as bad as you think? I would have cried too. I am waaayyyyy too sensitive with animals
That happened to me once in my car. It's traumatic. I cried a bit too.
Nice job still getting out there when you didn't feel like it! That's an accomplishment in itself.
Mr. Squirrel is definitely in a better place if he didn't make it.
There is no shame in crying over a squirrel.
Aww poor Mr. Squirrel! and poor you! I'm sure you felt awful!
Aww! It's okay, he's in squirrel heaven now!
I thought of you yesterday when my bike and I bit the dust! My choices were get ran over by a car or take the curb…I chose the curb. I scratched my bike up a little. I busted up my knee and have some road rash, but all in all I'm good! Thank goodness for helmets!
Shoot, you think that's bad? A couple weeks ago I hit a small dog. I was sitting second-wheel in a group in an all-out sprint. The front rider managed to dodge him. I hit him straight on at 37mph and managed to stay up. The dog then got hit again by a cyclist behind me leaving both sprawled out in the road. Dog looked to be in bad shape but eventually got up and made its way home. I doubt it survived but I watch for it every time I ride that stretch of road. There were a lot of mixed emotions in the group that day.
Oh Beth… I am dying over here. You poor thing! Listen to your sister. 🙂
Since every one else posted about the squirrel I will comment on the other issue; the bike anxiety. I totally understand that some days you "just don't feel it". There are times that gutting it through and doing it makes it better, but then there are days it is better to do just as you did …
Jenny and I disagree on this at times, but I don't think taking a day off every now and again is a bad thing.
It takes a lot to kill a squirrel. Since you didn't see a dead squirrel or blood and guts – I think you might be ok.
I don't know if I should cry or laugh at this right now.
Seriously I would have asked the same questions Steve asked but not until after I laughed like P-Funk and your sister.
Glad you are good to go.
"Mr. Squirrel got run over by a tri bike
Walking to his house Monday Eve
You can say there's not a Nut Heaven
As for me and Rocky we believe"
* sung to the tune of Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer
Prayers sent. I would have cried too. Hope your relationship with your bike is better this week.
Awwww I totally would have cried too, but don't tell anyone! What happens on the bike trail stays on the bike trail! Glad you and the squirrel are ok and both lived to see another day 🙂 Most of all I feel your pain I go through weekends like this more often while training for the longer stuff and we have to become more resilient as distances increase, so I think you are doing awesome!
Hello… my name is Michael… and I am a squirrel killer too..
I didn't cry but I did feel pretty bad… it happened the sam way for me.
shake it off kid.
you are a nice person… no shame in that.
Oh my goodness, I loved this post. First of all, I hate squirrels. But, I hate seeing dead animals on the road even more. My heart breaks, I shake, and I get sad. It is pathetic. I would have been devastated if I had killed Mr. Squirrel. Sorry for your loss. 🙂
awh, hopefully he jumped up and ran away…I once hit a bunny with my car, and had to pull over I was crying so hard!! LOL
Great job on the ten miler, you are rockin'!
Get an indoor trainer. Cheap, convinent and no squirrels. I enjoy setting up my bike next to my open window put on a fan to cool me and simulate wind and I turn on the TV to the travel channel and act like I'm biking across the world. My on my bike and Anthony Bourdain in Europe. I even bike to the food network and during commercials I spin hard till the food comes back on. Not that I crave the food but… Well maybe I do. Sometimes I read or surf the net but it is a fun way to get training in quick even in bad weather and I haven't hit any animals, traffic or bad roads yet. Keep on keeping on!
I think I'd cry too. I bawled when a deer ran into my car. Although squirrels aren't cute and kinda annoying in my yard… So maybe I wouldn't cry.
You prob just ran over his tail and I am sure he is fine! They do need to work on that zig zag mentality. It doesn't work.
What Gator Mike said. I would suggest the squirrel had a 95% chance of surviving,
I am wondering if you realized that your odds of actually getting me at 0930 on Sunday was about 5%, as normally I am out riding.
Also – not sure if you heard, but the fast guys and girls broke away from the main group right out of the gate last week. Just communicate with the group if you are not feeling it and someone will wait. No worries on not feeling it – that is why we go with the group – so they get us out there!
TEN miles?! you're so brave.