Saturday, August 6, 2011


Last week seemed full of reminders of personal vulnerability - in training and in life.

Last Sunday I was riding solo and ended up in an unfamiliar area as I took a road further than I had previously to see where it would go. It's a rural road, nothing out of the ordinary, but my paranoia increased proportionately to my distance from home. Despite trying to apply logic and "odds" to the situation I really creeped myself out and pedaled hard when I turned around to head home.

Monday I had a meeting with a faculty member who arrived with a splinted arm - the result of an encounter with a post-rain runoff gravel patch in the S-curves of the very road I bike each week. He's got a wrist full of plates and screws and plans to sell his bikes and retire from riding.

Thursday we had reports of an alleged gunman on the Virginia Tech campus and the campus and much of the town was on lockdown. Nothing came of the report, but around here we take threats very seriously.

I manage my own vulnerability in training as best I can. I tell someone (usually hubs) where and when I am running or biking, when I will be back, and I report back when finished. I pin my car key, tagged with emergency phone numbers, inside my shorts. (tag is a metal pet ID tag) I wear bright clothing and carry pepper spray and my phone in my bike jersey pocket for easy access. A rear-view mirror mounted on my glasses allows me to keep a close eye on things behind. I am vigilant and monitor road surface conditions ahead. A strobe light is added if there are visibility concerns (although I probably should use it always). I ride early when traffic is minimal but avoid foggy conditions. New or long routes are done with companions but I confess to doing my "usual" routes largely solo.

safety items
One of the greatest joys of riding and running is the sense of freedom and exploration that they bring. Perhaps it's not such a bad thing they also remind us how vulnerable we are. From vulnerability comes a certain gratefulness.

Side note: I enjoyed a visit from my parents who were in town the last four days. We saw the kid's summer theater production and Grant earning his brown belt in Karate. We hung out at our town festival, Steppin' Out, plus my dad repainted my patio furniture, thanks, dad!