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I'm a Mud-Blood:

I had a pretty lousy day today. I’ve been off kilter for about a week. Stressed. Depressed. Feeling horrible that all I can do at the moment for anyone suffering on account of the Katrina disaster is donate to the Red Cross, and I can’t donate much, at that, because I’m broke–feedback loop into stress, depressed, and feeling horrible.

I was listening to NPR at work, as I do, and got even more jittery, so I rode home on my lunch break, ate lunch in peace, and raced back to the office. It helped. It helped a lot to be able to just jump on my bike, buzz home, and clear out the cobwebs.

I decided that I’d extend my bike ride home tonight–work off some of my depression in a nice, long, intense ride.

Or so I thought.

I figured I’d start my ride off with a jaunt through Cliff Drive, since this is one of the most serene and lovely rides near downtown and near where I live. I figured I’d do Cliff Drive, then, when it dumps out on Gladstone, take that east, then do the little dogleg that gets you onto the Chouteau bridge, cross the river, wend my way westward again, and try to find my way out to the old airport and do some laps.

Well, I got a little overzealous in Cliff Drive. I was starting to feel better about halfway through the loop, there. Nice hills, big, swoopy curves–its the type of riding I like best…enough up-and-down to keep things interesting…good workout, nice, speedy downhills. I hit my groove, and was spinning my way up the hills–actually accelerating up a grade. Man, that felt good. I mastered this one downhill turn that usually intimidates me. I started getting a bit cocky, perhaps. I was coming downhill at one point, just before you get to the artificial waterfall, coasting along at a pretty good clip, left foot up, leaning left into the turn, when, I come around a blind corner smack into a gigantic clay mud slick. Before I could think or react, leaning turned to sliding. My helmet-encased head smacked the ground. I slid a good 8-10 feet through the mudslick on my left side, messenger-bag acting as a plowshare, scooping up fistfull-sized globs of mud into the top of my jeans.

Because I was on a road where there are sometimes cars, I fought to end the slide and get upright. I pulled myself and my bike off to the side of the road to assess damage. I hit the ground so hard, it flung the chain loose, so I had to get that slung back over the chainring. The left-side handlebar-end plug had popped out. I found that and jammed it back in. Minor cosmetic damage to the shifter and the quick-release lever on the rear wheel. Gobs of mud packed up under the seat, frame-pump, and in the pedal-tread. The keychain I had clipped to my bag broke loose, and I had to pick through the muck and re-assemble my wad of keys. I got everything back and crammed them inside my bag for the time being.

Then, I assessed my own damages. I’d been wearing jeans and combat boots, with my jeans rolled up to just below my knees. Light roadrash on my left calf. My hip hurt–probably would have a bruise there. My neck felt a little bit stiff, though it seems just fine now. My shoulder felt a bit sting-ey…like sunburn. Weird. I was filthed out…my left boot, left pantleg, the whole side of my shirt, both arms, face…what a mess. I looked like a female mud-wrestler, but without the frisson of quasi-lesbian tussling. I dug globs of mud out from between my bag and body, excavated as much mud as possible from my waistband, and decided to cut my projected ride short. I was about a mile-and-a-half or so out from the house. I got back up to speed pretty quickly…I figured after that wreck, what the hell; all I wanted was to get home, hose the bike off, hose myself off, and have a beer.

I discovered that clay mud makes a person real itchy as it dries. I also discovered that people look at you real crazy at stoplights when you are half caked in half-baked clay mud with blood dripping down your shin.

I also discovered that it’s hard to take a picture of your own scraped-up back.

You know, I think there’s an Alanis song in here somewhere. Oh…but these didn’t come from a grudgefuck. Sorry.

I think this one is particularly great because you can see where my jeans and boots left off. A couple of those lines are marks from the doormat I was sitting on while I was drying and oiling my bike chain, however. Skin regrows for free, but you have to pay for Shimano.

Woo..check out that foreshortening. I look like I have ostrich legs, whereas I actually have rather short little pipestems. You can see where the bruise will be on my upper thigh. Nice tanlines, too, eh. 50spf failed me after all.

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