Monday, March 10, 2008

Weird Day

Leaving the house this morning, I was about to turn off the TV when I caught a preview of an upcoming story about some cyclists that were hit and killed by a car over the weekend.  I didn't have time to stick around so I turned off the TV and went off to work.  At about 1:00 pm, I got an e-mail that a cycling partner and friend was reported missing by her family.  She was last seen on Saturday and had not reported home or to work since.  At about 7:00 pm tonight, I found out that she had been found and was safe and not much more info.  And the story about the killed cyclist came back to me when I found out that one of the cyclist was Kristy Gough, a local pro triathlete in the area.  I used to run into Kristy and her boyfriend Clas while swimming at Mills College.  She was out for a training ride down in Cupertino, Stevens Creek Reservoir to be exact (my old training ground, I grew up in this area running and riding at Stevens Creek), when she and two other riders were hit by of all people, a sheriff's deputy.  One cyclist was killed at the scene and Kristy died shortly after her arrival to Stanford medical center. The third cyclist is in critical but stable condition.  This is such a terrible loss and it further convinces me what a dangerous environment we as cyclist are put up against every time we hit the road.  But as cyclist, we all know that the rewards from riding far outweighs the risk.  And risk has to do with odds, and I know that after 15 plus years of riding, my odds are getting worst and for that reason, I only ride outdoors once a week now.  I had a very close call two years ago where a car came so close to me that I could stick my tongue out and lick it.  As I approached the car, I saw it was an elderly woman driving and she never even realized I was there, let alone how close she came to hitting me.  I was invisible.  From that day, I started working out on the trainer indoors twice a week and only riding outdoors once per week. I think it would be unfair to blame all this on drivers.  In fact, I couldn't even yell at the granny who almost hit me because I have this rule when it comes to seniors, that they are like babies and they don't know any better.  I know the granny would have felt terrible if she knew that she almost hit me, but she was ignorant and can you blame an ignorant granny?  I couldn't so I decided to minimize my risk and stay off the roads.  I don't think drivers are always to blame.  I just think the roads are becoming more hostile.  I've seen hotheads in the form of both drivers and cyclists.  I've been riding long enough to know that cyclists can be some of the biggest a-holes and fueling the fire by provoking drivers is not helping.  Also, as the sport gains popularity, there is an increase in novice riders ignorant of riding etiquette and rules of the road.  I was out this weekend and how many riders did I see riding three across or worst, riding in the middle of the road even though they were solo.  Also, I've seen many a riders run stop signs, not yield to pedestrians (I learned this the hard way getting a $100 ticket for not yielding to a ped), and ignore other rules that apply to them as a moving vehicle.  I'll stop with my lecturing but I want to conclude by saying just be careful out there and to say a prayer for Kristy's family and friends and those of the two other cyclists. We are all a part of a cycling family and we need to look out for each other.

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