Posts Tagged ‘Road Rage’

Fuck you, Sigma!

Posted: December 8, 2015 in Bike, Equipment
Tags: ,

WARNING: This post contains scenes of graphic violence and coarse language. Viewer discretion is strongly advised.

I absolutely hate – HATESigma bike computers.

Hate isn’t even a strong enough word.  Let’s just say that I suspect that Sigma was actually designed and run by Nazi’s.  Hey, their home office is located in Neustadt, Germany, so it’s not exactly out of the question.

But, I digress.

Maybe I need to fill you in on a little back history first.

When I first started cycling and invested in my first wireless bike computer, Sigma seemed to be the only option. Most of my peers owned one and rightly so seeing that Sigma was the most prominent product on the shelves in any cycling shop. So, not knowing my ass from my elbow when it came to bike computers and available technology, I just went with the flow and purchased what everybody else had and, thus, started this whole frustrating downward spiral with Sigma.

In all fairness though, it started off okay. The computer tracked (and displayed) all the usual data when you ride: my distance, cadence, speed, time, etc.  In fact, it was probably tracking things I didn’t even know it was tracking and, likely, didn’t give two shits about either.  So that was probably my only major complaint at the time in that it had too many “functions” of which I would never really use and you practically needed an advanced engineering degree to actually use the damn thing.  I mean, seriously, who knew that something that only had four buttons would be so bloody confusing to use?  Does anyone even pay attention to “Trip A”, or Trip B” information?

But, hey, that’s hardly reason to hate something.

That all started later…

After about a year, the battery on the Sigma inevitably died and I had to get the battery replaced.  Even with my limited technical abilities, I managed to do swap out the new battery (albeit with the mandatory amount of cursing and swearing) and I even managed to get to get the computer to sync with the wheel sensor – winning! – however, it wouldn’t go into “Sleep” mode and just kept flashing repetitively, meaning that the battery would soon just die out again.  Usually, after 5 minutes or so the computer will go into a Sleep state to prevent the battery from running down.  At least it did before anyway.  Huh.

A quick scan through the product manual and, yeah, it’s all in German, so, fuck…no help there.

FML.

I decided to try and remedy the situation by contacting their online Support team directly, as recommended in the website.  Maybe they could suggest a very easy fix and save me the panicky trip into the bike shop.

Here is my original email:

“Hi Sigma. I successfully synced my Sigma bike computer to my wheel sensor but it will not go into “sleep” mode and keeps flashing. What can I do to fix this situation?”

After eight days, I finally got a reply from Chad:

“The computer will never turn off completely. It does go into sleep mode that will show the clock on the screen.”

Umm, thanks?

I tried again:

“Thanks Chris, I understand that. That’s what it was doing before but now that I have changed the battery, it will not go back into sleep mode. It just keeps flashing? Any suggestions?”

Another four days goes by before I get Chris’ reply:

“I will go into sleep mode after 5 minutes.”

 

The fuck?

He’s kidding, right?

I replied:

“It’s not doing that, Chris. Otherwise I would not be emailing you for help. It keeps flashing and will NOT go into sleep mode. Please help.”

 

Two days later, again from Chris:

“You will see a clock on the screen when it goes into sleep mode.”

 

At this point, I’m totally losing my shit.

Me:

“You’re totally fucking with me, right?”

 

There are no other responses from Chris as, clearly, we have experienced a complete and total communication breakdown.

Time for Plan B.

I bring the whole fucking bike (and computer) into the good people at Liberty! (who, for the record, didn’t sell me this piece of shit in the first place). Hopefully, they could figure out this total computer clusterfuck and get it to go into ‘Sleep’ mode properly.  Unfortunately, they couldn’t and only agreed with my original diagnosis: Sigma sucks.

I opted right then and there to get out of my current relationship with Sigma and upgraded (or, actually, downgraded since it was even cheaper than the Sigma) to a more reliable bike computer from Cats Eye instead.  Money well spent, if you ask me.

Fuck you and good riddance Sigma, you worthless piece of Nazi shit!

So, that left only one important piece of business to attend to:

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Lord knows that I have my road rage moments as cyclist, specifically now that the mindless hordes of tourists have invaded my otherwise quiet rural paradise (click HERE), and would LOVE to get off my bike and make with the roundhouse kicks.  Of course, that doesn’t typically happen. In the past have dealt with dogs, idiot drivers, scooters and e-bikes, crazy ass chipmunks, rutting animals and other hazards unique to living in the country (click HERE) but yesterday I faced another different challenge: the idiot pedestrian.

There I was, joyfully zipping through town during one of my weekly bike rides.  Despite the new bi-laws that have been passed recently (click HERE) in regards to motor vehicles giving cyclists a wide birth, I still choose to sometimes ride in the middle of the road (as long as I’m not holding up traffic), particularly when passing through town where there are lots of parked cars, etc.  I mean, why tempt fate right?

So such was the case yesterday.

While doing so, I noticed an older lady up ahead waiting by the side of the road with her dog looking to cross the road.  She wasn’t at an intersection or any of the numerous pedestrian crosswalks that are in town, no, she was just there on the sidewalk waiting to cross to the other side.  She looked right me (several times as a matter of fact) so I know she saw me coming.  She never moved and continued to keep her gaze on me so I figured I was safe to keep going and she’d continue crossing safely after I had passed.  After all, I had the right of way right?

Wrong.

Then it happened.

Just as I approached within a couple of feet she decides to step out directly…in…front…of…me.

The fuck?!

I immediately swerved out of her way, narrowly missing both her and the oncoming car in the opposite lane.

What the hell?

Concerned, I circled back to make sure everything was okay.  I don’t know why exactly, but I felt obligated to do so seeing as she was older.  When I reached her she immediately took on an immediate heir of exasperated indignance like it was *I*  that had done something wrong.

“You really need to watch where you’re going!”, she loudly proclaimed so that the whole street could hear.

I was flabbergasted.

“You walked right out in front of me!  Didn’t you see me coming?”

I was trying to be nice.

Then she added:

“Yes, but you were going too fast!”

I’m pretty sure at this point that steam started spewing from my ears and I briefly considered hopping off the bike to dropkick her right in the cooter, but other pedestrians had started to gather after her first loud proclamation and, hey, when people who haven’t really seen what happened what happened, witness a cyclist losing his shit on old lady and her little rat fuck of a dog, well, who are you going to assume is the bad guy?  There was simply not going to be any winning of this situation so I retreated on down the road fuming.

Of course, social media being the wonderful platform it is now enables me to give her (you) the response I would have loved to have given her in the moment had others not been around.

First off, in regard to her first comment: “You really need to watch where you’re going”,  the pure fact that you’re now on the opposite side of the road uninjured lends proof that I WAS paying attention you old biddy.  What’s your excuse exactly?  You watched me coming.  I know this because you took a tentative step out into the road when I was still a ways off and when you turned that empty melon you call a head to look in my direction, you hesitated and remained on the sidewalk because you saw me coming.  You then proceeded to track my progress as I got closer and closer until I was about 10-15 ft away. It was then you decided that it was safe to start your crossing.  How stupid are you anyway?

Did you think that you were impervious to being hit, or that life was giving you the immediate right of way?  What?   Help me understand.  By the way, there was a pedestrian crosswalk not far up the road where you could have crossed safely having the right of way and I would have stopped happily to let you do so.

Just sayin’…

Secondly, as far as “you were going too fast” goes, I was holding a 34km/h pace in a 50km/h zone in the MIDDLE of the road so, no, I was not in fact going too fast. Maybe you ride at a snails’ pace when you ride your bike to market or, say, during tornadoes, but I “cycle” meaning that I keep a fairly steady pace.  So stepping out in front of me while I’m hauling ass means I’m going to hit you if you’re not lucky. I can’t stop on a dime any more than any other vehicle on the road at the time can.

In fact,  had I been driving a car you and your pooch would be dead right now.

Chew on that.

And on that point, while I definitely believe that my (or anyone else for that matter) running you over would have significantly contributed to the enrichment of the gene pool and advancement of the human species – I am a big believer in Darwinism in its most basic of forms – I do feel sorry for your dog that you inevitably walked directly into harm’s way. I mean, what was your thought process exactly?

I can’t help but wonder what else you coax this poor mutt into doing?

“C’mon poochy, lets jump into this erupting volcano, it’ll be okay.”

“C’mon poochy, let’s drink this battery acid, nothing bad will happen.”

“C’mon poochy, don’t worry about that oncoming transport truck, I’m sure it’ll stop.”

Run dog, run.

Sometimes there’s just no helping stupid.

(Disclaimer: More often than not, I think cycling purists are great people and I’m proud to consider them as my friends and peers. So this post then is more a response to those few “cyclists” who might feel the way the author of this particular article feels. And for the record, I believe they are in the extreme minority.)

I have become aware that there is a rift that exists between triathletes and cyclists.  I’m not really sure why or how this rift ever developed exactly but it’s definitely there.  More correctly, the rift seems to be mostly directed at the triathlete specifically by cyclist “purists” who don’t seem to like us much.  I’m not sure why really. We both ride bikes (probably a lot), are dedicated to the sport we love which, in both cases, involves bikes.  Why all the negativity then?  I don’t get it.

Most recently I came across an article posted by Tri Swim Coach on Facebook entitled “10 Things Triathletes Do that Piss Cyclists Off” that was originally posted to the “About Boulder” website which proudly advertises “Your One-stop Shop for Everything Boulder”  which, I guess, includes hating on triathletes, but I digress. I find it weird you would find a ‘cyclist vs. triathlete’ post on a tourism website but, hey, not much else about the post made any sense either so, yeah, you just knew it was going to be juicy.

The author (Ryan Petry) starts off by stating:

“Triathletes try to be the master of three sports, and I get it, that is annoying. We are like that girl you went to high school with who was the president of the student government, captain of the basketball team, and voted homecoming queen.”

Annoying?

Really?

Maybe we do tend to be a bit ambitious given we’re trying to master three sports at once as he puts it but, clearly, Ryan was too busy playing with himself under the bleachers at lunchtime in high school to ever accomplish much and he’s a bit bitter about it.  That’s not our fault.  His lack of ambition or drive is not our problem is it?  Anyway, he then goes on to list his 10 grievances to validate his ridiculous claim which, I would like to go on the record here and now in addressing.

  1. Riding with a sleeveless jersey.

Really?

That’s your first and major complaint: what we’re wearing?  Are you really that shallow?

I guess you are.

He states that:

“sleeveless jerseys are acceptable under two circumstances: You are in a race and just got done swimming, or if… actually there are no other acceptable times”

Does he have a problem with bare shoulders or something?  Hey bud, this is North America not Afghanistan, so when it comes to what we choose to wear we have full freedom to decide for ourselves.  So what I decide to wear is my choice and should be of little consequence to you.

Maybe we should wear a burkha?  Would that make you happy?

  1. Talking about the other workouts they that day

First of all, if you have a genuine gripe you should at least put the effort into articulating yourself correctly so that the rest of us can understand you.  Oh, that’s right.  You were under the bleachers in high school.  I forgot.  Maybe I should just assume then that all cyclists are born morons who can’t string an intelligent sentence together to save their lives?  I don’t, of course.

Anyway, assuming you’re bitching about our discussing our other workouts that (we) might have had  that day, is this any different than listening to you wax on about your endless hill repeats, wattage output or the last century ride you did last week?

Oh, and by the way, you could try  to “smack us” as you suggest but be aware that any triathlete is just likely to smack you back into the Stone Age given that your wimpy arm strength is probably akin to that of an uncooked spaghetti noodle. Maybe you should quit resting on the laurels of your sole workout that day and take up swimming or running yourself.

Just sayin’…

  1. Riding their triathlon bike on a group ride

Okay, so I’m giving Ryan a pass here as I actually agree with him but not because “triathletes are notorious poor bike handlers”  as he suggests.  Actually, one has to wonder if he has ever ridden a time trial bike at all.  You see, you actually need to be a decent bike handler in order to ride a time trial bike efficiently and since we’ve likely spent a stupid amount of time them we’re probably pretty good at it. It doesn’t sound to me like he has so I won’t beat this one to death.

I do agree with his statement though that “triathlon bikes are built so that you can ride alone more efficiently” , so that doesn’t make them 100% safe to ride with other cyclists in close proximity since we cannot respond to changes in the group as quickly and efficiently as if we were upright on a road bike.  And seeing as I have ridden with a lot of shitty road cyclists, I do not feel safe riding my tri-bike on a group ride and would never do so.

  1. Not wearing socks

Again, our choice of “fashion” is your major complaint here?  Are you that obsessive compulsive about what other people prefer to wear?  For the record, not wearing socks doesn’t automatically give you blisters or athlete’s foot, not washing properly does.

But, seriously, why does this even matter to you at all?

  1. Brick workouts

“Running after biking is an important part of training, but knowing that after your 4 hour bike ride you are going for a 10 mile run makes even the hardest working cyclist feel lazy.”

That’s our problem, how?

  1. Riding dirty, poorly maintained bikes

Umm, anyone who has ever wandered through the transition zone at a triathlon will already know that those bikes are typically spotless.  And since triathletes probably spent more money on their bikes then they did on their own vehicles, they’re usually pretty meticulous in keeping them maintained.  Conversely, how many “cyclists” have you met that will shown up to a group ride on a bike their grandmother probably used to ride back and forth to market?  Even this isn’t really an issue, mind you, providing it’s been maintained properly, but I think there are more self-proclaimed “cyclists” on farm bikes than there are triathletes on poorly maintained bikes.

Likewise, given Ryan seems to have a very particular idea of what cyclists are supposed to wear, so isn’t this gripe a bit hypocritical anyway?

Oh, and while I’m on the subject, I have another semi-related comment to make here to.  I absolutely LOVE when other cyclists judge me for what I ride – a Trek 1000 that is about 20 years old meaning it’s not the lightest, sleekest, fanciest or mechanically advanced bike on the road.  In fact, it’s about 10-12 lbs heavier than anything else most other cyclist purists are riding.  But you can’t buy speed, can you?  So don’t roll your eyes at me when you see my bike.  Its design or worth have nothing to do with how fast it goes…I DO.  And I love nothing more than dropping “cyclists” on their fancy $10,000 carbon fiber rocket ships to make that very point.  Every time I beat one of these judgmental cyclists up a hill or in a sprint on my heavier, less “pretty” dinosaur of a road bike I steal a bit of their soul.

Judge not you egotistical bastards.

  1. Posting swims on Strava

“Strava may offer options to upload your swim workouts, but it is pretty silly when you think about it. All you are saying to your cyclist followers is “look how much I work out”. Don’t go taking their KOM’s either or they will really freak.”

So using the provided options is “silly”?

Okay.

Whatever you say, chief!

But, again, if our workout schedule upsets you bud, maybe you should consider getting out from in front of the boob tube and – you know – pick it up a bit, especially if we’re stealing all your KOM’s.

  1. Using weird bike accessories

“Mini aero bars on your road bike, special compartments to hold your gels, water bottle holders behind your seat, and other race specific items. So not pro.”

Umm, it kinda is.  Especially since we’re probably riding 5-6 hours and we typically don’t like to stop at Tim Horton’s or Starbucks every 15 minutes for a “pit stop”.

  1. Compression socks

“These socks are great for recovery, but going to dinner or riding your bike in them is frowned upon by pretty much everyone.”

Again with the fashion?

That’s almost 1/3 of your bitches about triathletes being about what they’re wearing.  Who named you the Ralph Lauren of cycling anyway?  Or are you just like the little boy in grade school who torments the girls with whom you have a crush on?  I think Ryan is beginning to display some deeper issues here.

  1. Ironman tattoos.

I earned my M-Dot and I’m proud of it (click HERE).  Maybe you should consider getting a Starbucks tattoo on your calf to commemorate your many stops for coffee during your own cycling workouts?  I find it interesting though that you apparently spend a lot of time staring at other dudes calves.  Maybe you should spend less time bitching and take your turn at the front of the group.

Again, just sayin’…

What this all boils down to for me is that I don’t really consider myself a “triathlete”, but instead a swimmer, a runner and a “cyclist” exclusively of one another.  I also recognize that haters are gonna hate, hate, hate, hate so I’m just going to shake, shake, shake, shake it off.  Why can’t we all just get along?

Happy riding, Ryan.

I know it’s probably poor blogging form (not to mention severely lacking in creativity on my part) to post back-to-back video posts, but this was simply too good to pass up.

Enjoy.

Avoiding Cujo

Posted: May 8, 2014 in Bike, In Transition
Tags: , , ,

I’ve discussed before some of the hazards of living and training in the country (click HERE) and yesterday during one of my bike rides – while not unique to the country – I discovered another: dogs.

It happens to every cyclist at some time or other.  Dogs are to cyclists what asshole drivers are to runners I expect.  Sooner or later you’re going to encounter them.  This certainly wasn’t the first time I’ve been chased by dogs and it probably won’t be the last either, but it was definitely one of the more, well, memorable…let’s put it that way.

It all happened innocently enough.

Sometimes when I’m out riding I like to explore a bit.  Lord knows there’s lots of room to roam out here with vast stretches of country roads, rural access routes, and hidden fire lanes; endless miles of them to be exact.  Each season I discover all new roads and even entire subdivisions that I never knew existed previously, and yesterday was one of these easy exploration rides where I don’t really have a predetermined route and I simply let the wind take me wherever it wants.

So at one point in my ride I decide to turn left onto a paved fire lane that runs along the lake and, hopefully, over to the next major road that runs parallel to the one I was currently riding (more on that in a moment).  Lots of these fire lanes have lots of really cool and beautiful cottages that I like to lust after so I really enjoy when I find new ones that are safe to take my road bike on. Lots are unpaved unfortunately, so for the time being they remain a mystery.

8n9reExcept two seconds after turning onto the lane, I am blindsided by Cujo who races up on my left from behind a bush and attempts to take a huge chunk out of my calf.

I’m sure every cyclist knows that instant rush of adrenaline when they realize that they are under attack and that ‘fight or flight’ impulse kicks in.  It plays out in our heads something like this:

“FUCK! PEDAL YOU BASTARD!  PEDAL!!”

So pedal I did…fast.

Except that another three seconds into the getaway and – BAM! – I was blindsided on the right side by Bride of Cujo who suddenly appeared from behind a parked car in the driveway of a house.

Now, remember that these rural fire lanes are very narrow – two cars can hardly pass one another – and here I am smack dab in the middle of a canine ambush; the filling in a ‘FML’ sandwich.

There was no time to douse either of them with my water bottle either as they were already on me and trying to chomp down on my furiously working legs – on either side mind you – so I simply did the only thing I could…I pedaled my ass off!   Eventually, I out-sprinted both curs but not until I had pretty much tapped into my top speed.  Good for me.  Only one problem…the fire lane was a dead end.  It did not connect up to the next major road like I had hoped.

Oh shit.

Fortunately, the dogs had given up the chase and returned to their original ambush positions.  So here’s where it get interesting.

I turned around and pedaled slowly and cautiously up the road looking for any sign of my aggressors. Thankfully, their owner had come out of the house and were standing in the front yard, apparently to see what all the commotion had been about.  Thank Christ.  So I called out to him:

“Hey, can you hold your dog’s so I can pass by?”

Simple request, right?   Surely they’d have no objection, right?  Wrong.  Think again.  The response stunned me.

“Oh, don’t worry. They’re friendly.”

Surely he jests.  Both mutts had just been snarling bloody murder and attempted to devour my legs and I’m supposed to believe they’re friendly?  I know how close I came to being the evening meal, thank you very much.  Ever seen the zombies eat the guts out of a fresh corpse on ‘The Walking Dead‘?

Yeah, that was almost me.

Now, don’t get me wrong, the owner was probably right and I don’t think the dogs were outright vicious.  Except when a dog sees a cyclists’ legs a-spinning away they think: “Oh boy! Get it!”  It’s a game.  It’s ingrained in their DNA.  I understand that. That’s why dogs chase cars.  I get it.  Having said that, I wasn’t about to tempt fate with another pass either, especially with both dogs now standing on guard in the front yard staring me down at full attention.

“I’d rather you held them please”, I hollered back.

Again…fair request, right?  Wrong.

“I said they’re fine. They won’t bite you”  was the response.

I was flabbergasted.

“They sure just tried their best mister”, I responded. “Please, just hold them for me will ya?” 

I was basically pleading by this point.

“Well it was your fault for going too fast. You scared them when you speed up. You were going too fast.”

Surely this fuckstick was joking.

He wasn’t of course.

“I sped up because they were trying to bite me”, I answered back.

What was this guys’ issue with holding his dogs anyway?  Who does that?  I’m being nice here, aren’t I? So here I am trapped in a dead end lane being held hostage by Captain Numbnuts and his Hounds from Hell.

Awesome.

Again the dipshit countered with the incredulous reply: “I said they’re friendly.”

Now, just because you say they’re friendly doesn’t necessarily mean it’s so and the chances are that he just missed seeing his pooches trying to make short work of my legs altogether, so I’m not at all confident about my chances of riding past them again safely.  So by now I’m pissed and feeling pretty threatened.

“Clearly you missed them chasing and nipping at me.  Look, hold your damn dogs…please!”

I admit it…I was losing my cool and just wanted this standoff to finish so I could go on my way.

“Remember, you’re a guest here”, he said.

Is he fucking kidding me?  This is fucking ridiculous.  Since when am I a “guest” simply by riding down a road?  Public roads are public thoroughfares…for everybody…I don’t have to be fucking invited.  I might have pointed out that if I was in fact a ‘guest’, then holding me hostage at the end of the road surely wasn’t going to win him any hospitality awards but I thought better of it.  I doubt he would have saw the irony in it anyway.

Anyway, by this time, seeing as how this exchange was happening some 100m  apart, his wife had now appeared on the scene and decided to join the verbal foray.

“They just don’t know you. You should have stopped to get to know them”, she quipped angrily.

Oh.  My.  Fucking.  God.

And when was this exchange of pleasantries supposed to occur, before or after they had feasted on me?  Likewise, by that same logic, if I stopped at every house on my runs and rides on the off chance they had a dog I should first make friends with so that I could pass safely then I’d never get any freakin’ where.  My brain was starting to spiral out of control.

“Look, are you going to hold you dogs or not?”, I asked.

“I said before, they’re friendly. I don’t need to”.

So what choice did I have?  I figured I had to call his bluff, except, I had literally clipped in and took two slow pedal strokes carefully in their direction when Cujo bolted back out into the road to block my path once again growling menacingly.  Clearly he was not done with this game yet.  I stopped.  What had we had now was a classic Mexican standoff in the middle of nowhere.  Of all the times not  to have a cell phone.

“Look, if you don’t control your dog I’m calling the Humane Society.  Whether you like it or not I am allowed to ride on this road, your dogs, however, are not allowed to roam free off leash and chase people.  It’s your choice!”

I was bluffing of course as I don’t carry a cell.

It’s not what I wanted to say, of course, but I also didn’t want to end up as the pu pu platter for his pooches either.  I would have rather told him what a vapid idiot I thought he was and proceed to dropkick him in the nut sack, but being out here in God knows where, well, I also don’t want my genitals to end up as a wind chime on his front porch either.

Thankfully, he idiot grabbed his mutt just before it decided to lunge at me again and his wife followed suite with the other dog.  I took the opportunity to sprint past, but not without seeing the dog practically drag its owner down the street after me.  But at least I was free.

Now don’t get me wrong…I’m not anti-dog, like, at all.  Dogs will be dogs.  What I am, however, is anti-asshole dog owner.  And these two fucktards just made the shortlist.

So I guess I can cross off that particular fire lane for future riding.

Save

Yesterday my girlfriend pointed out something completely disturbing to me; something that, for whatever reason, has so far managed to completely allude me.  Remember, I run, cycle and roam this entire area for at least 25k in all directions and, yet, somehow, I have never actually dialed into this heinous circumstance which, as it turns out, is all around.  Just thinking about it now is making me want to hurl.  Shit, I may never be able to run or ride in total peace ever again.

Before I get to the gory details, let’s remember where I live.  I live in Ridgeway, along the shore of Lake Erie and adjacent to Crystal Beach, the “South Coast of Canada”.  It’s beautiful here.  For my runs, there are numerous back roads and through fares along the lake’s edge and out into the surrounding cottage neighborhoods.  There is a lighthouse that I run to regularly and even beaches on which to train, if I so choose.  There is the Friendship Trail, a magnificent paved pathway that follows the old railway line from Port Colborne to Fort Erie.  For cycling, there are endless county roads and the Niagara Parkway that stretches all the way past Niagara Falls into historic Niagara-on-the-Lake and St. Catharines in the south of the Niagara Peninsula, and Lakeshore Rd. which, more or less, follows Lake Erie all the way through Low Banks and into to Dunnville before turning abruptly west towards Port Dover.  Or, I can keep more local and ride the back way into the surrounding townships of Sherkston, Bertie Township, or Stevensville.  Whatever it is I end up doing, let’s just say that I have lots of room to roam.  So, now that this god-awful abomination has been made aware to me I might now just have a tad bit more trouble enjoying any of it.

Are you curious yet?

Here it is:

Yesterday Kelly decided to go for a walk.  I think she went to the store to check some lottery tickets (we’re forever hopeful if anything) and otherwise get out to enjoy the evening while I napped on the couch with the kid while watching ‘The Nature of Things’.  Anyway, upon her return she announced that she was particularly disturbed to see little baggies of dog shit hanging everywhere.  Really?  Why haven’t I noticed these?

“Yes”, she continued.  “There are bags of dog poop hanging from tree branches all along the Friendship Trail.”

It is kind of gross when you think about it, but I also figured that she might be exaggerating just a wee bit given she didn’t stray very far from home, so I decided to check it out today while out for one of my easy afternoon runs.

Low and behold, my sweetheart was not wrong or exaggerating…in the slightest.  Nasty.

That’s not fruit.

There they were, dozens upon dozens of little black and white baggies all neatly strung up to any nearby tree branch which just happened to be within an easy arms reach from the paved trail like some sort of perverted Christmas bauble.  And not just along the paved Friendship Trail either, but along actual wooded streets and roadsides.  Good lord, these bundles of feces were absolutely everywhere!  Maybe I was just choosing not to notice them before, but there will be no avoiding them now.  Gross.

Before today I would have told you that dog walkers here in the area are absolutely fastidious about cleaning up after their pets as it’s very seldom I ever come across a pile of shit, much less a freshly squeezed turd along the trail or roadways.  I do sometimes stumble across (or around for that matter) some country hazards like piles of horse shit out on some of the back roads but that’s entirely expected when out running in farming areas.  But dog shit?  Almost never!  Turns out that while the locals have been great at picking up their dog shit, what they haven’t been so diligent about is actually carrying it home with them, or otherwise disposing it thoughtfully or environmentally.

I get it, I wouldn’t want to carry around a bag of hot dog shit with me either but, hey, that was their decision when they decided to be a dog owner.  What I really don’t get is why bother going through all the indignity and trouble of scooping up their beloved animal’s dooky, only to place it in a specifically allocated plastic bag and then affix it to nearby shrubbery.  That shit makes no fucking sense!  Where is it going to go?  What then?  Is there some sort of “Dog Shit Fairy” that I don’t know about?

Seriously, I spotted enough bags today along the Friendship Trail today to decorate the Times Square Christmas tree.  How’s that for a disturbing image?  Is there some sort of traditional or cultural significance like people will come to whack at them like a piñata or something?  Is this a type of geocaching?  After all, there are garbage cans provided at most entrances and exits to the trail, so why not just ditch them in there?  I’m totally stymied.

The worst thing is that there is absolutely nothing I can really do about it.  I’m hardly going to go collect them all myself and dispose of them, am I?   Shit no!  I’d need a much bigger vehicle than I have now.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to cry foul if dog walkers are letting their pooches poop off to the side of the trail in the woods, etc., that shits organic, besides, squirrels and deer are dropping deuces in there already, so what’s another pile of turd?  Heck, even if you’re going to scoop it up and leave it there to collect on your way back home, okay, maybe, but if you’re conscientious enough to clean it up then, for fuck sakes, do something with it apart from tying it up for all to see and then simply forget about it.  These people deserve a dropkick to the trachea.

DSCF1364

Exhibit A, or the ‘Big Bag of Evil’

The worst offender I saw today was a large menacing white bag tied alongside the road with what looked like the end remains from a T-Rex that had obviously been frozen and thawed out about a zillion times in the past few weeks so that it now looked like an enormous water balloon of evil.

Imagine the outcry if I decided to do something like that!  Yeah, picture it: I’m mid-run and suddenly overcome with the urge to pinch a loaf.  Instead of quickening my pace home, stop and farting it out, or suffering the cramps, I decided instead to drop my tights and crap into a plastic shopping bag and then tie it with a bow to the nearest post, tree branch, or fence.  How do you think that’s likely to go over?  Even if I intended to come back and reclaim it to bring home and throw it out in a bin, the act is likely to still be frowned upon.

So what does any of this have to do with running, triathlon, or even a healthy lifestyle?  Well, nothing.  It’s just something that has only recently revealed itself to me that I can begin stressing over now that the nicer weather is back and more and more people are out enjoying it.  It pisses me off now that my nice, relaxing afternoon runs of enjoying the weather and the birds singing also means that I inevitably have to put up with bags of dog shit silently swinging in the breeze as well.

Oh joy.

  • Long Run (click to see stats & route)
  • 25k (2:26:05)
  • Avg. Heart Rate = 150 bpm
  • Max. Heart Rate = 168 bpm
  • Avg. Pace = 5:51 /km
  • Max. Pace = 4:18 /km
  • Calories = 2671
  • Temp = -16 º (w/ 90 kph gusts of wind)
  • SOTD: ‘Truckin’’ by The Grateful Dead

When it comes to winter running, sometimes I think ‘whatever doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger’, and then sometimes I think ‘you’re an idiot’.  But, hey, training schedules are training schedules and if I changed the plan every time the weather changed for the worse, I’d get nowhere…fast…especially these days.  So when the weather turns really shitty, I bundle up, load up the iPod with good tunes, put on my best brave face, think the happiest of thoughts, and head out anyway; time to get ‘er done.

I’ve discussed before the merits of braving the elements versus playing it safe (click HERE), but things have changed significantly for me since then.  First, I’ve moved into a more rural area.  Once I’m out…I’m pretty much committed as there are no short cuts home.  In fact, sometimes the way back might prove to be even more treacherous than sticking to the planned route.  Furthermore, sometimes the weather takes a turn for the nasty while  you’re out and now you have no choice but to ‘embrace the suck’ and continue on.  Secondly, I’m infinitely tougher, both mentally and physically, than I was back when I first contemplated this dilemma so I’m less likely to pack it in or abandon my run altogether if it’s not, like, 100% impossible outside (think: tornadoes, volcanoes, lightning storms, real ‘End of the World’ type stuff).  But that’s not necessarily a good thing either.

Anyway, I have noticed one peculiar thing lately while out braving the winter weather and, honestly, it doesn’t really have much to do with me, like, at all.  Living out here in Ridgeway, I have found most people – motorists I’m talking about – to be very be respectful of runners.  I chalk it up to being out more in the rural countryside versus the normal rat race lifestyle of the city.  For the most part, drivers slow down, move over and otherwise let me pass safely.  That’s awesome.  I typically offer a friendly wave as a thank you as I like to propagate that kind of behavior and, more often than not, that gesture is returned with a smile and a similar wave.  But, when the weather turns shitty, those return waves are not always given quite so willy-nilly anymore.  No, suddenly, there is a chill in the air and I don’t just mean in the air temperature either.  In fact, my friendly gesture of thanks is now typically returned by a vigorous shaking of the head as if to say ‘what an idiot’  or – quite often – that universally recognized one-finger salute; yup, by those same people.  So, besides the weather, what’s changed to orchestrate such a turnaround in attitude?

While I will agree from time to time that I am, in fact, an idiot for being out in the conditions I am sometimes, does that really deserve such an angry 360° response by motorists?  Hey, I pay city taxes like everybody else and – last I heard anyway – I have every right to use those same roads that motorists do, whether I’m driving, running, or cycling for that matter.  Shit, I can crawl through the streets if I chose to.  Besides, it doesn’t seem to be a problem when the weather is nice, so what’s their beef all of a sudden when the weather is not so nice?  It is ‘all bets are off’ and we assume a ‘survival of the fittest’, or ‘every man for himself’  kind of mentality?  Surely that can’t be the case is it?

Is it because I have to sometimes run a little further out in the road since typically the roadsides are either covered in 2ft. snow drifts or coated in 2 inches of icy slop?  Is that the issue?  Or is it because the motorists are suddenly, for whatever reason, in a huge hurry to get somewhere that they otherwise wouldn’t have to be when it’s nice out and having to slow down a wee bit for me is some enormous inconvenience?  And why is it that motorists seem to be driving faster than usual on shitty weather days?  I mean, it slippery as fuck out, shouldn’t you be slowing down anyway?  That’s the SMART thing to do.  Seriously, I had a pick-up truck pass by so close to me today going at least 30km/h  faster than the speed limit allows.  Where’s the sense in that?  And I get the big ‘fuck you’  thrown in my face?  Huh?  Really?

Once, I even had a passing driver stop altogether, roll down the window and proceed to scream at me for even being out in the first place.  I guess when it snows, unless you have a vehicle, you’re not allowed to leave the home.  His logic seemed to stem that I shouldn’t be running against traffic but on the other side with the traffic.  Yeah, right!  Hey, asshole, given there are morons out there like you with no respect for my safety, I tend to prefer having you well in my sights as you approach rather than take the chance of you sneaking up behind me and mowing me down.  Capeesh?  Your behavior actually validates that I made the right choice about which side of the road to run on.  And it’s not like there are sidewalks out here 95% of the time so, yes, I run on the road against traffic and I do make every attempt to get onto the side of the road for passing motorists, but sometimes that’s just not possible when the weather is shitty.  Hey, blame Mother Nature…not me.

I guess their argument is that it’s not safe to be out at all.  Maybe that’s it?  But I look at it like this now, if it’s so unsafe to be out…why are they?  Am I supposed to curb my activity so everyone else can carry on with theirs without the inconvenience of my (seemingly) getting in their way?  Maybe, they’re in my way?  It’s all a matter of perspective, isn’t it?  What I do know, is that taking hairpin corners on country roads in excess of the speed limit isn’t particularly safe either is it?  No.  Likewise, if I took to assuming that logic of not leaving the house because it was “unsafe”, I’d never leave the house.  ‘Fitness’, after all, is not just acquired in the nice weather.

Let’s get something straight, you don’t have to agree with me on this – like at all – that’s okay.  But, hey, that also doesn’t give you (the driver) the right to suddenly turn into the Grim Reaper and throw caution to the wind in regards to my safety.  Don’t be a jack ass.  Think.

Personally, I just don’t see why we all can’t all just agree to slow down when the weather turns foul, be safe, and get to and from wherever we’re going, despite how we might choose to get there, and simply arrive alive?  Why the winter rage?