Kids, don't try this at home. It was as painful as it looks.
I rode almost 1,400 kilometers last year, and as far as I can recall, I didn't fall once.
I've already fallen twice this year.
The first time, last week, I hurt my pride.
The second time, this week, I hurt my elbow, my shoulder and my thigh.
My own damn fault.
I was out with Stewart for a short ride. It was a gorgeous day -- the sun was peeking through the clouds and, while it was still cold, the temperatures were much milder. But many of the trails were still packed with snow, or -- worse yet -- packed with snow that had melted and then froze overnight.
We were riding on a familiar trail somewhere behind Okoř. We'd been slipping and sliding all day, but had managed to stay upright.
I guess I got a little cocky and rode -- very slowly, I must say in my defense -- on some ice that had a slight slant to it.
My bike slid out from underneath me and I fell, hard, on my left side.
I've had a sore shoulder for the past few months -- some sort of rotator cuff problem, I believe -- and of course I fell on my sore shoulder. Cracked my elbow on the ice, too.
I just sort of lay there for a few moments and groaned.
Stewart asked me if I was OK, and when I moaned a few syllables to signal I was alive, he whipped out his iPhone and snapped a photo of me on the ice, just as I fell.
I look like a dead body.
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Our route on this day.
Earlier in the day, we'd met up at our usual meeting spot, what we call the Smallest Pub In The World, in Úholičky, and set off up the hill toward Tursko. Then through the villages of Kozinec and Holubice.
The sun was shining up above, but a strange, beautiful fog still shrouded the roads and forest paths.
As we pedaled through the soup, we marveled once again at the cool things we see when we're out riding. We're lucky guys.
Blue skies above, beautiful mist below. Scenes from our foggy ride (above and below).
We rode from Holubice through some farmer's fields and just sorta went wherever the trails and paths took us.
It was muddy. Wet and sloppy. What wasn't still frozen was soft and melted.
Riding behind Stewart's behind, I couldn't help but laugh. Without a back fender, the mud had splattered up on his pants and his saddle and it looked like he'd shat himself.
That's mud. Only mud.
Our bikes looked like they'd been dipped in melted chocolate.
We stopped in Okoř at the Family Hotel Okoř & Restaurant, as is our wont, for a hot bowl of soup and a coffee.
No beer for us on this day. We were both driving a bit later.
On our way out of Okoř, we noticed that 20 or so of the tall, beautiful trees that used to line the small lake on the outskirts of the village had been cut down.
Why? Why do something like that? It makes no sense.
And I have to say, this isn't the first time. Municipal authorities across the Czech Republic seem to cut down trees with no rhyme or reason. They seem to enjoy cutting down trees. They cut them down just to cut them down, for make-work. I've seen example after example of trees being removed for no apparent reason.
Sure, some of the trees may be diseased. But I think that's a small percentage.
I hate looking at this photo. Makes me sick.
I used to live on a street in Prague 6 called Pod Kaštany, or Under the Chestnut Trees. One day, a crew arrived and began using their chainsaws to cut down three or four huge, majestic chestnut trees. They had been deemed a danger of some kind. I'm sorry, but I just don't buy it.
I recall a big controversy in the big Prague square called Karlovo náměstí back in 1999 or so when a large number of old trees were removed to make room for some new landscaping, during which they planted some much smaller trees. Let's cut down old, beautiful trees so we can make room for saplings.
Anyway, if anyone knows why they cut the trees down along the lake in Okoř, please let me know.
What a shame.
Length of ride: 24 kilometers
Average speed: 13.3 kph
Maximum speed: 38.2 kph
Pivo Index: 0
Time on the bike: 1.45.18
Distance ridden so far in 2009: 85 kilometers
I thought it looked like these two trees were fiercely wrestling while trying not to get their feet wet in the mountain stream.