Special Ed

Been a while since I posted anything about my whole learning to swim and bike thing, and I guess since I started I might as well post an update.

I’ve been biking now for a couple months, a couple times a week. Still sticking to off-road trails since I don’t feel up to dealing with traffic yet, and fortunately there are a ton of bike trails around Vancouver to accommodate me.

The couple times I have ridden on asphalt or cement, I was amazed by how much easier it is than riding on gravel or mulch, but hey, I’m looking to build fitness so that’s not a bad thing. If I do all my riding on gravel or mulch, then when I do my first triathlon in the spring [there’s a couple different length options for the out at UBC in March], it’ll be a piece of cake to do the asphalt bike course.

Kinda reminds me about when one of my friends who’d only ever played steel string acoustic guitar tried an electric for the first time and her eyes bugged out at how much easier and more comfortable it was to play than her own guitar.

Anyway, considering that I previously hadn’t ridden a bike since elementary school, I’m doing pretty good, although the whole helmet thing has taken some getting used to. Now, I wear the damn thing, and I understand how important it is, but I still can’t shake feeling like Special Ed from Crank Yankers:

Maybe the next time I get stuck behind a group of pedestrians walking 6 abreast on the dike and refusing to move over I can just yell out a Special Ed-like “YAAAAAAAAYYYY!!!” and see if that startles them enough to scatter them and create a path through.

In swimming news, I’m rocking the side stroke and back stroke and more or less have the front crawl sorted out, though it’s still a lot more flailing than smooth moving. Still. Progress.

Anyway, I got to thinking now that I have those down and have a routine going of swimming 3 times a week and biking twice, I figured it might be fun to take on another challenge.

And I recalled that I have been on roller skates since the second or third grade, when my best friend and I used to go to the local Stardust roller rink [back when such things existed and existed close by]. My roller skating ended one day when some bigger kids shoved us down. My friend was able to fall cleanly, I came down funny on my right ankle and got a hairline fracture and crutches for weeks and weeks.

By the time it healed, I think I might have tried a couple more times but never quite felt comfortable enough on skates and of course there was the worry about getting something else busted.

Anyway, now that I’m full-grown and quite capable of inflicting severe retribution anyone who would even try to bust my ankle in such a fashion, I’m thinking it’ll be fun to take up quad roller skating and start showing up to the Raw Meat Vancouver drop-in lessons. Will be getting skates and safety gear later this week.

In the meantime I’ve been googling, and I think I’ve figured out one of the major problems that led to the busted ankle. Seems roller derby girls never skate standing straight up as we were told to do, and I clearly remember doing right before getting hit, they stay low in a squat or at the very least stand up with bent knees and hips ready to move defensively or “clench and pick a side” when falling, and they learn how to fall safely. [Busted bones of course still happen in roller derby, but that’s a little different, and it’s a known possible outcome in a game played by adults who know what the risks are. And since part of the whole sport is blocking and hitting, it’s not so much of a surprise as it was for me just trying to totter around the perimeter of the rink minding my own business.]

And hey, it’s one more venue for me to wear my Special Ed helmet and possibly yell “YAAAAYYY!!!” at inappropriate times.