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My Top Three Most Embarrassing Sports Moments: #3, Part II

June 1, 2010

You may or may not have seen the “teaser” I mentioned previously about my sports embarrassment.  If not, and you’d care to catch up, click here.  If not, I challenged anyone to guess what happened to make this dent in the top tube of my single-speed road bike:

Dented tube, dented pride...

One of you guessed “shut the garage door on it”.  Nope.  A couple of years ago, I installed my shiny new roof rack on my car, and loaded up my fixed-gear bike to drive to the Superdrome velodrome in Frisco, TX to get in some laps and a good workout.  I had to stop at the bank quickly, before I left and, drove through the aptly-named “drive-thru” and caught my stem on the cement overhang.  This somehow (I can’t yet work out the physics in my head) pulled the forward towers of my rack loose from the car, scratching the roofline mightily, wherein the rack, bike and all, flipped up, striking the top tube to the back corner of the cement overhang, causing the dent, amid a sickening scrape-bang! sound, all in about 1.2 seconds.

What Now?

I don’t know if you have ever had the necessity to get out of the car when pulled into a bank drive-thru, but you are effectively blocked by the pneumatic money-transporting vacuum tube machinery.  I was barely able to scramble out of the driver’s side to assess the damage when the intercom came on and a teller said, “I saw you coming and tried to signal you…” which did nothing to quell the growing self-rage in my gut.  I quickly found myself unable to remove the bike because the trays had broken off so close to the quick-release.  The only option I had was to remove the broken rack tower by tower.  I worked in fuming silence, glancing to my left, where in the adjacent lane parked two teenage girls, laughing.  They apparently were finished with their banking business, but with four other lanes open, they chose to see just how an “adult” was going to handle the situation, observing while cackling uncontrollably.  I calmly made my way, loosening each tower enough that I could remove the bike and rack, lock, stock, and barrel.  This process took me roughly thirty minutes, after which, I burned holes in the teenagers with my eyes, who convulsed with laughter as they sped off.  It is truly shocking just how many vehicles visit a bank drive-thru in a half-hour, all of them looking my way, their faces all saying “Way to go, dumb-ass.”  I work in this town.  I can’t shatter the rear windshield of smarmy teenagers’ cars with a floor pump.  I can’t flip-off cars as they stream by.  I can only make myself as inconspicuous as possible, difficult in shiny lycra.  I pulled my baseball cap down below eyebrow level.

Discipline and Punish

As I drove away I was incensed at myself.  I had no convenient scapegoat to blame this on.  After I got home I tossed the injured rack in the trash pile in my yard, where the towers sat for months.  I punished it.  And myself–I decided I would suffer through months of disassembing my bike to carry it inside my car until I felt that I had been punished enough to order new bike carriers.  This took about five months before I reassembled everything.  I learned my lesson, however, and have now gone two years without incident.  The top two are soon to come.

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