The Athlete Acknowledgement

My years biking may outnumber my years running, but nevertheless, I cannot help but notice how runners and bikers in passing greet one another. It’s what I like to call the Athlete Acknowledgement. You know, the nodding and hand signals you do to greet others you pass. It’s an unwritten rule of sportsmanship and athletic poise and politeness.

My running nods and waves tend to change, depending on my mood,  what I’m wearing, or how tired I am. When I’m wearing my infamous blue Red Sox cap running, and pass other runners or pedestrians, I will nod my head and smile, with a verbal greeting of some sort. My hand signals change, too. occasionally, I have a little flick of the wrist action if I’m tired, other times I’ll raise up two or three fingers and raise my lower forearm.When I bike, the same thing usually applies. I’ll nod with a “hi” added if the other cyclist is going slow enough to hear me. If they are zipping by, I’ll do a flip with a couple fingers, as to make sure I can still steer the handlebars of the bike.

No matter what, I always, always acknowledge the other person.

It drives me nuts when you pass someone and they do not say hello. I’m not sure if it is a generation thing–that young people nowadays are too encompassed in their Ipods or cell phones to be what I consider polite. Have you noticed this? Youngsters (I’ll take a stab and say in their teens) tend to divert their eyes and look at the ground when you pass and attempt to say hello. Whereas older folks are the complete opposite–they attempt to engage in conversation when they pass–even on a bike. I think they are simply grateful they can still move without an assistive device.

Now, what causes the other athletes to say hello to you? Is it out of  true courtesy and respect, and they are happy to see someone with similar crazy athletic behaviors as themselves? Or is it something else?

Oops, I think I made a wrong turn…

Within a week of first moving up to New York, and after driving down too many one way streets into Kingston Police (thank God they are forgiving of brand new out-of-state drivers), I decided that I should invest in a simple navigation system. It is a Garmin, and to this day I still follow the Australian Garmin Navigator Lady’s directions when I am driving anyplace new; except for when I forget to bring the system with me. (I cannot keep a straight face when I listen to that accent, it’s hysterical). But, the system is useless for when I go for bike rides or runs, because I don’t use it and tend to rely on my own internal navigation system, which is faulty at best. But despite my silent muttering of every swear word I know when I am lost, I’ve come to consider my inability to follow directions a blessing, and not a curse.

Let me tell you just a couple of reasons for why getting lost is a good thing:

1. Asking for directions is a great way to meet people. Today I had a general idea of where I wanted to go on my bike ride today, but, somehow, ended up completely lost. I happened to turn onto a side street and follow another cyclist, sped up so I was riding parallel him, and asked him for directions. We ended up having a short chat, and I learned that he had just completed a cross-country cycling trip. Such a pleasant fellow!

2. There is an unintentional bump in your weekly mileage. All my rides end up a couple of miles–or couple hours–longer than anticipated. But how can I complain when, at the end of the week, I see I rode an extra forty miles without knowing it?

3. You discover new ways of getting places. Had I not gotten lost on certain roads before, I would never know different routes existed. I know four different ways to get to Woodstock, New York, from where I currently live–all from getting lost!

4. You find out where to purchase specialty food items in your area. Had I not asked for directions, I would not know where to find “the best chocolates in the Hudson Valley” or where I could pick my own fruit in the Hudson Valley. FYI, according to the cyclist I met today, Krause’s Chocolates in Saugerties, New York, “are simply phenomenal.”

5. You learn which roads are acceptable to cycle/run on, and which ones should be reported to the NYS Department of Transportation for being complete pot-hole messes with no shoulder whatsoever.

As for the next time you are lost, think of it as a positive learning experience, not a nightmare.

Cycling Sunscreen Mishap

I guess my SPF 75 sunscreen didn’t work.

When was the last crazy post written?

September 2010

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