Yet Another Thing To Try - 05.31.99

Over this last weekend (this would explain why I'm running a little behind this week), I went on my first real vacation since I had joined the work force about two years ago out of college. Sure, I had taken days off and with my job had almost a week of free time last holiday season, but I hadn't ever really taken more than a day or so with the express purpose of going somewhere other than where I lived.

A couple months ago, the topic arose and I decided to do something about it finally. Although it wouldn't be a very long trip (3 days off, plus a weekend and Monday off as a holiday), but I was going to get in my car and road trip somewhere else. Plans were made and finally Colorado was decided on as a destination (I live in Nebraska in case you were wondering). It was a location that was a good distance away, but not so far that I wouldn't be able to pull off the drive in the amount of time that I had off from work without spending all my time on the road. Also in it's favor, I'd been there before and knew that there were tons of things to do out there. Granted, I could probably do the same things here, but the whole purpose behind the trip was to actually get out and go. Not to mention, the weather would probably be a lot nicer there.

Bags packed and bikes loaded on the car, I set out with a good friend of mine straight into the wind. We went through rainstorms and sunshine and eventually made it to our destination. My arse hurt from driving for nearly 10 hours straight, but I still felt like sitting down once I got there. After moving the bags and things into the place we were staying, I plopped down on the sofa and breathed in a couple lungfulls of thinner air. After only an hour or so there, I felt a little light-headed (a feeling that continued until the next morning). It was kind of like being tipsy without having drunk anything to have gotten you to that point.

The next day we hiked for almost 4 hours, then relaxed and watched a movie (one of 3 foreign films in 3 nights). When we woke up the next morning, it was raining, so we decided to walk around the town a bit and hope that things cleared off so we could go biking later. I had remembered my brother telling me about a cheap used sporting goods store, so we decided to stop by and check it out on our walking trip.

Once inside, we stopped in the rollerblade section and for some reason or another I got totally interested. I had tried it only once before while in college, but remembered having a great time doing it. The shop was selling nice, used pairs for only 20 dollars a pair, so after finding a pair that fit and spinning around the store several times, we both decided to purchase some to go later. It was kind of an impulse buy, but for the amount of money that we spent, it really wasn't anything that would come back to haunt our credit-card bill later. I wasn't sure whether it was something that I'd really get into or not, but I figured that it might be a really good exercise to offset with my bicycling during the summer.

The rain stopped a little later and we went out on the bike trail near where we were staying. My friend picked it up a lot better than I did and the first few blocks it was pretty shaky going for me. I kept feeling like I was either going to go off the path or fall backwards, but I didn't actually fall on the ground until I tried to do a spinning stop that had looked so easy when others did it. Of course, when I tried, I spun around backwards and landed flat on my back.

I wasn't going that fast, however, and it ended up being a lot more funny than anything else. We continued on our way and didn't see hardly anyone on the way (which is good, considering how silly a tall, lanky flailing mofo like me looked like trying to keep his balance). As a taller-than-average person, I quickly found out that my center of gravity was a lot higher as well. I seemed to do the best while crouching over a bit and I kept my arms out in a monkey-like way to help myself balance.

On the way back, I was feeling a little bit more confident again and I decided to try to jump one of the puddles I had simply swerved around on the way out. I actually completed the manuever just fine, but once I landed, my left leg started going all fishy and I again spun around an slammed into the ground. This time I hit a bit harder and took a small chunk out of my thumb. It was bleeding, but it was fine by me. It would be a good reminder of learning during the next week or so.

We made it back without further incident and the next day we took off to visit a friend in another town. After staying there a day, we again headed back and my friend flew out the following morning before I went into work. When I got home, everything seemed lonely and quiet without them, but I thought of one thing that might help me get it all out of my mind. I strapped on the rollerblades and headed out onto the town, only my third time on them.

Fortunately, I felt more steady on my feet with every block that I went. I still didn't feel that safe cruising in the streets (although the side streets weren't too bad), and most sidewalks I went down were far too uneven for gliding along on with much speed. Finally, I cruised into a nearby parking garage and skated all the way to the top (7 levels). Once I got there, I went around and around in circles, turning corners, coming to stops and even trying little jumps when I got a lot of nerve. There were only two parked cars to dodge and there was absolutely nobody else to see me or get in the way.

Zooming around, I tried to concentrate on the exact behaviors of the skates when I did certain things and focus on how I could better control them. By the end, I had gone up and down levels several times and was getting fairly tired. I went to the top one more time to wear myself out a little more then let loose and cruised clear to the bottom. I got going faster than I ever had before and I only came close to crashing once around a corner when I hit a bit of car leakage gunk. I had fallen on my bootie much earlier in the evening, but overall I was feeling good and in much less of a bummy mood than before. It would be awhile before I felt completely steady on them, but I had gained quite a bit in the garage and found a great place to practice. Hopefully, I don't get in trouble for it.