Day’s Verse:
Jesus, overhearing, shot back, “Who needs a doctor: the healthy or the sick? Go figure out what this Scripture means: ‘I’m after mercy, not religion.’ I’m here to invite outsiders, not coddle insiders.”
Matthew 9:12-13

Zillah turned out as challenging as I expected, with the added bonus of having Ian’s cold hit me on Wednesday. This is my second cold this spring, and I’m getting really tired of blowing my nose and having only about 60% of my normal amount of energy. So, Zillah: The summary is it was really difficult, and I’d rate it overall a mixed bag. Click below the fold for details.

Today, despite having a cold, I rode the basic Ramrod Training Series ride. It was only 67 miles and 3800′ of climbing, which I rode at an average pace of 17.2 mph. I took some decongestant before I left, hoping to avoid having to blow my nose constantly on the ride. The plus side of this was that decongestants make me hyper and I felt unnaturally good almost the entire way. I kept up with the fastest-paced group fairly easily and my legs felt great. About mile 45 my head started hurting again and I was ready for the ride to end. I didn’t ride up the Montreaux hill, which some people did as an extender, figuring that that’s the biggest, hardest hill around and I should probably let my body focus on beating this cold rather than dragging up a humongous hill mountain. Also I had a hard time breathing, thanks to congestion in my chest, and I think I’ll need my lungs functioning at 100% before I attempt Montreaux. Also I may need to get even lower gearing on my bike, or get a lot stronger. The down side of the decongestants was that I knew it was an artificial energy boost, not how I actually felt, so I didn’t really feel a sense of achievement at the end of the ride; and I still had to blow my nose all the time anyway.

Tonight Ian and I are joining my parents and some friends of theirs at a flamenco show. Should be interesting, assuming I can stay awake.

About Zillah.

1. We actually stayed in Toppenish. First of all, there was a Comfort Inn in Zillah, so I really wasn’t excited that we had reservations in a town a 10-minute drive away. Why not stay in the town we taught in? Anyway, the other thing about Toppenish is that it’s extremely depressing. The majority of the storefronts were blank and dark. Walking around town felt like walking around a ghost town. They make a big deal about all the murals, and sure enough, lots of the buildings do have neat murals painted on them. But the murals all glorify Toppenish’s Pioneer past. Paintings of horses and Wild West scenes abound. I was left feeling that Toppenish didn’t have a future, and its best days were behind it.

2. “We” was me and the Feet First trainer, Jen. We shared a room on Wednesday night. Thursday night I spent alone (I took a bath and walked around Toppenish, forming the above opinion). I like Jen and I like teaching with her, so that made the training somewhat more bearable. Even so, I honestly felt just tired. With getting this cold and having spent most of last week in Pomeroy, I was ready to stay home and spend time with Ian. Instead I was in Zillah.

3. The class was the rockiest I’ve ever had, and the pain is not quite done yet. All the participants wanted to be Traffic Skills certified in the worst way, but none of them even owned bikes. They weren’t sure which side of the road a bicycle user should ride on, and one gal had never learned how to ride a bike at all — not at all. None of them felt comfortable enough to raise the seat to anywhere near the right height for good knee extension, because that would mean your feet can’t easily reach the ground while you’re sitting on the seat. TS101 certification means you have demonstrated a certain facility with the bicycle, and I honestly couldn’t say any of them got close to that facility during the two-day training. What a horrible position for me to be in: How do I give them the chance to be certified but not compromise my integrity?

Needless to say, the traffic law portion of the class, which I do by having people act and talk out various scenarios with mini-bikes in a model intersection, did not go as smoothly as usual. Normally people have some idea how bicyclists should behave, but I think these participants literally had no conception of anything to do with bikes before I came in. That’s sure how it felt. They all had a good attitude and engaged in the class, but by the end of Thursday I was exhausted — and still had Friday to go.

Fortunately Day 2 usually goes more smoothly than Day 1, and that was mostly true with this training as well. We watched the video and then went out for the “road ride.” They were really anxious about it, and had expressed extreme reservations about riding in town (too many cars) or out of town (no space on the road for bikes, high speed limits). Plus, it was 6 people, and that’s about as many as I can handle as a solo LCI. Everybody did beautifully, though; one of the joys of teaching this class is watching people transform from tentative, fearful, uncertainty to riding safely and predictably. Three of the six said they planned to try to work biking into their lives more after the class. That makes up for so much.

Then we went through the kids’ curriculum lesson plans. When they read through them, their comments started to alarm me: Each person said “I’d split this lesson into two or three classes,” and by the end they’d decided it would work better as a 6- to 8-week unit. They didn’t think they could do it this school year. In past classes, I’ve kept very hands-off for this portion of the lesson and I tend to defer to their teaching expertise. They’re the PE teachers, and they know their students; I can’t come in and pretend to be an expert on that aspect of the training, when I patently know way less than they do. I kept hands-off during this training, too, but I’m afraid it may have been a mistake. They have bikes and a trailer. What if, because of the way they interpreted the lessons and because I didn’t correct them, they end up doing something totally off?

4. I mentioned that it’s not over yet. Part of how I dealt with the certification issue was I decided to email each participant individually to tell each what they need to work on in order to be certified. So I have to email them that. They’ll have to send me videos of themselves completing the skills successfully and then I’ll have to send them certificates. Makes me tired just thinking about it. However, I don’t have any work for the foreseeable future, so I suppose that’ll give me a trickle of work.

One thought on “Yet Another Cold

  1. Sounds like you made the best of a less than great situation. (The lack of bike knowledge by the participants, I mean.)

    I hope you can rest up some or you may have a hard time getting over your cold. Feel better soon!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.