Music is evil

Eye-catching title, isn't it?  I admit, I listen to my iPod shuffle at times (mostly when I travel) but until I entered the portable music world last year, I never even thought of popping the earphones in during a training session.  Sure, I have used music as a motivator during some runs in the past (there is actually some research that supports the benefits) but haven't in some time.  I think this is mostly due to my re-connection with nature that I experience when I am out running in the stunning Colorado landscape.

It wasn't until yesterday morning that I became an advocate of absolutely NO MUSIC during exercise.  Not for myself since I don't but for others.  You will understand why in the next few sentences and I must first apologize if I sound harsh but quite honestly, my point is meant to come off with a strong purpose.

My oldest son had a basketball game on Saturday morning so I decided to sneak in an opportunity to get on my bike and ride the 15 miles to the game.  I chose to ride my mountain bike because there is a bit of loose gravel around.  As I navigated my way to the very popular concrete bike path (C470 bike path for those living around Denver), which by the way is wide enough to ride 2-3 side by side, I saw a runner a couple of hundred yards ahead of me.  As I normally do before approaching a person while on a bike, I began to slow and gave the courteous "on your left" as I went to pass him.  In a few short seconds after that, I was lying on the ground looking at the cloudless blue sky wondering why I wasn't on my bike anymore.  The runner, out of the blue, decided that he wanted to be on the left side of the bike path versus the right and instead of looking back first, he immediately merged which of course, led to a "nice" encounter between human and mountain bike.

As I stood up feeling a warm sensation oozing from my nose (yes, blood) and a terrible headache beginning to form, this runner stood up and asked if I was okay.  I was a bit confused as my helmet did lightly kiss the pavement and looking at him, I noticed he was taking his earphones out of his ears.  Although it takes quite a bit to get me fired up, my Italian temper began to surface and before I did something that I would end up regretting later, I dusted off some vocabulary I haven't used since before having kids and communicated for a brief 10 seconds before also realizing that I didn't want to be late to my son's first basketball game.  

As I continued on my ride for the next 20 minutes spitting blood (sorry for the visual), my blood pressure was increasing more and more thinking about how many times I have experienced gnarly terrain on my mountain bike on Colorado singletrack and managed to stay on the bike yet a very painful crash happened on a well-paved bike path with a runner.  I mean really, would anyone believe that I crashed because a runner jumped in front of me?  It still sounds silly even as I type this.

The morale of the story is not that music is evil but that people are drowning their surroundings with music and thus not paying attention to what is going on around them.  

Please, for the sake of everyone's safety, do not listen to music while exercising outdoors.  My throbbing nose and achy head thanks you.

Coach Bob