Friday, June 20, 2008

Easy riding

Thanks for the thoughts, prayers and kind words yesterday, in the comments and via e-mail. When I got home last night, my wife had been doing some research and found some stuff that will likely help us both. For the first time in quite a while, there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel for her wellness and my anxiety.

I couldn't find my speedometer as I left work. I rode home in regression mode without any instrumentation, including the wrist watch which I left at home. Mostly, on my homeward commute I pay attention to time. I'm not terribly concerned about getting the distance accurate, because I've taken this particular route enough to know it's 15.2 miles every single time.

Yesterday was also my last commute with Karen for a while. She's going on vacation with her husband for a few weeks. Also, as her job downtown is a seasonal one, she probably won't be working for too long after they get back from vacation.

Oddly enough, my lack of appetite yesterday really caught up to me. I started hitting the wall on Turkey Creek Trail. I didn't full-on bonk but I started to get numbness in the legs, tunnel vision, nausea and cold sweats. All that good stuff. I made it home just fine but had trouble hauling the bike up the stairs. A trip to BWW with some Spicy Garlic Wings, Jalapeno Cheese chips and an ice cold Killians fixed that pretty quickly.

Saw a nice sunset.

This morning, I rode at an easy pace to save my legs for later. There were two downhill exceptions. The first was on 67th. I took this as I crested the second downhill part:

And this as I coasted at 36 MPH. Notice the complete lack of spokes.

The second downhill exception was going north from Rainbow on Southwest Boulevard. I was zipping along at a nice 30 MPH pace, when I looked back and saw a guy on a mountain bike catching up with me. As he got closer, I saw he wasn't pedaling. Closer still, I heard the distinct whine of a 49cc gasoline engine being strained to the point of valve float. A small-displacement engine floating its valves makes a distinct noise, which sounds kind of like an overgrown mosquito on meth. Not that I know what that really sounds like. The mountain bike passed me at about 35 MPH, which wasn't too much faster than I was going. I dropped the hammer and latched on for a while, but let him go as the ground leveled out. I have to save SOME energy for the moon ride.

It's worth mentioning that engines do not last very long when you run them the way this guy was. I'd bet the thing would last darn near forever at 25 MPH, but wringing it out like this is a sure way to end up with a burned valve or a broken connecting rod. And if the con-rod breaks, this dude could end up with chunks of red-hot cylinder head in his crotch, if not getting maimed or killed by engine shrapnel. It's also worth mentioning that v-brakes on a 26" aluminum rim mountain bike wheel are not designed to make sustained, frequent stops from 35 MPH. He had trouble getting slowed down to make a turn up the road a ways. The guy is probably getting 20 MPG out of that thing the way he was riding it. Valve float kills an engine's efficiency. He'd be better off in a small SUV, really.

As Thursday seems to be severe weather day (for the last several weeks!), Fridays usually bring great sunrises.

It's that time of year again. A few more minutes and I'll be riding straight into the sun. As you know, this really sucks as traffic behind you is driving straight into the sun, and motorists are too busy squinting to see bicyclists.

... kinda like this.

Bazooka's is, as you could perhaps guess, a "Gentlemen's Club." The company I worked for some 8 years ago has an office directly out of frame to the right, and recently expanded to take up a few floors of the 12-story Mainmark building hiding behind Bazooka's. The building itself has been around since 1920 or so.

There are still a lot of miles to be ridden today. I'm just getting warmed up!

I'll keep my batteries charged and try to get some photos of the June Full Moon ride.

Random Tunage:
Lisa Loeb - Stay (acoustic)
Way Out West - UB Devoid

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