Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Metric Century, Interrupted

By noon on Sunday, I was ready for a vacation from my vacation. The skies were partly cloudy, temps were in the 80s and a pleasant breeze was coming out of the East. Without a solid destination on my mind, I decided I'd go out for a ride, and it didn't take me long to decide that I'd like to make a Metric out of it.

I took Santa Fe Trail Drive through Old Town Lenexa to get to Pflumm, then headed due south to 175th. At that point, I decided to let the breeze push me along.

175th St just West of Pflumm.

Many cyclists were out and about. I saw at least two dozen bikes on the road, and aside from two couples enjoying the day, the rest of them were loners in various states of discipline, from plain-clothes guys on cheap mountain bikes to time-trial-equipped Triathletes getting some training.

When you get down to 175th St, most of what you see is farmland, especially once you get away from the Eastern border of Johnson County (which is mostly cookie-cutter suburban sprawl)

With a tailwind, I was staying close to the speed limit along 175th. Too bad I got stopped by the train. 175th is known for its spacious, well-kept shoulders. This is a popular road for cyclists and is a stretch used very often on our Dark Side Rides.

Just a few hundred yards from Gardner city limit, I saw a dead armadillo on the shoulder. cDude and I saw one just north of Pleasanton on the 200k permanent last year, and fellow Great-Plains cyclist Dan Schmatz was taken out of commission by one on the inaugural Tour of Missouri. This is the farthest north I've ever seen one, though. I don't get all worked up about climate change, but this might be enough to make me think there might be more than meets the eye...

Another guy pulled over while I was taking a picture, and we talked for a while. He'd never seen one before, and he's lived in the area all his life.

On a bizarre tangent, my wife had me zoom into the armadillo to full resolution and whilst panning around the image, I saw a tattoo on the guy's leg. Below is a tight crop of the above photo.

It kind of freaked me out. "Kampf" is German for "Struggle" and I am guessing his whole tattoo says "Mein Kampf" -- the title of Adolf Hitler's semi-autobiography/manifesto which happens to be the calling of neo-nazism around the world. Therefore, I am deducing that the guy who stopped to admire the armadillo with me is likely some kind of extremist.

I'm not judging, because he seemed like a nice enough guy there talking to me, but I did find it interesting to catch it only much later. It's amazing the things you see in photos.

I had determined that I'd try to find a good impromptu route down to Hillsdale lake, so I turned south on Clare Road, just a ways after finding the armadillo. I'd eventually like to pack a night's worth of stuff onto my bike (tent, a light bedroll, some nourishment) and do a S24O at Hillsdale.

My "Metric" got cut to about half the length I was shooting for due to something back on the home-front, so I didn't find my way to the lake. That's okay, though. I don't get to go on many solo recreation rides just for the sake of riding, and this was a great way to decompress and free my spirit for a while on a beautiful Sunday afternoon.

This morning, my eyes popped open at 04:30 and I couldn't get back to sleep. Knowing I'd need it later on, I whipped up a pot of coffee. This mug was sent to me from two nice chaps in England who were working together on VNC at the time. Variants of VNC are still used today for remotely-controlling computers with a graphical interface.

In other geeky news: I finally got my MacBook back up to par thanks to my fellow bike fiend, The Clemonator, who's sadly laid up recovering from knee surgery. He upgraded his MacBook Pro's hard drive and gave me the sloppy seconds, a 200GBer that's more than ample for my needs. I'm finally back in action with all my photo editing goodies again!

100% relative humidity and a thick, misty fog made for sweaty pavement and a damp, yet not quite rainy ride this morning. I love mist. I hate road grime. Fenders rock my bike commuting world!

1 comment:

Darius said...

I would like to do an s24o to hillsdale as well. Badgerland had interest... maybe it needs formulating.

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