Monday, December 17, 2007

Pedestrian zig-zag of doom, and shakedown ride

It warmed up nicely today. A freak heat wave kicked us up to 43 degrees this afternoon. Everyone, get ready to go swimming!

The walkways were melting a bit, too, so instead of trying to ride the craptastic gutter of Quivira, I took the pedestrian zig-zag of doom. First, you slog up the south side of the viaduct, then you apex it. And on your way down, you cross a funky intersection and then you run into this thing shown to the left, which as you can see is still covered in slush.

You can also see the switchbacks are pretty tight. They're navigable on a bike without dismounting, but only just.

Once you get through the first level, most of the path is clear. As you weave your way back and forth down (or up) this huge ramp, you feel like you're in some kind of a rat maze. A swath of concrete forty-eight inches wide sits between cyclone fence; As you look down the ramp it seems to get narrower. The harsh electrical hiss of the sodium light ballasts grabs your attention.

It's hard to tell from here, but from top to bottom is about 40 feet of elevation. Back and forth, back and forth. Occasionally, you'll get to look in awe at the tops of train cars as they pass almost directly adjacent this ramp. The deplorable din of 12,000 horsepower worth of generators, gnashing box-car couplings, and flat-spotted steel wheels clunking and shrieking on iron rails echoes and resounds in the concrete chamber, shaking your very soul. But not today, thankfully.

The monday night ride was of small turnout. Vivek brought his singlespeed Fetish CX bike, and his friend brought a similar one. Another guy (sorry, I'm forgetting names) was on a mountain bike. I was on the trusty Sorrento.

I had some tweaks to make before I could take off. The rear brake needed tightening. The stem was just a teeny bit off-center resulting in slightly crooked handlebars, and I wanted to pump my knobbies up very firmly before embarking on a ride on plain old clean pavement. Vivek's friend was shaking down the CX bike on its maiden voyage as well. We rode a few miles, mostly just to see a little neighborhood that decorates the hell out of everything (they call it Candy Cane Lane) and then around some other neighborhoods.

Sorry for the light pollution. I had the camera on my saddle in timed mode. It took a picture just as a car approached with its lights shining right at me.

We logged a mere 4 miles by the time we got back, but that's okay. It was fun. Mark (our usual ride leader) was inside the restaurant we usually meet at, having a business meeting. I grabbed a plate of nachos and talked with Mark for a bit after he was done with business. Mostly about the epic Cyclocross nationals.

Next Monday is Christmas eve. The one following that is NYE. There won't be another official Monday night ride until January 7th. That said, it sounds like there might be a pretty serious showing on that first ride to kick off the new year. I'll have details as they become available.

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