This Thursday I talked to Rob, one of my friends from work who I’ve been aggressively recruiting for the Rambles since last summer, about going out on a long weekend ride. He asked me about my 54 miler out of the city and I said we should get up early to ride it on Saturday or Sunday. He had no free time on Sunday and morning commitments on Saturday but said that maybe he’d run it in the afternoon. I joked with him about not being flexible enough and ‘missing out’ on the good time to ride it earlier in the day and we parted ways. I also said if I was getting back in the area around the time he was leaving maybe we could cross paths and I’d loop around to ride back out with him a little bit. Figured that wouldn’t happen, but wouldn’t hurt to mention it.
Meanwhile, my Utilitaire 12 efforts for the week have been on the skids. I scuttled my attempts at a long ride through the park on the way to work Friday by not waking up early enough to give myself time to enjoy said long ride. I stared at the list Friday evening and just couldn’t materialize any trip to any establishment that would lead me outside of the house this weekend. I was up before 6 on Saturday but listening to the wind pummel our house was enough to make me change my mind about wanting to ride my 54. I got up about an hour later, had breakfast and decided to roll around the neighborhood for a while. I did that and ended up stopping at the Wine Source on the way home for spirits. Score, so I have a utilitaire for the day. Uninteresting in every way, but it was 7 miles and I had a picture.
Once I got back I left a message on Rob’s phone at 10 telling him that I’m around and decided to be a slug who didn’t go anywhere of consequence this morning. After not hearing back for 5 minutes I figured that’s that. His back pocket rang thrice while he was on a ride and I’d get an email Monday morning with tales of adventure and heroism. I finished off the morning and didn’t think about leaving the house again until he rang me back at about noon to ask me what’s up. His morning schedule got tossed around and he was getting ready to leave the house. Was I still up for it? Well my initial reaction after being out this morning to get pummeled by the wind was not really, but I’m not one to discourage others so I said “hell yes I am.” We decided to meet at the Common Ground in half an hour. He lives downtown and I live less than 2 miles away, so I grabbed my stuff and ran out the door.
trucker & java
icy camera phone java panda
Arriving earlier I went inside to get a cup and went back outside to drink while I waited. I had to put my helmet on the ground because the wind was kicking up so much that it was blowing it off the table. I sat there for a few minutes with my chair tucked up against the building and with each passing minute the thought of riding seemed more and more ridiculous. Earlier I had worn a windbreaker and jeans over the layers I had on but left them off because I thought to myself “It’s the afternoon, and it’s warmer out”. Wrong. I finished my cup and got up to walk around and keep the blood flowing. Good thing I did because Rob was waiting at the corner of 36th & Chestnut for me — which I had identified as the closest intersection. We’re ready to roll.
We started off riding north on Roland which was sort of into the wind. Every now and then one of the big gusts would get caught between the buildings and knock us one way or the other. At this point I was further questioning my sanity. From there we cut across to the Homeland neighborhood and continued out of the city along Bellona. The wind was in our face, but not too bad at this point. We crossed Charles St. and took the biggest descent of the day down Bellona. Even with my sunglasses my eyes were watering like crazy so I have no idea how bad it was for Rob — he left his at home by mistake. Climbing back up Thornton and Jenifer kept us warm as we rode into the wind. Rob was making fun of the different flourishes I used when I wag my finger at obstacles in the road. From there we looped around the Five Farms Golf Course at Mays Chapel Road and prepared for another descent. We coasted for half a mile, intersected with Seminary, took it over to Falls and headed straight for home — now with the wind pretty much at our backs. The last climb was up Hollins Ave. and Lake. I asked Rob if he wanted to ride any of the weekly hill climb route for ‘bonus points’, but we sort of mutually agreed that we’d had our fill for the day. Now it was time for our reward of beer and a burger or the ‘lunch’ part.
We ate, we drank, we talked and then it was back home into the wind. We spent an hour in the restaurant, but my hands were freezing cold in only the 10-15 minutes it took me to get home. A good ride. Only 24 miles, and the wind blew, but it was totally totally worth it. I know it doesn’t fit perfectly with the utilitaire controls, but I figure it’s ok because no matter how you slice it, I’ve got a few miles of travel ‘to and fro’. It was much more interesting to write about than my trip to the Wine Source.
Control# | Type: 5 | Breakfast or Lunch (Coffeeneur with Lunch)
Date | Week: 2/25/2012 | week 4
Distance: 24 miles – 1.8 to the Common Ground on 36th st., 20.7 to Lunch, 1.5 home.
Where: Common Ground on 36th for Coffee, then Alonzo’s on Cold Spring for Lunch.
What did I learn? Many things. Rob’s a much stronger rider than he’s letting on. I was reminded of the fact that sometimes nice rides happen on lousy weather days (wind ranks higher on my $#!t list than rain does…). Wind exacerbates the snot machine that is my nose while riding. Also, the bridge leading into the front end of Robert E. Lee Park is officially open for business.
Here’s the route. (just mapped – not ride data)