08 March 2011

Bike commute day 3, to work

Temperatures: 34°F at 07:10, 36°F at 09:10
Clothing: Top with 3 layers (longsleeve poly-Spandex Reebok shirt, longsleeve skinsuit, closely-woven wool-acrylic cycling jacket); Bottom with 2 layers (skinsuit, Lycra tights); ankle socks; quilted gloves. (Cool, but comfortable body.)
Time: 0:53:xx for 12.5 miles

I opened this posting at 07:10 or 07:15, knowing I need to speed up my preparations to get out the door and on the bike. I had awakened this morning still tired, from a weird dream where my family doctor Barry was encouraging me to compete in the Gay Games coming up, in raquetball or swimming, and Chuck to compete in cycling. Still groggy, I struggled to slip off the wrist supports that I sleep with and shushed Howard from his snuffing and sneezing at my bare legs. Then up to tap off the alarm and pee, followed by my daily weigh-in. "Damn! 169 pounds, it says." So I pick up the 10-pound dumbbell beside the scale, step on again, let it register, step off and set down the weight, and step on again to see that the reading is now 168.0. I take that as the most accuracy I can get—"gotta get a more reliable scale," I think, write it on the weight record, and pull on some gym shorts and a tee. After I let Howard out of the bedroom and turn on the poster light over the stairs, I accompany him downstairs and to the kitchen. It's 05:39, time enough for the routine of turn on WYSO for Morning Edition, make a double latte, let Howard out, cut a slice of bread for toast, let Howard in, let Howard get the Wall Street Journal, sit and read the paper and take my daily pills and feed Howard in four portions of kibble, make another double latte, take Howard out to poop, bring him in and treat his ears with a fungus cleanser-preventer, treat him to a chondroitin, sit at the computer to check my email and record the morning temperature in the draft my blog. And today's routine has an added trip upstairs to place a bill on the printer-scanner, back downstairs to scan it to a file, enter the bill information in my spreadsheet, send the bill's due date and amount and scan to Chuck, and check for any recent payments that Chuck has made. That's why I sat writing at ten minutes after 7, "I've gotta hurry up if I wanna ride today. I still need to poop and dress for the ride. I've been tired this morning, not enough to keep from riding today, since it's supposed to rain tonight and tomorrow." So I pushed out of the chair, headed upstairs for—as they said in the 18th Century—"my toilette" that includes putting in my contact lenses, the poop, flossing and brushing teeth, applying D+T ointment, and trading the gym clothes for the riding kit. Downstairs, I assemble any stray items and cash into my backpack, decide what layers I need to wear and which to pack with, roll the bike out to the stoop, and close the door. Whew! finally ready, at 07:34 today, about 15 minutes later than what I think is optimal and about 10 minutes earlier than what I think is a point of baling out on the ride.

The clock times given are about 20 minutes off, as given on my bike computer.

07:55—departing from home. At my corner, a school bus was stopped to pick up students. I entered the intersection and turned to continue on Princeton, but stopped for the school bus. The driver waved me on, and pulled in his stop sign, which he realized was my reason for stopping. What a nice gesture.

From the Monument Avenue bridge, the Miami River level was a bit lower than yesterday. The forms of the flanks of the low dam were discernable underneath the flowing water. This has become a usual path during the flooding: the gravel path under the YMCA, sidewalk to the Main Street-Monument intersection, through Riverscape Park. The railing down to the river was flooded only to 2 feet above the bikeway.

08:08—passing the zig-zag up from the Mad River Bikeway. This is a notable minute less than yesterday—but an approximate time, since I noticed the computer only after about a quarter mile past the checkpoint. The Mad River bikeway was flooded again, but only to a point where the bikeway was just visible under the muddy water. Of course, still nothing to bike through. The Monument Avenue route had moments of disgusting truck exhaust, where diesel engines were idling at the Rumpke plant and other places. About a quarter mile after Findlay Avenue, after I signaled to turn onto the grass that leads to the above-river bikeway, a chugging hatchback driver ignored or misunderstood my signal and passed me. No big deal, since I noticed he had been on the left side of the road most of the long block, to avoid the big divots that Winter had taken out of the road.

08:22—passing the west gate to Eastwood Park. A minute more than yesterday. Run-off from the hills above the transition at Smithville and Springfield was completely fluid across the bikeway. No cross traffic at  Airway, and extremely light traffic at Burkhardt.

08:35—passing the trestle remains at Linden. A minute faster than yesterday. No traffic at Linden. Beyond the graffiti wall, I saw one of the regulars that I've come to know over several years of bike commuting. We've never stopped to talk, but I call him Double-Dog-Jason. This dark-haired man in his late 30s always has two dogs towing him along, and he always has a pair of flightline headphones that usually don't prevent him from saying hello. I've seen him walking south on Woodman, in part of the same circuit, and he is relatively exact in the timing of his walk. His return to a routine reminded me of others who should be again on this part of the bikeway soon: Millie and ...Ethel, Eunice? (two women in their 70s or 80s whose husbands have various health issues; at the moment the one who is more easily brought to visualization is withholding her name in my memory banks), Becky (an owner and walker of a pack of rescue dogs, including an old Lab and a St. Bernard), Gary and Amy (a father and daughter who make a daily tandem out-and-back to the Riverscape from this area). My thoughts have stayed with me to my crossing at Woodman, which had no traffic, and brought me to remember other unnamed regulars who I have frequently seen in the quarter mile from Woodman to Founders. The section seems easier, quicker, almost downhill, and I think that the ease comes from having had 40 minutes of warm-up riding. Something that I never learned to use while I was competing in my early 40s.

08:48—arriving at  work. Two minutes earlier than yesterday, and a minute less through the overall route. I've taken the ride up a bit in intensity, and still feel good, not drained.

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