Since the first quarter of my commute to work is downhill, I get little sense of how I feel. I could be horribly tired, even achy, and I could still make it to the first checkpoint (at about mile 2.8) in a normal time.
It's the second quarter (from miles 2.8 to 5.6) where I discover suddenly that I may not be up to the commute today, or so I think momentarily. The terrain is generally flat, along the Mad River, but it is also gradually uphill—Google Earth reports the rise as 11 m, about 36 feet. My legs seem leaden, my heart thumps loudly, my left arm aches from the heart exertion, my breathing is labored, my sinuses fill repeatedly, I cough phlegm clots, even my contact lenses ache from the attacking cold air. I think alternating threads: I'm gonna have a stroke; then Wow, so this is what it means to be alive today! and when I swerve around where the Canadian geese have dropped white and green poop sticks, Some day I'm gonna bring some rat poison-laced bread for these damn geese; and If only it wasn't so fucking cold! but also, almost simultaneously, What a fragrance that is from Requarth Lumber's millworks! and again, Oh no, I've hit that pocket of cold again, same place every day; and, approaching the Findlay Street underpass, Ugh, that stench of burnt carbon from the foundry! lasts until I pass the low gate near the Irwin Street entrance, while I picture some momentary, fragmented scenes from my 19th Summer when I worked in the grinding room of C-E Ehrsam Foundry in Enterprise Kansas.
Usually after about 20 minutes of riding, as I start the third quarter (from miles 5.6 to 8.6), the aches and pains give way to endorphins, and I relax into the smooth turns and glides through the quiet morning. —And I just realized now while refining the route in Google Earth, that this is a slight climb in my morning commute, of 30 m or 100 ft over the 3 miles.
As I approached the Burkhardt Street crossing, for the first time this year I heard a cyclist behind me, announcing his intent to pass. I turned to say hi as he passed, and instead said, "Well hello, Jeff! I just mentioned you in my blog about commuting by bike." I increased my speed to nearly match his, he slowed a bit, and we continued a conversation until we separated at the trestle remains north of Linden Avenue. Some of the talk helped clarify what I know about his commute, and I will add a correction to the posting of a few days ago.
Now for some notes for cyclists using the path today:
- Small amount of glass on the in-road marking on the north side of the crossing at Airway.
- Broken glass bottle on Creekside Trail, about 0.25 mile south of the Airway crossing.
- Broken glass bottle on Iron Horse Trail, about 0.3 mile north of the Woodbine Avenue crossing.
Temperature: 32 to 35°F at 06:50 and at 09:15
Winds: none to light
Clothing: Top with 3 layers (Lycra longsleeve undershirt, longsleeve skinsuit, arm warmers, wool-poly jacket); Bottom with 2 layer (skinsuit, quilted tights); ankle socks. Woolen full-face stocking cap, quilted gloves. (Comfortable; a bit sweaty in the last half of the ride.)
Bike: Trek 850
Time: 0:53:00 (approx.) for 12.5 miles
Bikeway users: 1 cyclist going my way
08:21—mile 0.0; departing from home.
08:35—mile 2.81; passing the zig-zag up from the Mad River Bikeway.
08:46—mile 5.59; passing the west gate to Eastwood Park.
09:00—mile 8.59; passing the trestle remains at Linden.
09:14—mile 11.86; arriving at work.