28 June 2011

Bike-commute day 44—to home

Tuesday, 28 June 2011.

Chuck called me at work to find out when I planned to be home. He's making lasagna, a new recipe that he wants to showcase. One where the noodles are not cooked before baking, just soaked 45 minutes in cool tap water. I told him, "I'll be leaving pretty soon, but I plan on stopping at the gym for a short shoulder workout. So I'll be home about seven." "Well, just make sure you're home by seven. I'll bake the meal so it will be ready then." Never mind that I might want to shower to clean the crotch and prevent saddle sores.

As I neared Woodbine, where I would leave the bikeway to climb through residential areas to Cardinal Fitness at Forrer and Smithville, I deliberated It's 5:45 now, and getting there would be 5:55 and a workout would last until maybe 6:15 at the earliest, so that leaves a really tight 45 minutes to get home. I'd better not chance it, and instead push hard to get home much earlier. So I went north up the bikeway from Woodbine.

Lots of cyclists today, some in pretty good shape. I did a track stand at Airway beside a cyclist I had been tailing for a half mile, who maintained a good lead but had to stop for traffic. I pulled through at a letup in the cross-traffic, and I sensed his pullout also, nearly beside me but not quite. He took my tail, sheltered in the slipstream. I cranked up again to 90 rpm and kept it there or sometimes as much as 98. He stayed with me, silently. My sinuses filled. I wanted to blow out the accumulation, but when I made a half look back he made a sound to indicate that he was close enough to catch whatever spatter I would make. So I held off.

At the rise near Miami Valley Manufacturing, I called out, "Heads up!" for any cyclists hidden by the dense trees and dropped my open left hand as I slowed for the blind double corner. He stayed with me as I powered out of the second 90-degree turn. Same hand signal for the approach to Fair Park Avenue, and same powering into the canopy across the intersection. Again a hand signal for slowing to cross Smithville, but somewhere I had lost him. Or he had turned off.

I kept looking over my shoulder in the open areas west of Eastwood Park, but never saw him again. I hope he had a fun ride.

I'm of two minds about following another rider, drafting in the slipstream. Though the lead rider feels no drag from the other rider, there's a sense of having something of value that's taken without acknowledgement, especially if the drafter is a stranger who neither takes the lead nor pulls beside to introduce himself. It is a missed opportunity to meet another strong rider, to find an equal to share a long weekend ride with.

I could have used his pull in the leg along the Mad and Miami, where the headwinds cut down my speed and increased my time for the commute. But I still made it home in plenty of time to shower, download my Garmin data, and make the orange-avocado salad for dinner.

Ride conditions
Temperature: 81 to 86°F at 17:15
Precipitation: none
Winds: calm to 10 mph from the southwest, southeast
Clothing: Skinsuit, ankle socks, open-finger gloves.
Bike: Lotus Legend fixed gear
Time:  00:43:03 for 12.06 miles
Heart rate: 142 bpm HRave, 178 bpm HRmax
Bikeway users: 31 cyclists, 22 pedestrians
Here is a playback of the ride.

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