Friday, November 10, 2006

Makin' More Friends

It was in the high fifties and no wind. So I packed my winter biking gear in my pannier and donned only shirt, shorts and my Goretex top. The ride was a little chilly on my knees once I got up to cruising speed. I was just about to regret not wearing my long pants when I got into heavy traffic on Roosevelt Road and completely forgot about being cold. Except for a cold blast upon approaching the lakefront, it was a comfortable ride.

Between Monroe and Randolph I noticed a steady light coming up along my side as a commuter on a road bike passed me. He kept a good pace so I stuck with him up to Grand Avenue. Between Ohio and Oak Street Beaches I drafted about a bike length behind him. Passing Oak Street I glided by him and offered to let him draft for a while.

North of Diversey we picked up another commuter on a fixed gear bike. So the three of us zoomed through bikers and runners enjoying the relatively warmer weather. After Foster, fixie took over the lead for the first time and he nearly killed me. I thought I kept a fast pace but this guy was really moving. If it weren't for the rest I knew I'd get at the end of the Lakefront Trail, I'd have never tried to keep up. By the time we reached Hollywood my thighs were screaming. Forced to slow at the end of the path I kept my distance so he wouldn't hear me gasping for air. Thanking God for the red light at Sheridan, I dismounted and popped some bills in a nearby mailbox. The guy on the road bike was nowhere to be found. Maybe he turned off when the getting was good.

The light turned and fixie was off down Ardmore at a noticeably slower pace. Maybe he was hurting more than me. I passed him shortly after turning north on Kenmore and said good night and he thanked me "for the pull." "No, thank you!" I replied. Thanks for nearly giving me a stroke.

Despite blazing through the Lakefront Trail, I find it takes me longer to get home in the darkness. I guess I don't cruise with the same confidence as I did during daylight. I also find I don't enjoy the ride as much. Biking the Greenbay Trail use to be my favorite part of my ride. Now it is like being on a subway. The only thing to look at are the occasional rabbits in my high beam and distant street lights. Ironically the heavy traffic at Roosevelt Road and Clark Street provide the most interesting parts of my ride now.

Distance Traveled: 24.3 miles
Distance to date: 1240.8 miles
Price of gas: $2.41


Core said...

Wow. How did you dodge that precipitation/wind holocaust on Friday evening? I stupidly took a Lincoln/Halsted/Broadway route to get home (Edgewater) and it ended up taking so much longer than taking the Lake. But that'll teach me to be a sissy and try to avoid the northern wind by riding in Godawful traffic. :(

And feel free to draft if you see me commuting in the morning/afternoon! I'll be on a white XO-1.

Steve said...

Woo hoo! Someone actually reads my blather.

I left work long before the storms came. That must have been hellacious; it certainly was on an elm in my back yard.

I'll keep an eye out for the XO-1. I'm always happy to hitch off a generous soul.

WHO AM I??? said...

Was the fixie riding a grey, non-descript bike? Riding with clips and running shoes? Sporting a green striped messenger bag? I recall your story vividly. Especially the "thanks for the pull" part. It may have been me. Your blog is great. I learned about it on a cab ride back from the airport returning on a biz trip. I can't remember the cabbie's name, but he was a real star (commuted to work w/ a Specialized MTB) and said you were his brother-in-law. Small world. See you on the path sometime again.

Steve said...

Holy crap! It is a small world. Not sure if that was you on the ride (it was all a blur). But how many of us are out there these days? My thighs are still burning.