Friday, March 02, 2007

Wimp Out Averted

I was walking around downtown this afternoon and the wind was whipping and light snow not only limited visibility but made the sidewalks quite slippery. Add to that my ailing wrist and broken tail light, I was talking myself out of biking home. The weather improved by the time I got back to work and I knew if I bagged today's ride then it would cancel out biking back on Monday. By quitting time the skies brightened a bit so I did a gut check and got my gear ready for biking.

In this weather I find myself being more uncomfortable walking a few blocks than I do biking 24 miles. Once I got on the road I wondered why I had so much trouble talking myself into biking anyway. Many of my co-workers either think I'm crazy or admire my spunk. I don't dissuade them from these opinions but if they tried biking themselves they'd realize it isn't a pain at all (most of the time anyway).

My wrist still ached from my crack up but if I kept my hand positioned over the hood of my shifter it didn't bother me at all. The surface of the Lakefront Trail varied from just wet to a slight layer of snow. Some areas had shallow drifts. Steady winds from the southeast but wind gusted significantly from all directions. Along Grant Park I was literally blown about a foot sideways. It made for a little bit of excitement. Ohio to Oak Street, the bugaboo of my winter route, was crisscrossed with snow and puddles but was easily navigated.

Through Lincoln Park I was mesmerized by five bike tracks in the snow. A set of fat tires frequently crisscrossed the path and a thinner set kept a straighter line. One set was lighter than the rest indicating the rider preceded the others. Further north where the path was clearer of ice and puddles, the thin tired straight track was on the other side of the path indicating a southbound course. I realized this could be the track of a sharply attired roadie I passed long ago in Grant Park. After the underpass at Buena Avenue the path became of tangle of tracks but the meandering fat tires were still prominent. Within a quarter mile I caught up to them and they belonged to a young lady who might have been the same person I startled when passing her on the path in January. I said hello as I passed but much quieter than the last time. She was bundled up so I didn't notice any reaction.

Crossing Lake Avenue in Wilmette was like opening the door into a snow storm. The ride suddenly went from wet and clear to snow crusting flurries. It was more peculiar than bothersome. Although the 100 yard track in south Kenilworth was a series of slushy and frozen ruts that nearly caused me to wipe out again.

The Green Bay Trail in Winnetka had a generally uniform layer of rime snow. The snowflakes lit up in my headlamp and the crunching surface gave me the illusion of biking at great speed but my GPS clocked me at only 12-13 mph.

Distance Traveled: 24.3 miles
Distance to date: 2042.8 miles
Price of gas: $2.59

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