Monday, April 02, 2007

Train Racing

It has been more than a week since I've been able to bike to or from work. Today was a terrific day to bike home; mid 60s, dry and minimal wind.

Just north of Ohio Street a commuter on a road bike glided past me. I did my best to keep up with him but he was soon passed by another roadie out for a training ride. So he began to hammer the pedals to keep up with the roadie. There was no way I was going to try and catch these guys because they now were both on a mission. But I kept them in sight. Eventually the training roadie must have turned off; he wasn't so fast that he was going to completely disappear. Along Belmont Harbor a guy on a mountain bike appeared and I tried to keep up with him. He had a killer pace and passed the road commuter and again the chase was on between the two. They blazed very far ahead. I began to feel really old and in sorry shape. I consoled myself with the fact that I was definitely hauling the biggest load since my pannier still had my winter gear in addition to all the other junk I usually pack to and from work. At Montrose the mountain biker turned around. I guess he was only into short sprints. Eventually I caught up to the commuter who was stopped at the turn around at Hollywood. So I declared myself the winner. Big stuff!

In Wilmette I was able to glide through cross traffic waiting out a northbound Metra train stopping at the station. The train's horn let out a haunting wail. Growing up here people were killed every few years along these tracks and that horn still gives me the shivers. While biking along the Green Bay Trail the train caught up to me but had to stop again in Kenilworth. I passed it at the station and started to hammer the pedals so I could beat it to Indian Hill. My legs were still pretty fatigued from trying to keep up with the commuter on the Lakefront Trail so I figured I could slow down once the train passed me again. Much to my surprise I beat the train to Indian Hill. So now I had to race it to Winnetka. I pressed on but was also aided by a slight downhill. Amazingly I beat the train to Winnetka and raced it to my finish line at Hubbard Woods. I was only going about 19 to 20 mph but the wind in my ears made me think the train was right behind me. I looked back and saw the train's headlight through the trees along the tracks. I couldn't tell how far back it was so I kept up my pace. I finally made it to the trail's off ramp at Tower road and raced up to the bridge so I could watch the train pass under me. It took a while for the train to pass so I assumed it must have been delayed at a station in order for me to have beaten it.

Distance Traveled: 24.3 miles
Distance to date: 2285.8 miles
Price of gas: $2.81

1 comment:

Apertome said...

Wow! Great post. I raced a freight train the other day for a little while, and managed to stay ahead of it. The Metra can actually move pretty quickly and doesn't stop as frequently as the El, so it's pretty impressive that you managed to stay ahead of it, especially for so long.