Thursday, August 26, 2010

Simple ride home

I had to drop off the truck at the shop for some work on the thangaputz.  It stopped working.

Fortunately, I just happened to bring my bike, helmet, shoes, and extra double shot of gel.  This was "just in case" they don't get done in time for my commute home on what was supposed to be the last nice day of the week.

Of course all summer I've been sitting in traffic watching cyclists on the trail in the sun.  I check out their bike frame, critique their team kit (clothing), decide if I would adjust the seat height, and note suggestions for form improvement.  Then the light turns green and I get to drive to the next red light and watch more go past.  In other words its torture.

Finally, the car broke (thank you thangaputz) and I was forced to ride home.  Of course right before my time to take off my father stops by the office and offers a ride back seeing as I have no car "Nooooo, it's ok".  Then my cell rings, the shop has the truck done, "Ok, I'll have to pick it up tomorrow".  Nothing will get in the way of the ride home today!

It felt great to connect muscle to steel.  For anyone who has never used clip in pedals, you are missing out on one of the best experiences of cycling.  The sense of "merging" with the bike.  It's really strange but when I clip in, it's as if the bike is now an extension of my limbs.  Except more powerful and fast.

I head down 15th, and opt to skip the usual fun downhill in favor of Perkins Way.  You see I still haven't forgiven Perkins for a painful bonk (good nutritional lesson though) back in April.  So curvy downhills here I come. Take the right hand turn, lift the inside foot, upshift and apply legstrength...smooth turns.  Speed limit says 25, but 35 is still safe.

Then on my left elbow a black Mercedes passes, on a downhill with solid double yellow, blind tight corners, when I'm over the speed limit already.  So of course I just shake my head at people's foolish choices... and accelerate after they pass.  It's important for me to let them know that they didn't save any time making a poor choice.  As we pull up to the stop sign they're 10 seconds ahead, and we both leave the stop sign at the same time, them turning right and me left.

Next onto the Gilman trail, another smooth left turn up and over a small rise, upshift again and accelerate. Oops then slow down to pass a cyclist, "Passing on your left, thank you", "On your left", "Passing on your left", over and over.  Watch out for the walkers, skateboarders, inline skater looking distracted.  Pass the mountain bike commuter in slacks and dress shirt.  Pass the guys in their HTC, Jelly Belly, Starbucks team kits, the local racer team kits, the people with the aero bars.  Just keep passing people.  Then finally some open trail to relax a bit.

The cell phone was ringing, so I call back the wife.  "Don't be late for dinner", so she agrees to come pick me up at the Woodinville office.  I drink some more Nuun from the water bottle and check my mirror.  Ah! Somebody is trying to catch me, with a tucked aero position and with their buddy drafting.  So I put the bottle away, upshift and gooooo.  A little while later I look back truly hoping they would still be there, but they're nowhere to be seen.

Then I arrive at Wilmot Gateway, swing a left up through construction and onto 175th, nice new curb makes it much easier to get onto the road.  As I pull up to the light to go left, there's a motorcyclist.  When he looks over, I nod and say, "Wanna race?".  He of course laughs and being a young guy says "Sure!".  We chat a bit waiting for the light, he's riding a Honda CBR600.  Very fast bike, so I compliment him on his ride.  The light changes, and we both cross the intersection side by side behind a wall of traffic.  But he's stuck with the cars, I roll up onto the sidewalk and yell, "See you later".  Hang a right to go to the office, and meet the family.

Yes, daddy's sweaty, daddy's had fun, and daddy's hungry for dinner!