Monday, April 21, 2008

He's back!

After the long and unplanned delay from commuting, I finally got moved into my new apartment
yesterday, and had my first ride from there today.

Something new today was riding in fairly dense fog...when I lived in Kentucky my commute was all on fairly high traffic rural roads, so when visibility became an issue I would not risk the ride--my life does hold some small value to me, after all. Since I only had two miles of road today and I trust the ability of my Superflash and bright yellow Shower's Pass touring jacket to keep me visible, I decided to go for it. It was a wise decision.

The commute itself is actually nicer than I imagined...the rail trail is perfectly straight and very nearly flat, though it does have a downhill tendency for a moderate distance on the way to work. The feeling of nearly effortless speed, spinning in the big ring while the wind whips around me is nearly without better in my cycling experience. We'll see if it's really a downhill or if that just happened to be the prevailing wind direction today. Of course, the last two miles are a fairly constant climb, so that doesn't work out exactly as I'd like....I always thought the big climb would ideally be at the beginning or middle of the ride so that one can arrive at work in an unsweaty state. The good far outstrips the bad in this case, though.

The ride back was good as well, though my out of shape legs were feeling the burn. I was impressed at the number of riders out today....I probably didn't see more than a dozen, but in my hometown I think I only ever saw one or two other riders--and not regularly. I passed a couple of recreational riders and a bunch of joggers, but then a couple miles from home I got passed by a guy on a lime green road bike (I think it was a Trek, but I am not sure). Heeding the roadie instinct to chase any other bike we see (I wonder if this is what dogs feel when they see cars?) I decided to give chase. I couldn't just hammer and try to pass him immediately though, that would look like I was trying too hard--plus the sudden effort would probably drain me and I'd get passed again immediately, which is like an extra loss for me. Besides, as a big guy I have discovered that while I am horrible at sprints, I can usually dial my speed up just a little bit higher than other peoples' and eventually catch them and then leave them behind. Unless I get tired and they get away first.

So I slowly gain on him as we draw nearer and nearer to my apartment...trying not to look like I'm trying to gain on him. I am the ninja racer. We pass the entrance to my apartment complex when I am nearly within drafting distance, but I decide to keep going because not only do I not have a clear idea of exactly where this trail goes, but I saw a branch of my bank on Google Maps and wanted to find an ATM.

Very soon after we pass my complex's entrance, we run out of trail. I was a bit taken aback by the sudden T-junction into another trail (Mad River), so I slow down a bit more than necessary. When we get on the new trail heading North, I see that he has opened up a huge gap between us, and worse--there is a definite upward turn. Nothing serious, but enough that I decided I was done playing racerboy for the day. It was time to settle back in and just ride again.

I will really have to ride this trail more in the future. It goes by a creek one the west with dirt trails on the far side (I wonder if I can ride my mountain bike on them...probably not, but I will have to check), with a fenced in park area on the east side. Even though it's very near dense residential areas, I could almost trick myself into thinking I was in the woods. The smell smelled, for lack of a better comparison, like mountain biking. So it was a very enjoyable ride.

Upon reaching my bank, I discovered that there isn't even an ATM, but there IS an Aldi there--maybe a mile and a half from my house. This could be where the majority of my grocery shopping is done in the future, and I totally dig the low prices (plus it's highly convenient).

I had better end this now, I will run out of things to say tomorrow.

Pics to come soon, but I don't want to stop for photos until I have a better idea of how long it takes to get to work.