Friday, April 22, 2011

Sweet spot

Occasionally when riding with a tailwind you find a sweet spot where you are moving the exact same speed and direction as the wind.  No wind blowing in your face, no wind to your back and there is quick moment of complete silence except for the noise of your tires rolling on the asphalt (on a country road anyway).  I find it quite the experience although its subtle enough that most wouldn't think anything of it.

This morning was just a drab, snowy mess on my way to work.  We woke up to the wind howling around the house and the sky was streaked with white as huge snowflakes sailed by.  I was not looking forward to my ride to work.  I bundled up just as I would in January, except it's spring (or supposed to be).  I turned the last corner onto Montana Avenue, which is a 4 block straight-away, and hit that sweet spot.  It was a totally surreal experience that I've only seen once before.  This time it was as if time froze.  The snowflakes stopped flying past me and just hung there, suspended in the air if even for just a second.  I had the road to myself so I heard that same eerie silence broken only by the noise of my tires on the pavement.  There was enough snow that my view of the surrounding buildings was partially blocked.  I felt like I was cycling in place.  Now I'm not a Trekkie (Star Trek Trekkie anyway, because I'm definitely a Trek Bike Trekkie) but it was almost reminiscent of the instant the Enterprise comes out of warp speed where the stars streak past you through space and freeze in place before you.   

Experiences like that is just one of the many reasons I love cycling.  And now I've let you all know just how much of a dork I really am, as if you didn't know before.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Ending the hiatus

10.5 Miles

Life's been busy lately and with Sarah working, multiple home improvement projects, and other weekend responsibilities, I have been hard-pressed to touch the bike other than my daily commute to and from work (if I'm lucky).  Yesterday Sarah had to work the night shift so she was home all day sleeping.  While the girls played downstairs and Evie napped (or cried in her crib), I tried to make some headway on the bathroom remodel.  While waiting for spackle and caulk to dry, I decided to fix Tara's flat and de-gunk Sydney's rollerblades.  When Evie woke up still grumpy and crying incessantly, I decided that I needed to be a good dad and spend time with them rather than continuing work on the bathroom. We decided to go on a bike ride hoping that putting Evie in the trailer would shut her up for an hour or so.

Everyone was finally ready to go around 6:00pm and although they refused to wear them, I grabbed jackets for everyone and threw them in the trailer.  We took off, managing the busy streets carefully until we reached the entrance to the paved trail where we stopped and donned the jackets that Dad insisted on bringing but the girls refused to wear.  Then we took off, Tara, in front, of course, tearing it up as fast as those little legs will pump insisting on being first, and Sydney traveling at her own pace, so slow that she can hardly see Tara off in the distance.  After a quick snack of Nutter Butters and a drink of water, we set off to climb the big hill at the stinky water fall (water treatment plant). 

The girls did great, and although tired at the top, Tara insisted that we keep going.  I, however, was carefully watching the clock and the sun on the horizon.  When Tara refused to turn around, I agreed to go to the top of the next hill.  When we got there, she again refused to turn around and insisted that we go to the end of the trail.  I bargained with her and we agreed to go to the tunnel and turn back so we'd get home before dark.  Sydney reluctantly followed us hoping that we'd turn back any second.

We got to the tunnel and Tara kept going.  I had to force her to turn around.  In fact, Sydney and I left and waited on the other side of the tunnel for her to change her mind an follow.  She eventually did and we coasted quickly back down to the river, but wind chill from quicker speeds began to get to us and we started getting really cold.  By now the girls were done riding and complained the rest of the trip.  I was panicking, knowing how tough it would be to get the girls home in the dark and it was starting to get really cold.  With some prodding, and sometimes some yelling and precious little daylight left we finally made it back home, frozen and tired.  I think they had fun but it was a little too much for them.  Sydney immediately jumped in the tub to thaw out and Tara climbed into her pajamas and went to bed (without dinner).  So, my attempt to be a good father ended up more like child abuse, or at the least, neglect.  At least Evie stopped crying, not a peep other than excited squeals, the whole trip.  We'll have to try it again with warmer weather and more time to rest.