Minggu, 25 Januari 2009

Although the weather forecast had been updated to decrease the likelihood of precipitation I awoke to find a dusting of snow on my deck. Capital Hill was likewise adorned with a casual sprinkling of white. The photo below is a reenactment of 17th street this morning.


Six brave souls met at the appointed hour in the brisk 33 degree air. John, having blistered a metric century with Hank the day before, thought that with the icy conditions, it was the better part of valor to decline the ride and return home to do three hundred crunches and then run a dozen miles. 

 The five survivors rolled down and noted a stalker following that turned out to be Tom catching onto the back of the peloton. The six of us were all clad in our chosen armor to fight off the cold and the stiff breeze. After being away, Tim was eager to get his legs spinning again and without John to push the pace Tim led us to quickly form a double paceline and along we rode with almost military precision.

 Crossing the I-90 bridge the wind from the north was cold and cut through our miracle clothing so we could all “get our chill on.” Once on Mercer, more from tradition than actual need, Hank, Brad and Dave each peeled off a layer and we began circumnavigating the island.  There were snow crystals in the air and while you couldn’t say it was really snowing, the occasional pinprick on your cheek told you the air wasn’t empty.

Tim wasted no time in picking up the pace and Tom was right there. Hank and Dave caught on and a moment later Brad and Kevin brought our number back to six. We continued in formation to the base of the climb where Kevin was urged to attack. Everyone was out of the saddle and digging deep in their suitcases of courage. Our heads were bobbing as we danced on the pedals climbing to the top of the island. Soon we were back in our double paceline and our biggest challenge was avoiding the slippery manhole covers that seemed to be on every corner of the east side luge run.  Ever so gradually, the pace picked up and soon we were stretched out in a single line and then Tim attacked and it was a sprint to the park that marks the end of the competitive part of the ride.  Hank may have been feeling the miles from the day before, but he showed no signs of slowing down.

Kevin was begging for more and asked who would join him to retrace our route, but the call of coffee and baked goods was too strong and so we opted to return along the north end of Mercer.

The morning had warmed all of two degrees but the icy wind had picked up and the westward journey across I-90 became a challenge. Whitecaps on the north side of the bridge gave an indication of the wind.  Even though Tom had left his Aero wheels at home he was wrestling with the crosswind like the rest of us. I had to adjust my artificial horizon to keep from getting vertigo as we all found ourselves riding tilted to the right several degrees to keep from getting blown over.  Brad proved the wise one as his heavy machine was stable in the crosswind.


At the top of the I-90 climb we paused only long enough to snap a picture and then we were riding along the lake headed north into the headwind.  The hour was still early which meant there was still very little traffic and that allowed us to return to our six-pack riding arrangement. With the chilling breeze along the lake we were only too happy to turn off and climb to the Arboretum.  The pace picked up and the climb remained friendly as there were no King of the Mountain points today.


Once we were back on top of Capital hill we called the ride complete and thawed ourselves with hot beverages.

On the final climb to the bakery, some of our riders had managed to finish drenched in sweat their clothing soaked from head to toe and caked with salt. These riders all headed over to Tim’s place to try on team clothing before heading home to clean up. I could only cringe as I thought of those who would try on that same clothing after these slippery bikers…….  Perhaps I exaggerate this for the sake of entertainment…or to gross out the rest of the team…

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