Ran an errand after leaving work, which positioned me nicely for looping home in an indirect manner. Heading eastward against a slight headwind, the true intent of the season became clear. It’s fall. Sure, it’s SF Bay Area fall and we’re not exactly knocking frost off the pumpkins, but it felt like this would be the last commute of the season with uncovered knees, and two thin layers of wool under a wind vest were just keeping me warm enough if I didn’t stop.
Folks stuck in cars began to turn their headlights on. Even if the sun wasn’t precisely below the horizon, it had at least dipped beneath the western clouds enough that the last rays only caught the highest hills. I’d replaced the batteries in my running lights the night before, and had some more serious illumination mounted and ready to roll. Even with leaving work a bit earlier than normal, safety demanded a quick pressing of the fore and aft buttons, and I became significantly easier to see. But, it was still in that wonderful period of early dusk, with colors growing gray and a glow from the sky.
Pedaled and stretched away the drumming cadence of a kind of crazy day. Began to pick up more of a tailwind and stretched out to a couple of ticks above 20 mph, starting to feel easy and a bit smooth. Even with the exertion, the cooling evening pushed through my sleeves a bit.
Up the hill and into the curves. The breeze buffeted a bit, swirling in that way it does as seasons change, when it hasn’t yet settled into storm or calm mode. A young two point buck appeared in the road before me, then trotted dead center in the oncoming lane as a car followed at an appropriate distance. As I looked back over my shoulder, the deer spotted a path and leapt up the hill.
On the bay below me, it was low tide and as I looked back, the beauty of the rising moon just stopped me.
I slowed and pulled off the road to enjoy it for a bit. Out of the winds, and with no breeze pushing past my ears, it suddenly was silent. It didn’t seem that even the crickets had kicked into gear yet. I could hear my own slowing breath and watched a few birds working the edge of the mudflats.
One of those timeless moments.
The chill pressed in again and spurred me back onto the bike. But, that moment now traveled along with me. Another of the reasons I ride.
Saturday came and went, a day full of errands and preparations. Riding for distances other than the too-short doses of commutes have for a number of reasons has been hard to come by of late. Mostly good things, but they all compound to create a certain absence of time.
With Sunday came the rain. First real rain to speak of in a long time, as is the way in this part of California. It stuttered for a bit and then increased as though the weather had to remember how to do it right. I bumped around with a high degree of inefficiency, finding saddle covers and warmer gloves and hats which had been stowed months before.
Hit the road on the Quickbeam, which has been proudly sporting fenders and flaps all summer long. In fact, I was actually enjoying the rain-induced dust removal from the insides of the fenders. But, a few miles from home, the rain increased a bit, and the dampness began to seep into my shoes. Stopping to pull the shoe covers from the bag, I unrolled them to find that “them” was in fact, “it”. Oh, my lucky right foot. Somehow in storing things, I’d managed to separate the pair, which I didn’t notice when tossing them into the bag.
Dilemma time - I wasn’t far enough away to just say the heck with it and keep riding. In fact the distance was too danged short to feel anything but lazy if I didn’t head back to procure the left cover. So, I did. Kinda pissed at my own error, I clomped into the house and found the other cover. Put it on and headed back to the bike. Started rolling it away until the unmistakable feeling of rim rolling on rubber made clear the now-flat rear tire.
And I was just ready to say, “Aw, Chuck it!”
Y’know, strip off the gear, hang the bike back up and fall into the couch.
It’s funny how that goes, and how the minor frustrations of the past couple weeks and days - rushing here and there, but mostly the not riding - just came to an ugly, cresting peak. And all I could think about was that I was about to get wet for a few hours, would probably just flat again since all the glass bits always get drawn out by the first rain, and how it just wasn’t worth it.
Luckily, I made myself just change the tire first. Wheeled the bike around to the back porch, removed the tire, pulled the tube, found the glass shard and got things back together. Six or seven minutes. And sometime in that period, I managed to reset whatever valve wasn’t right.
Realized that the rain had eased slightly. That I got to use a floor pump to get everything back to the right pressure. That the tube had been airtight. That I got to do the work under the cover of the porch roof rather than off to the side of the road somewhere.
And it was wonderful. I’d forgotten how the first rainy days suddenly make everyone a homebody. Virtually no other riders to be seen and few cars on the road. Just the hiss of tires of wet pavement and the rush of air in my ears. Pedaled around to improving conditions and eased home. At a stop light, a driver took a moment to say what a nice rig the Quickbeam was. Kinda tied the day up in a big ribbon.
Funny how close you can come to undermining your happiness. But, it ended up good.
Woke up this morning with a chromatic aberration above my eye, which, for some reason last night, I chose to test the structural integrity of the kitchen door frame, whilst wending my way to bed under IFR. While it is a salient point that we’d moved the remote phone, so its LED now glows from the table in one room rather than the desk in the other, it was definitely pilot error, which resulted in a gloriously hollow, teeth-clacking moment. So, I fell asleep last night with an icepack held to my face, which seems to have mitigated the effects a bit. Maybe I need a blog entry tag for “Great Moments in Cleverness”…
Whether the blow to the head or some other feeling of sloth overcoming momentum, I’m going to catch up a bit here. The last mileage entry was June, which isn’t precisely up-to-date. (Now, I did make a July entry, but managed to not be saving and nicked the wrong button near the end, obliterating the text. As I’ve been in dang-izzit-that-late-already? mode for the last few months, it didn’t get restated and this writing venue subsequently languished.) I’ve already mumbled and shuffled my way through a bit of an explanation here, so if such things are important or of interest, I’ll wait while you pop over there (and hopefully back.)
Rather than try to recreate the missing entries, with appropriate insights and observations, here are the numbers:
15 Riding Days - 307 miles - YTD mileage: 2598
17 Riding Days - 376 miles - YTD mileage: 2974
13 Riding Days - 223 miles - YTD mileage: 3197
Yoga sessions have been pretty consistent throughout - twice a week with a great teacher, and I’m finding that the odd shoulder soreness has lessened steadily.
It’s been a bit frustrating as mileage has been pretty hard to come by for the past few months - a number of weekend VO workshops chipped into longer rides in good weather, and invocation of the Costanza Rule had me resting when I felt iffy and overstressed. And, though I hate to admit it, that’s worked. The other thing is that I’ve been trying to consciously ride harder now and again. Ok…it’s actually been more like - “Oh crap! I’m still at work and supposed to be home now….” induced speed work. I also have been doing a bit more hiking again, which has been pretty cool.
One frustration is that I don’t think I’ll manage a cross campaign this fall - some light trotting but nothing at race pace and I haven’t even pulled the fenders off the Quickbeam (though I have been skimming some trails in fixed gear mode.) Still, there is a lightly used set of CX tires on the pile in the garage, so you never know….
On the other hand, I did get to engage in the silly-fun practice of indoor sky-diving…
Which was actually much more fun than it looks like.