Nice day for a ride

I say that every day, though.  Last night at about 11pm  I went for a ride in a thunderstorm on the fixie.  It was awesome.  I got soaked.  The lighting was unbelievable.  Hardest part was seeing where I was going- it had been quite a warm day, and the rain was steaming as it hit the road.   Throw a headlight on and you get some pretty good fog reflection.  Happily, even though this was at prime drunk time in Wisconsin on a Saturday night, everybody gave me a wide berth.

Today’s two-wheeled self-motivated hijinks started out as a simple spin to get my legs unkinked from hammering on the new TT bike, and a vicious Crossfit workout that made it hard to get out of bed this morning.  I didn’t really have an idea of where I was going, except that I wanted to start into the wind so I didn’t have to fight a headwind on the way home.  I didn’t really have an idea of how far I wanted to go, either.  I just wanted to see some white lines whizzing by and let my thoughts wander.

I think the thinking is part of what is so appealing about bicycling and motorcycling- you have en excuse not to be doing anything else for the duration of the ride.  I think of it as rolling meditation.  Oddly, in my mental model of “cool things to do of an afternoon,” I ascribe similar levels of effort to riding a motorcycle as I do riding a bicycle.  Sure, the motorcycle moves you along, but the wind at highway speeds beats you up more, and the risk is probably a lot greater, so you have to be a little more “signed in” if you want to keep the rubber side down.  My legs come back more tired from a bicycle ride, but the rest of me gets more of a workout on the motorcycle.

Anyway, I went out for a good meditate just after 1pm.  Can’t tell you what I thought about, really.  Well, I can a bit- I broke a spoke and my newly reassembled bottom bracket has resumed its creaky ways, so those got some attention.  But the rest of it is through and gone.  I pondered some deep questions, but I didn’t really think about anything in a manner that allows me to remember what I thought.  It was very refreshing.

Here’s the route I took:

Once I got to about the 22 mile point, I stopped by my favorite cafe/bike shop: The Bikery .  What a great combination- carbs, caffeine, and bicycles.   They have an Eddy Merckx track frame hanging in the window, along with some local artists’ work.  I have some photos from the Stillwater Criterium hanging there, including in the Ladies’ loo (or so my wife tells me.)  A mocha and a cookie (Shhh! don’t tell anyone) later, and I was feeling refreshed.  I drooled over some high end road bikes (the Argon 18s are beautiful and surprisingly reasonable), chatted with the gentleman in the bike shop, and then set off again.

22 miles, 4 miles from home, big nasty awful hill that I abhor (more for traffic reasons than because it’s steep), and I didn’t think 26 miles was going to be enough after last weekend’s 51 mile Houlton-Hudson-Prescott and back adventure (avoid county road F.  They mean it… it’s ucking Fawful.)  So I headed south through town, past the OPH prison (always feel vaguely guilty riding past there, in case any incarcerated cyclists get twitchy legs watching me go by) and south to Afton.  My idea was to ride the Afton hill then head home.  It was a bit of a grind, but I made it.  Then I went down one of my favorite hills, and along the St. Croix past some amazing houses on my way back north.

Lakeland and Lakeland shores are unremarkable, and the road isn’t much to write home about, but it has roundabouts, and I love roundabouts.  There are three of them, right in a row.  Wheee!

Once across the 94 bridge and into Hudson, I felt compelled to make a short detour to ride one of my other favorite roads- Trout Brook Road.  It’s a Rustic Road, and it winds along for a few miles before climbing out of the little river valley that it crosses.  It’s a nasty little climb, with a false summit about 2/3 of the way up.  At this point, I had about 45 miles in my legs, and really suffered.  But it was good suffering, the kind that allows you to think things and then completely forget them.

It probably wasn’t that remarkable a ride in many respects, apart from being my longest since I left California in late 2000.  I certainly didn’t cover it with any great speed (16.3 MPH), but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Today was day 75 of #30daysofbiking.  Proof that I’m not very good with directions.

Oh, and I took some pictures with the Olympus XA, but it’ll be a while before I finish the roll.