Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Last Few Miles

The 1897 rail bridge over the Bill Riley Trail.  Some good graffiti every now and then.  PacMan on feeling of gobbling up miles.

Friday December 7, 2012, 515 AM.  I have 18.1 miles left to achieve 7000 miles for the year.  Currently I am having the second highest mileage year of my life.  2011 ended with 7700+.  I am behind.  Unless it warms up, unless my boss says take the rest of the month off with pay or I win the lottery, unless I say fuck it all 2012 will be second to 2011.

I knew it for months that 2012's record would not be broken.  Too much riding last year.  But when looking at it and days remaining a second 7000 miler was within reach.  Just a matter of when.

Monday Mary rode to work and we agreed to meet after she clocked out.  Because I left my wallet and PFG badge at work we rode extra miles.  Upon updating my bike log I noticed that 7K was a mere 109 miles away.  Why not have a big week of miles and cross that threshold this week?  Weather looked great for December.  So I rode.  Tuesday and Wednesday 30+ each.  Thursday was Dora's band concert thus an easy day of 21 after a late evening pub ride.  18.1 for Friday.

6 of those were ridden to work.  I watched the damn clock all day.  I watched the weather, too.  Sure enough, sprinkles when I rolled the 520 out of the building.  Get behind me, Satan, I have a goal to reach!

Gray's Lake was my first destination.  Intercept Jason Boten and reverse direction and ride with him to the Bill Riley turn.  Then climb out of that hole and get to Polk Blvd.  Turn right at Roosevelt HS and stop at Boulevard Sports to purchase tires for the red FX.  It will snow soon, best get that bike ready for winter.  Its tires are so thin a grain of sand could puncture the tube!  The hit IngerDahl's for necessary dinner items and dog food.  Heidi ran out of food in the morning.  Simple plan.

Great effort, skill and artistry went into this one. 

The rain did not last.  Amen!  Thank you Jesus!  By the time I met Jason the wind had calmed down.  We meet almost every day.  One day we will have a beer at Confluence.  Are meeting was short so we got back on the bikes and rolled west only to stop at the rail trestle to take photos of the latest graffiti before the city paints over it.  Then we parted company at the turn.

Upon reaching the parking lot of the pool I notice 3 men loading or unloading fat bikes.  I was jealous.  I wish this was a pleasure cruise rather than a grocery fetching miles for the sake of miles ride.  But it was what it was and when I got home I smiled about the ride.  I headed to Grand Ave then cut up 44th to minimize exposure to traffic.

Polk Blvd was not busy.  I do not like getting passed by cars when cars park on the street.  School is out and people are getting off work and I am trying not to hog the road.  My turn cannot come fast enough.

I wanted to purchase tires for the FX and needed miles.  I probably would have headed to Bike World and then hit Harding Hills Hy Vee for the distance alone if I needed more than 20 miles.  Rassy was too close and crossing 63rd sucks ass especially at the time of day I would be there.  But someone from Boulevard Sports posted a sale on FaceBook.  Besides, Chris Mace is a good friend.

When I reached BS I had 16.4 miles.  Damn close!  Once inside I discover that I failed to read the FB post in its entirety.  Open house or customer appreciation day.  Beer, wine, snackypoos!  Celebration.  I grabbed a Boulevard Pale Ale.  Nice choice and fitting for the name of the shop.  The silly red tandem that I desire the stupid money for was still their.  I also liked the blue Schwinn with fenders for $420.  But I was here for tires.  Took great strength not to grab a second beer or second glass of wine but the discount was nice.  Brand new cross tires to wear out on the Red Phoenix.  Chris taped them up so I could stow them in the 520's panniers.  Time to brew this thing!

I took the pedestrian bridge to cross I-235.  This was the bridge that Mary and I ran a check point for Cyclo de Mayo two years ago.  traffic was not as bad that day.  I felt bad for the cagers driving below me.  They lacked my freedom and slight buzz for the ale and wine.

Ingersoll was busy.  It was dark now and I was surrounded by cars.  I did not feel comfortable in the bike lane.  It had been quite some time since I had been on this street.  Even longer since being on Ingersoll during rush hour.  Ignore the fear and focus.  Target Dahl's.

Approaching my destination I surveyed the traffic around me.  Had to seize the turn lane quickly.  And as I was doing this a man and a woman carrying a case of beer each were jaywalking across the street form Ingersoll Wine&Spirits.  Unfortunately, they seemed more interested in looking at westbound traffic rather than what was approaching them from the west.  They were safe in the eastbound lane when I rolled by them in the turn lane as I prepped for the left turn onto 35th. 

"Wrong lane!" one of them exclaimed.  Was he talking to me?  Sorry mister but I make left turns from the turn lane.  What the fuck?  Twat.  I retorted back something without swearing or name calling.  Yeah, I am going to cut across 2 lanes of traffic to stay in the precious bike lane.  Moron.  The irony of it is that they failed to cross at the light.

I used the bike rack at the drive up.  Glancing at the computer I saw 18.1.  Well I did it.  Not at the place I'd would have liked to have done this at.  Dahl's is the store of last resort for me, too expensive.  But I had a hungry family at home and a hungry dog.

I found everything I needed quickly including the latest issue of Bicycle Times.  BT is the best rag for bikers like me.  Devoted to commuters and tourers not blood doping imbeciles that race.  Dahl's has the best magazine selection of any grocery store in Des Moines.  They also have a good booze aisle, my next destination.

I was in the mood for celebration.  7000 miles in one year is an achievement that few people reach.  Originally, I wanted Dora to make a large laurel wreath with "7000" on it, have this around my neck while my sons lift me off the bike and Mary kissing my cheek and Katie taking the photo.  But I never purchased the green construction paper for Dora to cut the leaves and glue to an inflated tube.  It was dark anyway and the shot would have to be taken inside and probably the only ones home would be Mary and Dora.  This was inspired by a photo of Erich Hartmann after he landed his Gustav after his 300th kill.  Definitely for 8000 miles.

My other idea was to get a bottle of champagne, shake it up andshower everyone and my self before drinking it.  But the only bubbly in th chiller was too expensive and warm Andrea does not have the charm it did in 1985.  Next step up was Barefoot at $10.  I decided to save the money and contemplated a Cali-Belgi IPA from Stone Brewery but even that seemed unnecessary.  Still have beer at home, Fat Tire, and wine.  $ for tomorrow instead of urine for tonight.
Then things turned shitty, sort of.  My mood soured.  It was raining.  My jacket's first rain outing.  then the traffic.  I am so blessed with my commute route that traffic is never an issue.  Then again I have quite a few miles ridden on highway 34 and other roads mere mortals fear to pedal.  Bike lane will be safe, right?  But rain, darkness and rush hour.  just a mile or so, no big deal.  The bitch was crossing the street to get to the bike lane going east.  By the time MLK was crossed the traffic died.  Free at last!

The rest of the journey went smooth.  But trouble awaited when I finally reached home.  No laurel wreath, no champagne shower.  Dora's friend Shelby was spending the night and she did not need to see my stupid antics.  Shelby was not the issue.

Broken furnace.  FUCK!!!  Yeah, I get to look at this and make a phone call.  Purnelli was out in 10 minutes and solved the issue.  Loose wire in the thermostat.  Got a new air filter as well!

Because the basement door was open the 520 got to spend the night in the kitchen.  Job well done old friend.  Glad you got the honor of carrying my ass to the 7K mark.  You rolled over 3000 this year alone, a few hundred for Mary but over 2K since Ragbrai for me exclusively.  You also carried the new tires for your winter snow replacement if it ever snows.  Enjoy the kitchen, tomorrow you go back to the laundry room!

So, let's see, 3 weeks left.  Impending bad weather.  One long ride to the Trestle with Craig on the 29th.  7400 miles, maybe 7500 for 2012.  Not bad.  Let's see what 2013 brings.

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