Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Surviving the Ice Storm

Wednesday on the Water Works bridge over the Raccoon River.

So the hype was almost true but Monday the roads were bad, mostly.  The trails, worse because they never get cleared of ice.  Well, the MLK sidepath does but that is rarely part of my commute.  But with the doom and gloom forecast of freezing rain and up to a quarter inch of ice I made plans.  I would take my "Trail Is Destroyed Route" to work.

I grabbed the trust Red Phoenix for its studded tires and left the house.  The temperature was at freezing and there were a few drops of rain every now and then.  Our deck was iced over and so was the yard as noted by the crunch it made underneath my waterproof and insulated boots.  The street was total ice but it was white from cars crushing it as they traversed the road.  Two blocks later I reached the main road and it was wet.  I sped up.

Tuesday morning Walnut Creek dumped some ice on the trail underneath the rail trestle on the Bill Riley Trail.

Approximately a half mile from my home found me at the confluence of the Raccoon and Des Moines rivers, or Mullets, and I had to make a decision: trail or streets.  The trail looked like it had a solid layer of ice and since they never salt it it would be a slow nerve wrecking ride even with studded tires.  The roads won out but first the pedestrian bridge must be used to cross the rivers.  It, too, had that layer of ice.  No issues were encountered as I rode over the ice to reach MLK Blvd and the comfort of the salting of the roads.  Sure, salt and sand will beat up the bike but I can always clean it up later.  Normally I would have taken the sidepath because they do apply salt to it along MLK but it looked slick.  The road itself was wet.

I road on the street until I reached 15th and turn up that at Exile and then a left on Ingersoll.  Wet, not icy.  I was making progress.  Half way up Ingersoll there was a truck parked with its window down.  A familiar voice called my name and asked if I wanted a ride.  It was Kevin Allan, another Commuter of the Year.  He said he was 2 hours early and works in the same vicinity of my place of employment.  Why not?  Get there early and drink coffee.  The rain was picking up anyway.  His truck had a cover yet it was able to close eve with my bike in back.  Me and the Red Phoenix dry!

The Red Phoenix safe and dry at work!

He drove the route I would have taken.  Ingersoll all the way to 59th then Grand to 8th and a left on Ashworth.  He turned on 60th where I would have turned on 28th and cut to Westown Pkwy but basically the same.  60th was the worst needing more attention form the road crew.  So in cheater mode I made it to work.  Time warp as some would say.  My instincts were correct as the roads were good.  Coffee time!

The rain never really let up through the day but the temperature remained more or less near freezing.  About 2 pm I received a text from Craig.  "Would you like a ride home?"  With the the exception of hurricanes, tornadoes and cyclones, rain is my least favorite weather event.  Rain when it is near freezing is even worse.  I love to ride when it is snowing.  Rain, I hate.  I took him up on the offer.

The day after.  Tuesday 445 am.  I am on the trail.  The rain did some good.  The ice melted, mostly.  It was safe to ride a bike with studded tires.  To my relief there were not fallen trees or limbs.  In fact, the metro had very few power outages.  The ride was uneventful and I would have set a record to work if I had not ridden cautiously.  To ruin my bliss, the rear tire took a dump and I had to change the tube after dinner after I got home.

Ice on the trail from Walnut Creek.

Wednesday was a heat wave with the high reaching 49F.  The bike trail was of users especially roadies who appear like box elder bugs when it warms up.  Walnut Creek is high and water is almost to the trail itself underneath the rail bridge on the Bill Riley Trail.  I became concerned about flooding.

Thursday was a good day.  Stopped at the store and carried home a 15 lb bag of dog food on back of the bike.  The trails are improving so much that Friday I was back on the single speed roadie.  No ice to worry about.
Looking east from Water Works Bridge.

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