|More blowing than snow.|
I took my short cut and rode on Westown Pkwy and Buffalo Rd to get to the trail in Windsor Heights. Because of poor planning I had to stop at Boulevard Sports to pick up a set of studded tires for my winter commuter. I was riding my 520 with touring tires. No issues. There may have been 3" of snow.
Crossing Grand Ave near the Art Center traffic was back up in both directions as far as the eye could see. I had to weave between the cars. I was laughing. A little bit later as I was on the Bill Riley Trail I encountered another cycling commuter and we both greeted and saluted each other. He looked at me and said "They call us stupid. Who is stupid today?" True. We were not only safe, making forward progress but relatively on time and stress free. The snowy world was beautiful. Such a gorgeous world to be in. We laughed at the plight of all the muggles stuck on the streets in their steel and plastic cages and rode off in different directions.
When I got to Mullets I had a powerful thirst hit me. It was the feeling one gets when they do something epic and extraordinary. I just cycled through one of the worst snow storms in the metro and came out the other side safe and in a great mood. Celebrate success a former supervisor of mine used to say. Damn right, time for Fireball and beer! My timing could not have been better. As I entered the establishment a song from my favorite and just started. Am I in heaven? Now it's Iowa.
The Germans used to call this a "birthday party." If one crashed their plane or were shot down but made it back everyone would make sure you got real drunk to celebrate the fact that you got another lease on life. Well I beat the odds once again.
Thursday was another one of those rides. Doom and gloom in the forecast. Supposed to rain all night and then have a sudden severe drop in temperature to below freezing and snow. Somehow it was still 42*F when I left and the rain was over except for a mist. I could take a roadie, I thought before remembering that the temp was going to fall through the floor and I'll need extra clothing for the ride home.
And the temperature did drop. It dropped to 24*F by the time I got to work. Yes, 18*F drop in an hour and a half. I remember the wind picking up when I was about 3 miles into it. A few miles later I felt the cold on my chest. 9 miles into it the sleeves on my jacket were icing up. At one point when I hit the brakes the right (rear) brake lever was frozen and would not move for a moment. I saw ice on the streets for my last two miles but this did not concern me since I was riding on studded tires.
When the muggles at work asked me if I rode the bicycle to work they were amazed. I told them that my tires say Klondike on them, what do yours say? Honestly, I feel safer biking on days like this because if I drove I could possibly damage my vehicle, damage other peoples' property and possibly kill someone. On a bicycle I just look stupid to those that lack the knowledge and magic, muggles.
When the snow began we stared from the inside of the building with coffee in our hands. Looks bad. Looks to be more than an inch or two that they forecasted. "you going to be safe riding home?" the cagers asked. Yes. "Safer than you," I replied, "You have to deal with each other, I get an empty trail." Over 55 Crashes See?
I could not wait to get out. I wanted to hit the trail before everyone and their niece and their 3 dogs stepped on every possible square inch of snow covered trail. I wanted virgin snow covered trail to myself. On the Greenbelt I saw one set of boot tracks and paw prints on both sides of the trail. There also was a fatbike track. So all in all the trail was in good shape. Two people on MTBs were attempting to ride on the ice covered walnut Creek near 73rd St. Fools, the ice is less than 12 hours old. It was maybe 13*F now and dropping. Later I saw a fatbiker.
The wind was at least 26 mph from the NW. I had a tail wind of sorts. I did not have to fight it. I encountered a man on a crossbike heading west into the wind on the Bill Riley Trail as it parallels the Raccoon River. I've seen him before. We always nod or do a finger wave whenever we cross paths. Today I said howdy. His response was classic, Quote of the Winter. "THIS WIND CAN EAT A DICK!!!!" True.
|Great parking. Thought I'd see some fatbikes here.|
|New England IPA. Probably the finest IPA I've ever had. Well done, Confluence, well done!|
Two miles later I was at Confluence Brewing Company. Time to celebrate. Time for my birthday party! It was the release of Chewbocka Winter Bock in cans. As expected, I had the only bicycle there until Mary showed up. Where are all the fatbikes? Russ met me there as he said on FaceBook. I missed two other friends because we left after 4 beers. Mary had only two. Had to get dinner. Had to work tomorrow.
1.5 miles later we were at Mullets but it was closed. I am glad I decided to stop at Confluence. Mullets closed for the safety of their employees. It may have been 6 pm. I don't blame them. But of the Beacon of Light establishments play for weary travelers? Damn, 15 miles into this bitch of a ride and no joy here. I admit I was very disappointed. I even thought about taking my Mullets Mason Jar there for $5 beers. Frozen pizza from the gas station. At least it was DiGiorno. As far as booze, could have stopped at Extra Innings.
My ride that day. Good on the way to work. Great on the ride home. Not that I want to do this day after day. But every now and then during this season I feel the need. I miss warm weather. Spring cannot get here soon enough.