Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Cars Are Always in My F'ing Way

There are those that say that bicycles do not belong on the road.  These are the 99%.  I have been yelled at, cussed at and accused of sodomy for riding my bike.  I've had $400 worth of lights and reflective gear and a lit cigar in my mouth and still got hit.  My friends have had things thrown at them including fast food.  The 99% feel that bicycles slow down traffic and pose a health risk to their riders.  Give me convenience or give me death.  Diabetes uber alles!

But everyday I listen to the traffic reports and I learn that people crash their cars left and right in good weather and in bad weather.  Did you know that in the year of our Lord 2010 that 89.8 people per day in the US of A were needlessly killed by automobiles?  I am sure that this stat includes bicyclist murdered by cars.  But almost 90 lives per day snuffed out by cars.  If these people were killed by guns Obama would have sent in his jackboots to confiscate my firearms and yours, assuming you have any.

I always laugh when the road report is on a snowy day.  It is as if plane loads of Floridians descend upon Des Moines and drive 20 year old Pontiacs with their original Eagle GT tires.    WTF??!!!???  No one remembers how toi drive when it snows?  Are people so important that need to drive fast in dangerous conditions?  I recall a 19 year old woman/girl from Omaha that passed a car and fell off of I-235.  That was God killing her.  So damn full of pride and lacking consideration for the safety of others that the instant karma card was invoked and her earthly existence came to a violent bone smashing and bloody end at once.

So I have this sporto with a Texas U hat call me a faggot for riding a bike.  My "fuck off" was an invitation for him to turn after me and take time out of his busy day to ask me why I said that.  Cellphone in hand I started dialing 911.  I don't understand why he called me that, he was driving a Honda Vue or some sort of squarish SUV that generally is marketed to the Bette Middler crowd.  Putting a Florida State sticker does not make it less of a Queen's SUV.  I was slowing down traffic he yelled.  4 lanes and I hug the curb for 2 blocks.  Lick my ass.

I find that I am always waiting on cars to get out of my way.  At 530 am there is generally one car that I have to slow down or stop for at two of the intersections I cross every day on my way to work.  No cars until I get there.  No cars after I stop and it goes by.

Then there is the bleeding heart drivers that I have to stop for BUT they stop and wave me through.  I don't need a hand out, I need you to get the fuck out of my way.  Please do not stop.  Just roll along.  These people with good intentions are annoying.

Left turns are difficult at times.  Going down Park Ave to make the turn onto the trail I need to constantly look behind so I can seize the turn lane.  Often I am forced to go to the intersection and hit the cross light button and wait 4 or 5 minutes for the light to change.  Too many cars in the way again

So the next time you see a bike in the road remember that it is very easy to lift your foot off the gas and then steer a few degrees out of the way, correct and reapply foot pressure on the throttle.  Much easier than pedalling or stopping and resuming biking when the Tahoe with 1 person has gone by.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Boxing Day

Many explanations about this Canadian holiday.  None I believe.  Originally wanted a 12er of Molson and some sort of feats of strength day but that did not happen.  Golf and bowling on the Wii having my family humiliate me for too much body English.  Hit the dog at least twice while bowling but Quin launched the remote behind him nearly breaking glass.  Ham and reduced sugar soda pop.  I developed a hunger after a 20 mile ride.

Last nights northern adventure left me a bit weak.  What I really needed was water but I was too fogged to get some.  Slept until 9am and eventually went to Hy Vee with Mary sometime after noon.  Mr Egg Roll was out lunch destination.

The grocery store sucked the life out of me.  Felt very full and not motivated.  Grey skies with wind and a darkening front moving in did not help.  I went into Wine&Spirits and found a 6 pack of Molson but could not get it.  Nope.  Not needed.  48 degrees, a miracle on the day after Christmas, and all I wanted was a nap.
Nice ride back.  No long wait for the light to jump onto SE14 and take the left on Lacona but we did have to stop and wait for a truck and car.  Always waiting on cars.

Two blocks from home I thought of the water need.  Still debating whether to ride on or not.  Windy.  Chance of rain. Unload our purchases.  And then we discovered the pie

Mary's mother made an apple pie for Christmas dinner.  3lbs of apples were in between the crust.  Somehow it ended up on the floor.  We think the cat or dog knocked it off the table.  The dog ate it.  I was glad I had a slice for breakfast.  I think we had eaten nearly half of it before the animals tagged teamed the pie.  I was pissed.   Grab lights.  I slammed two pints of tap water and filled a bottle.  Give it a try.

First stop was at Best Trip, the Phillips station on the corner of SE1st and Jackson.  No Molson but Lite 16oz 6 packs.  Noticed that beer prices increased.  Bummer but 10lb of ice for $1.99.  Not that I needed ice today.

Mullets was busy when I hopped on the trail.  Quin was called in to work hours ago.  Joe Joe was at Best Trip saying he too was called in early.  Boxing Day.  I could get a Molson there.

The trail was fine except for the constant head wind.  Goose shit all over the levy.  A few stick bikes making their way east with a trail wind.  I was determined to get to Water Works and turn around.  However, the Droid was playing good tunes and I continued on my way. 

I caught up with T-Bone and Lisa shortly after seeing a man walking his tri bike.  Flat most likely but he had a cell phone and only a mile to walk to Orlandos.  T&L were totally unaware of me as I sat on their tails.  We rolled to the Shack of Safety another 4 miles away.

Tony called his father, George, and noted that people were leaving the Cumming Tap.  No need to roll further.  People gathered and everyone enjoyed a beer until the rain started.  Pack up, secure and roll.

Graham pushed it fairly decently from the evacuation to Park Ave.  The Clubman was fixed.  Three of us averaged about 19 to 20 most of the way.  We passed those who had rolled off before we started.  My 520, front and rear bags, gave me a nice work out.  Thank you, Graham, that was fun.

The rain ended by the time we reached the No Horses bridge.  Another round of beers and then home.  It was getting dark.  Dinner time was approaching.  Boxing Day was ending.  I left my bike on the deck.  An hour later when I let the dog out I noticed that it rain again.  Good timing.

My mood was improved.  I got to enjoy the warm weather.  Had a great lunch with Mary.  Played some games with my children.  Played bikes with my friends.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Miracle

Quin and I on are way to Midnight Mass, Christmas Eve 2011 AD

First of all I have to thank the Good Lord for this wonderful weather we have been experiencing in Iowa this autumn and now winter.  Sure, it has officially been winter now for less than a week but at times it felt like spring.  yesterday was one of them.  It was nearly 50F!  I did not have to dress like an astronaut to ride my bicycle.

It has snowed maybe 3 times thus far.  The snow does not stick around for a day.  Iowa is in a drought.  Sure, the other day it rain all day long but 1 day out of many months.  Nice for cycling.  Crap for farmers but they will get screwed whether it rains or not.  Farming is the only business where the person gets fooked for doing a good job.

Drought, unseasonably warm weather, global warming, climate change, La Nina, El Nino, Dodge City and Omaha deflecting shit weather from Iowa or perhaps my prayers for a protective bubble around Mary as she commutes to work, something is not right but that something is paying off dividends quite well for me.

Quin, #2 son, #3 child and #5 in the family rode with me to my sister's house in Beaverdale.  It was Christmas Eve and my mother and grandmother were awaiting to be graced by my presence.  If I was to die on this day it would not be in a can.  Sure, I could have been pulverized by a car while on my bike but as Harry Dean Stanton said in Repo Man, "Better to die on your feet than live on your knees."

Since quitting the driving world I rarely ride inside automobiles.  There are few drivers I trust.  The feeling of exceeding 20 mph gives me motion sickness unless the driver is skilled.  My choices tonight were a young Asian man or my sister, both with suspect driving records i.e. crashes and fuck ups.  No thank you, I'd rather ride.  Besides it's damn near 50F!

Quin rode his West German built "Executive" English style 3-speed.  I rode the my beloved Red Phoenix, Trek FX 7.5 700C urban blitz bicycle.  Had I been thinking I would have grabbed the  Raleigh LTD, but it is in the shed for the winter and the FX has all the required lighting plus Christmas lights.  We did consider road bikes, and the weather and conditions were perfect for it, but the lights issue came up.  Too lazy to swap lights.  We really could use about 50 red flashers and 50 front lights that run on AAs.

One of these days I will get a decent photo of the BikeGlow lights and Christmas lights.  Last night was not it.

Patty lives about 7 miles north of our home in Little Italy.  East River John Pat Dorian Neal Smith Trail to the InterUrban Trail.  Cross the Des Moines River via the "trestle" and cross MLK and take the first right to ride up a steep hill below the VA hospital.  Nice ride.  Always enjoy the DSM skyline, from Principal Park, Bob Ray's Japanese building, Botanical Center, and the river. 

Quin had not been this way for quite sometime.  He was amazed that the landslide that took out part of the trail behind Lutheran Hospital was corrected.  And, as well, the trail on the new levy was done.  Been a long time in the works, too long.  Had this crap happened to I-235 people with pitch forks and torches would be at Terrace Hill.  But bikes put up with great amount of shit before action occurs.

We had a simple Christmas Eve Dinner of soup and sandwiches.  Me, I enjoyed some real Coke, not the Diet formaldehyde formula.  I drink the high fructose sugar model on holidays.  Drank diet soda for years.  It did not help.

Afterwards it was time for the Unwrapping of the Gifts.  During this time, while enjoying 1 of 2 glasses of Barefoot's Shiraz, my Christmas Miracle occurred.  I received a text from a non-contact.  Since we were not quite in shark mode in re gift unwrapping, I read it.  "Merry Christmas, long time no see" was all it said.  Recognizing the area code I reply with the same.  This person texted back, "Do you know who this is?"  I did not but had a few clues, wrong but a few.

I thought it might have been my cousin Troy Morgan who lives in the same area code.  Wrong was my reply.  I asked Quin to get on the Google and search my texter's number since his phone is smarter than mine.  I'd have to fire up Mini-Opera and then shut it down to text again.  Quin, on the other hand, merely needs to stroke the Droid a few times to get the answer.  Someone near Charles City.

Robert Prunty!  The bastard that started me down the path of biking.  The one that taught me never to take a screw driver to a derailleur unless I knew what I was doing.  The one that showed me how to ride at night in the middle of winter without lights and with a piece of paper in my mouth to keep me warm.  I learned most of my now seldom used off road skills from him.  On a tandem we destroyed a wheel that the Trek Rep gave him and I watched him bash said wheel against a tree until it was round enough to get us home.  The one who gave me a stripped unpainted frame that became my first road bike.  That Rob.  My mentor.

Now Robert disappeared from the face of the earth nearly a decade ago.  After leaving Cedar Falls we would meet occasionally and ride bikes.  We'd meet at Camp Igawnis and hit the single track along the Shell Rock River long before it became an established mtb mecca of Northern Iowa.  We also hit Brush Creek State Park when it was brand spanking new.  Of course long road rides near Chucktown.

He did 18 months in Iraq driving a large 20 or so wheeled ammo carrier.  He called me when he got back safe and said he'd never do that again because of the stress his family endured.  Then the strain of family existence and some tough times hit him.  He was able to ditch the bigfoot he married for someone that made him happy.  Soon his phone number no longer worked.  Not being computer literate at the turn of the century, he never did have an email that I knew of.  Searches online for him lacked any joy.  Another friend vanished from my life.  what a drag it is getting old.

Then that series of texting.  Best present I ever received.  Got that number now.  Said he still had his fleet of bicycles and some that I'd never seen.  Good sign!  I sent him a photo of The Bridge, you know, The High Trestle.  When this winter is over, and we do not need to wear so many layers just to maintain life out of doors, when we WILL NEED ICE for the brews, I'd like Mary and I to meet Rob and his wife under the blue lights above the DSM River.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Guidelines for Tandems: Stokers

Just a few biased facts based on my tandem experience to put forth.

1   Tandems are not faster than single bikes.  A quality tandem with a good team is

2   Just because you spent $6K USD on a tandem does not make it faster.  See disclaimer #1

3   Tandems are easier for 2 people to ride together than the same pair on singles.  FALSE  these people need to work together, discover the qualities of the bike and develop their skills together.  Of course 2 tandem experten thrown together on a tandem will have an easier go at since they know what to expect, mostly.

4   Tandems are heavier than singles.  A 42 lb mtb tandem weighs about the same as two 21 lb single bikes.  Our 36lb road tandem weighs the same as two 18lb singles.

Tandems consist of two people.  The person in front or "captain" and the person in back, the "stoker" "rear admiral".  Any additional riders are "stokers".  I am a captain or as I refer to myself, "gear hunter".  Mary is my stoker or as I sometimes consider her, "air brake."

We currently have 2 tandems.  Our first is a mtb converted to touring bike.  I have logged a few hours and miles on single track in the woods of this bike.  However, most of my riding is on pavement and thus the flat bars were replaced with drop bars.

Fisher Gemini, Ragbrai 2011

Our other tandem is a road/racing tandem.  No racks or unnecessary shit.  Just a computer, 4 water bottle cages and provisions for lights.

Cannondale RT3000, Carlisle, Iowa
The captain's responsibility is to keep the bicycle upright and avoid collisions.  the captain must communicate with the stoker about changes in speed, cadence, immediate bumps and other assorted dangers.  The captain is also responsible for communicating with other bicyclists unless that power is delegated to the stoker or the captain is unaware of others.

The stokers main and most important responsibility is to learn and blindly accept the habits of the captain.  When these two individuals first unite on the bike the captain will issue the necessary orders; coast, resume, downshift, up shift, stand up and stop pedalling because there is a bad bump/tracks ect. 

After a significant period of time the captain should not have to communicate so much with the stoker.  the stoker should know what the captain is going to do.  After 20 years Mary knows the exact moment that I will stop pedalling for a stop sign or a 90 degree turn.  She knows the exact speed in which I will resume pedalling after dive bombing a 40 mph downhill.  This greatly reduces the my workload and lowers my stress to free my mind on more important issues.  These issues include where to stop for a pee break, what we should have for lunch, how hard we should push it to bury the competition, what brand of beer should be purchased and how much.  Paramount, where are we going and how long will it take to get there.

Others duties of the stoker include but are not limited to:

--placing map back in captain's jersey back pocket

--handling camera and/or handing camera to captain or putting camera in captain's jersey pocket

--operating communication devises, phones, texting, internet, FB, walkie talkies communicators

--monitoring tandem mechanical performance--chain rub on front derailleur, noise from rear wheel, tire pressure (does it look or feel like it's going flat?), what cog in the cassette is the chain puking in

--inform captain when other bicycles are drafting (serious issue with tandems are wheel suckers.  We have inadvertently run a few of these unwelcome guests off the road simply because we were unaware of their presence

--monitor rear rack and panniers (if equipped)

--monitor trailer (if equipped)

--operate stereo

--operating weapon systems--tandem weapons include but are not limited to the following--water balloons, squirt guns, water bottles, eggs, flare guns. bottle rockets, firecrackers, MG 151/20, MG42, MK103, Hispano 20MM, Ma Deuce, 1911, Glocks, Uzis ect

Stokers also have other responsibilities

--never sit up and create an air brake without permission
--never take personal phone calls while on the bike
--screen captain's phone calls
--never bitch about extended beer breaks
--inform the captain if need to stop pedalling
--inform the captain if the trailer (if equipped) is knocking down orange cones

What makes a good stoker?

--understand and fulfill the duties and responsibilities mentioned above
--very important is to be lighter than the captain. 
--complete trust in the captain

And that is why I love Mary. Shes a strong rider that never complains and can handle a 30mm machine cannon like a pro!


Saturday, December 17, 2011

December Nice!

BWR 2011 @Dahls with negative setting

December nice.  That's what she said.  Meagan Salouis (sp) Channel 13 weather chick.  Yes it has been nice.  Outstanding as far as Decembers go.  Not much to complain about.  Temperature has been great for this time of year.  Snow has been very, very nonexistent.  Rain has stayed away, mostly.

289 miles this month thus far. Another 200+ possible.  December's record are 462 (2010), 218 (2009), 195 (2008), 174 (2007), 120 (1999) and 160 (1994).  1994 was my first 3000+ mile year. 1999 was the second time I rode more than 3K in one year.  It took until 2008 to do that again and I have yet to do less.  So those 2 years are the bench marks that I have used for over a decade to measure myself.

December Nice!  Recently switched to boots instead of sandals although if it warm enough I will wear the sandals.  My record low with them is 18F.  Smart Wool socks with liners and a winter pair on top.

December Nice!  Light snow on the 1st.  Roads too warm for it to stick.  Needed my goggles because my right eye was getting the brunt of it.  It rain two days later.  Then it snowed again on the 10th.  I had a great ride in virgin snow on the trail.  Gone within a day.

December Nice!  Warmest Big Wheel Rally I remember.  Photo of at the bottom is from BWR 2009.  We used the snow drift in front of GTs as a bike rack.  Studded tires.  Last year it snowed and was very, very windy.  I remember the wind pushing me backwards on my tricycle.  This year it warmer and drier.  Someone even had to get ice for their cooler on the BWR.  No studded tires.  We have yet to put those tires on our commuters this winter.

BWR 2010 Roadmaster Tricycle

December Nice!  In years past I remember very cold temperatures and lots of snow.  The other night it felt like Spring.  Global warming?  A fluke?  A gift from God?  Enjoy this autumn, seasonable weather will be hell!

I had ambitions for this day.  The desire for a long ride on a fast bike.  Nothing but a water bottle, some cash and ability to remedy a flat tire.  That is all one really needs for a century ride.  Mobile phone and a few Powerbars too.  Nothing else.  Lacona, Iowa, was my target.  Round trip of 90+ miles through some of the best Iowa county roads and the Summerset Trail.  But ambition can be vapid. 

It was cold this morning.  20s and 30s.  The promise of near 40s seemed empty.  It took its sweet ass time to warm up.  Now for me it really was not that cold.  I have ridden in worse.  If winter stays like this I will not complain.  Probably set some mileage records.  But getting motivated this morning was difficult.  It seemed so unnecessary. 

I only needed 16 miles (15.6 if we are splitting atoms).  A trip to Windsor Heights would suffice.  Needed to return a RedBox dvd.  But a century ride would burn some fat.  Yep, still losing weight.  Need a serious fat burn before Christmas.  But it is cold.

Finally got my ass outside at noon.  Lacona was out.  Save that ride for Spring or 50F day.  Cumming Tap.  fast ride on the Versailles and drink a diet Mtn Dew and water at the Tap.  26 miles.  !0 more than I need.  Perfecto!  December nice!

But my heart was not in it.  I turned around in Water Works Park.  Ride to my bank and see what the ATM can give me.  No water bottle.  CycleSound taking the spot where my saddle bag with tube, lever and CO2 should be.  Breakfast a distant memory.  Lunch at home.  10 miles enough.  I will ride again to return the dvd.

Just as soon as I completed the Crazy Ivan 180 turn I felt better.  Shifted into big ring and pushed it hard.  Rip those muscle, make the lungs sweat.  This felt great.  Touring bike and hybrid do not compare to the raw power of a road bike kicking in the jets.  8 days before Christmas on a carbon fiber road bike with 23s!  December nice!  Too bad I quit early.

Lunch was homemade pizza, Mary's speciality.  Ingredients from Grazianos, Little Italy's finest.  I partook.  Bowl of Fiber One as well too push the bad carbs out.  Moderation is the key to virtue.  When one abstains their soul is in torment.  Nothing virtuous about that.  Fiber One to prevent gluttony of the pizza.

Ride #2 was a trip to Hy Vee.  Mary's desire.  520 action.  Slower and heavier but 4 cavernous bags to soak up purchases.  Mary took her Cannondale which is the black bike on the bottom of the blog.  We brought back 42 lb of groceries plus 8 liters of liquid.  Notably, the 520 carried a 20 lb bag of kitty litter AND a 8.5 lb bag of charcoal.  Had to balance the bike.  Should have brought the Burley trailer.  4 miles plus a useless trip to B&B SuperMarket (closed) gave me 5 more miles.  Just what I needed to get my 100 for the week with a day to spare.  Life is good.

Enjoy this December.  When the weather catches up with the calendar it will be hell.  I cannot complain.  It has been a fantastic autumn.  I set record mileage for October (721) and November (623).  December, too, shall witness a new record. 

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Wet Ride to the Western Ghettos

I could really careless about the suburbs.  Really no need to go beyond Valley Junction.  Jordan Creek is a colossal rape of farmland and over commercialisation.  Good Lord, 25 years from now Jordan Creek Town Center will be a piece of shit and the new mall will be in Adel.  No need to go to Merle Hay Mall except for the Viet Namese tailors and occasion good gun deals at Dunhams.  Not even a record store there anymore.  I do miss Brenda L, optometrist.

The worst thing is the traffic.  First, nobody likes to stay home when they live in the western ghetto.  they feel the need to drive everywhere all the time.  Seriously, I can ride almost anywhere in Des Moines proper (non-rush hour) on the streets without issues.  Get to Urbandale or WDM and I swear gas must be 20 cents a gallon.  Busy all the time especially on weekends.  Try crossing into WDM from 63rd and Grand.  WTF??!!  let's get everyone at this intersection all the Fookin' time!  One reason I seldom go to Rassy's.

Second, traffic lights are horrid.  Seriously, I could paint my toe nails and let them dry completely before the light turns green.  There should be a big lighted sign at the border "WELCOME TO WEST DES MOINES, ENJOY ARE TRAFFIC LIGHTS, SUCKERS!"

Finally, one must provide a DNA sample when requesting permission to live there.  If you have any genetic link to a species of herding animal, you are welcome to live there.  If not, you need to go back to Des Moines and live with the "undesirables" that the affluent suburbanites try to protect their children from (white flight).  Don't believe me?  try to get a table at a restaurant.  Hour wait.  Only a herding animal would put up with that bullshit.

Why clean up your city when you can destroy good farmland to settle your precious snowflakes in?  Taxabatements, no welfare leeches here anyway.

I generally only visit the border areas.  Windsor Heights for Hy Vee and Wal Mart since these are conveniently located on the trail.  Just do not get in Mohammed's line as he will make everyone wait while he calls someone else to scan beer (Muslim Pharisee just looking devout to impress others.  Living in the land of the Infidel is sin enough).

Sometimes I venture to Bike World now located in Urbandale.  Or to visit Mary at the school she teaches at.  Sometimes to MHM to have clothing hemmed and repaired by the family that runs the shop in the mall.  Urbandale is so generous in granting taxabatements for settlers building homes on farmland that they lack the revenue to maintain and repair their older streets.  They use pick up trucks to plow the streets. 

But today we had to venture to 22nd/86th Street near Hooters.  Mary's credit union moved there from its former location on Grand.

The weather was shit, 1 turd out of 5.  Light rain.  I do not mind getting wet but I hate getting the bicycles I am responsible for maintaining and upkeep wet.  Mary's bike already sounded like it needed the chain cleaned and lubed.  My chain is still relatively new and may have gotten wet once or twice.  guess what I get to do Sunday after Church??

She offered to go there herself but I went anyway.  I needed to ride to burn fat.  We needed to stop at Hy Vee AGAIN for Monday's dinner.  So we donned our rain gear.  That faded yellow jacket of mine, it is a rain jacket that is no longer waterproof.  I used my red Columbia rain jacket that I purchased at Dunhams for $16.  It was my rain protection and warmth layer for my 10 hike in the Sangre Cristo range of the Rookies back in 2009.  Mary adopted it ever since.  This may be the first time I wore it since 2009.  I also used rain pants that I acquired about the same time.  Unfortunately, they are too big and mary used them once and ripped them in two places.  Experiment.  Performance Gore Tex gloves, these are waterproof!

The rain was not bad at all.  The wind was light as well and to our backs.  It could have been alot worse.  I resisted saying this aloud.  Jinxing sucks.  We took the trail all the way to Wal Mart and then crossed 8th/73rd to the sidewalk on Buffalo Rd.

This all went well.  Even crossing 22nd was smooth.  Then the Walgreens incident.  Someone in a maroon Cadillac almost hit me.  Not sure if it was a battle for the right a way or bad car brakes.  It was attempting to leave Walgreens and I was on the sidewalk.  Mary rode past it as it was slowly ascending the incline to the street.  I heard the squeaky brakes but I think it felt that I should have yielded.  No way Jose.  You can wait.  I held my line and as it was apparent that this line was going to be violated I gently touched the hood need the ornament.  I should have slammed it hard.  Just a kind gesture that said "Hey fucker, wait your turn.  Hate to have the police involved."  No honking or yelling or cursing.

Finally we arrive at the credit union.  It is in a former bank that I no longer recall the name of.  No handicap provisions on the sidewalk so we had to lift the bikes up or bunny hop.  I got off and lifted.  Heavy ass touring bike with front rack and bags.

At this point we were sorta wet.  Not cold.  My red jacket does not see to work as well as it did when I got it.  Too many washes and I think it was used as Mary's outer shell for 2 winters.  Sweat was the other issue.  But sweat is good, right? 

Coffee was available in the lobby so I helped myself.  Seattle's Best, Starbucks lesser line. Mary took a sip and headed to the ATM.  Once again, our first stop in the Western Ghetto,  the herding animals created a large line.  It was 1015 am.  Free coffee, it had been almost 24 hours since I had any.  Have not even had water today nor food.

We took Buffalo Rd proper on the return.  Front and rear flashers as an added precaution.  Traffic was light and the sidewalk narrow.  Better speed.  There is a school on this street, cars need to behave.  We seized the turn lane at 8th and crossed onto the sidewalk to the trail.  Safe!

Windsor Heights Hy Vee was relatively uneventful.  Crowded as usual.  Honestly, I feel claustrophobic in this grocery store.  Always too crowded in the aisle.  Today getting a cart was an effort.  4 elderly folks milling around and a woman with a toddler who was in front of the cart she was trying to use.  Endless people walking in and Santa and Mrs. Claus waiting for photos.  The simple act of grabbing a cart was not understood by these people.  And me, in "forward progress must keep moving" mode and dripping wet barged right in a seized a cart and nearly pissed off everyone with this ability.  The fat bitch with the snot nosed brat made an ugly woman sound.  When honey, carry the kid from the door and stick him in the cart and you would not have had to deal with me.  It is not a game here, it is economic movement.  We later saw them after check out.  the kid was on the rocking horse with the biggest grin on his face, my rudeness forgotten by Mrs Diabetes.

The highlight here was bumping into Sam and Austin Gill.  Prepping for the ISU game they had a 12 of new Belgium Ranger and a bottle of something else.  I wish we could have matched and joined.  Time to return to DSM.

The ride home was marked by a headwind.  Rain was still light.  Timmy called both of us because he has an inability to open the fridge or freezer and feed himself at age 14.  Mary ignored his call.  I answered and said we would be home soon.  Back in Little Italy we stopped at Grazianos for sausage and Best Trip for 10 lbs of ice.  No waiting here!

20 miles.  Wet clothing and bikes.  Mission accomplished.  Turn the tea kettle on and hit the shower.  1 lb lighter than before the trip began.