Sunday, April 19, 2009

No Fear Riding in a Friday Snowstorm

Greetings Readers

It was just about four weeks ago since Tracey was almost taken from me.

No, I was not frightened to take Tracey out in the world again. First of all, Tracey had some pretty shitty tires on her. Meaning, that I was on my back up tires and I was getting flats every day prior to Tracey almost getting taken that one Saturday Afternoon in March.

Tracey has been sitting in my room waiting to be fixed. During that time between almost being taken and taking Tracey out for first ride since the incident my parents came and visit me (and celebrate my Dad’s birthday). Then, I went on vacation with them when they left back for the Ranch. I came back the second week in April and tried to get back into synch with my life.

Littered throughout that period there were a lot of nice sunny, warm days, which I took Andrea out. When the days that were going to be bad – rain or snow predicted - I took Lily out. That’s the great thing about having six readily bikes at your disposal (not counting the four bikes I have in storage) I can take or choose the bike I want for whatever the day might bring.

Friday morning I got up early and decided to change out those fucking shitty tires I have as back up and change them for the tires that are on Andrea’s HED. rims. I have exhausted all my back up patches and I just did not want to deal with one more flat that is a fucking guarantee going to happen to me.

I do have two sets of spare Michelin ProRace2 tires and I have been waiting and waiting for the moment to use. Now, over a year later since purchasing the extra sets of ProRace 2 tires I figure that it is time to use the Blue Michelin tires on Andrea and move the red Michelin tires to Tracey.

I thought, really thought, of taking Lily to work, but I woke up and thought to myself it is time for Tracey to get out. Regardless of the forecasted snow that was going to happen… well that was already happening when I left for work Friday Morning.

Tracey felt so weird when I was on her. My position, her frame, but soon I remembered her like the back of my hand.

The rain and snow and rain and snow fell throughout the morning and early afternoon. I even got to see and hear the rare lightening flash and thunderclap in the middle of a snowstorm. Wow.

Well, the office got word that we were shutting down at three. Almost everyone asked me did I ride today. Oh yes. And my Road Bike to boot.

“You need a ride?”

“Nope” I answer.

“You sure?”

“Yes. I am going to go to the Light Rail station and then when I reach my stop I will only have about two miles to get home. Matter of fact, I bet that I will beat you home and you will be still stuck in traffic with everyone else trying to get home.”

“Yeah I know you will beat everyone home – I bet a lot of people are getting off early and it is going to be ugly. Just like it was three weeks ago.”

I leave the parking garage and sure enough the ride home was going to be tough. I was already slipping and sliding, but I managed to get in area where the building maintenance guy had just plowed with the mini four wheel ATV. Oh yeah. As soon as I reached the parking lot I had to stick to the fresh snow/slush part of the parking lot since with me riding in the tracks of the vehicles was a very bad idea. The slush was compacted to ice and there was literally compacted slush everywhere.

I was slipping and sliding everywhere, until I found a small area near the curb to ride in where it was safer to ride in as opposed in the tracks of the tires made by every vehicle out there. I guess the one positive thing was that it was not cold. Blowing snow yes, but not cold.

Eventually, I made the Light Rail Station with Tracey without falling to kiss Mother Earth.

Soon I was at the Arapahoe Light Rail station and that was my stop. Now, the question was which was I going to go home. I could take the direct path home. Nope. I could take the non-traffic way home. Nope. I decided to take the long way home via Yosemite and then Arapahoe Road home. I wanted to be seen. I wanted to show to everyone that I would be beating everyone home. I also wanted those drivers to think, “That’s one crazy son of a bitch riding in this weather.”

I rode with no fear that Friday Afternoon. I knew that I was going to be showing off, in my mind, and to a certain degree that was going to make me feel good about myself.

I will tell you Readers one thing. Both brakes were fucking useless! Useless! The slush was turning to ice at the braking area and I could not even squeeze the levers to brake. I literally had one foot in the toe straps and one foot on the ground sliding on the sheet of ice on the road.

About half way home I decided that I am going to stop at the liquor store.

Three people (two men and a woman) where outside the liquor store talking and then notice me pull up on my bike.

“Wow” one said

“That bike must be good in snow?“ the woman asked.

“Nope, only the rider.” I reply with a big smile.

“Do you want my goggles? I think that you need them more than I do?”

“No thank you. My Oakley’s are working good though.” I reply.

I lock up my bike, which I did not need to since anyone trying to take my bike would not get very far at all.

“That was very nice of you to offer me your goggles. Thank you again.” I say to the woman as I walk by her.

“You’re welcome”

Five minutes later I walk out with my alcohol

“You take care and watch out for those crazy drivers.”

“Thank you”

Soon, I was on Arapahoe Road once more, well the sidewalk, and I was heading west. Heading home.

Now, was the time for me to shine. There was traffic and it was not moving. I saw that the sidewalk was not plowed and that no one else had walked on the sidewalk since the snow started falling. Perfect. I just needed to keep my momentum and remember the lay of the sidewalk.

I got Tracey moving and sure enough I was reading about 15 mph going down Arapahoe Road on the sidewalk. Traffic was not moving and I am sure that I was the envy of the drivers that were stuck in that traffic jam. Oh yeah. I pedaled like there was no tomorrow. I was not worried about falling. No fear. Even with a backpack full of bottled beer I was not scairt.

Fast Forward. I got home and took a couple after pictures of Tracey and then really looked at Tracey. Damn those red Michelin Prorace 2 Tires look hot on her frame. Not to mention brand new. That’s the thing with riding in the snow my bike tires get cleaned. Fucking clean. Fucking brand new clean.

And that my Readers and Faithful Readers was my ride home this past Friday with Tracey.

By the way Readers – Those Blue Michelin tires on Andrea look fantastic. Meaning, they do not stick out like the red Michelin tires did on Andrea. Which means the white on the bike frame and wheels stand out even more.

Until the next time

Daryl Charley
The Fallen Athlete


Joshua Barker said...

Nice job riding on Friday. I was also riding the skinnies - and it sucked! Good to hear you made it home in one piece. You are a pretty hardcore bike commuter!

Classic: "Tracey felt so weird when I was on her. My position, her frame, but soon I remembered her like the back of my hand."

The re-awakening of an Athlete said...

Thanks Joshua

Good to hear I was not the only one out there.

Although, as I mentioned this in the blog and at work that I told them I was pretty impressed with myself.

Yet, most of the words were - crazy and concerned with a crazy laugh from them.