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Another rider down  //   Friday - August 5, 2005

Lots of riding, five out of seven days this week, so very little time for posting. It's been another heat wave with temps in the high 90's and the humidity just as bad. You end the ride with clothes as wet as if you had jumped in the river. Luckily it's supposed to break tomorrow.

Anyway, I don't know if it's just been getting more press or if the frequency is increasing or I am just noticing it more, but it seems a lot of riders have been getting hit by autos. Dig through Gwadzilla's recent postings, he's been hot on this topic recently. Also, I just read this tale of a hit and run and the ensuing chase down to catch the dirty bastard. Make sure to check it out. And stay safe out there.

- riderx

Ticket to Ride  //   Monday - August 1, 2005

Over the past week and a half I've been spending more time on the fixed gear riding the tarmac than I have been on the dirt which is pretty unusual. No more particular reason for it, I'm just going with the flow. Last weekend was busy with non-biking stuff I needed to take care of and I was feeling burned out on the local trails (which tends to happen to me once in a while) so the fixed was just the tool to maximize some quality ride time. On those two days they were pretty uneventful rides, very average in length and difficulty with the exception of hauling a growler of beer, some steaks and a bunch of veggies on my back as I picked up the makings for dinner while out on my ride.

Wednesday saw a return to dirt and "Ride the Lightning part II". Early on in the ride we got caught in a fierce thunderstorm. As we worked our way back to the start we were quickly soaked to the bone. Trails were flowing like streams, not yet muddy since the water had yet to penetrate the hard soil. It was a good time to observe all of the problem areas and pinpoint where the water goes. I made a few mental notes of the next trail work day. At one point we climb a hill to a powerline cut out, just three of us on the fast ride that night: Markie Mark, Ricky D and me. Out of the woods and into the open, not the best place when thundering and lightning is closing in. I put my head down and climb to the top, seeing flashes of light out of the corner of my eye and hearing bolts of lightning hitting way to close for comfort. I keep pedaling steady until the trail reenters the woods and stop to wait for the others catch up. I figure in the dense trees I'm less of a target than if I'm riding a steel bike in the open field. The boys should be right behind me but after waiting a few minutes and not seeing them I reluctantly go back out in the field and backtrack. The whole time the storm has seemed to get closer and closer (if that's possible) and lighting and thunder are right on top of us. I find Markie at the bottom of the hill, searching for Ricky D who apparently took a wrong turn. We decide to move forward and meet him from the other direction. Mid-way up the open powerline climb a crash and bolt of lightning hit so close I should be able to feel a rise in the air temperature. I stomp the pedals and do double time for the "safety" of the woods. By the time we catch up with Ricky it seems the dangerous part of the storm has moved on. We continue working our way out of the trail with a vastly shortened ride. Note to self: seek shelter next time, that was too close.

Saturday three of us headed out to do the Westside Fixed 50 route, couldn't get anymore takers with my last minute notice. A nice sunny day, temperatures had moved back down to the nice low 80s. Extended the route a bit to log around 60 miles total. It was a good ride with a solid pace that left my legs feeling worked by the end. Stopped for burritos and beer around mile 50.

With both single speeds needing some TLC I opted once again for a fixed road ride on Sunday. Did a relatively easy 20 miles solo to stretch the legs and the weekend's riding was done. Back to dirt for sure on Wednesday. The more than normal road riding has been a good change of pace, but the dirt is my first love.

- riderx


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