Another fun group ride last Saturday evening. It was suppose to be Saturday afternoon, but when I went to fill up the flat tire on Greta’s bike, the stem came out. So, I swapped out the tube, proud of myself for accomplishing this in record time (it’s way easier when you’re home in your garage, than on the road-side). While inflating, the tire started bulging around the stem section of the tube, and then I found the dreaded split in the sidewall of the tire. Argh. Maybe her bike just came with crappy tires on it stock. I raced off to one of my preferred local bike shops and picked up a new gatorskin hardshell replacement tire, in hopes of avoiding future tire issues as much as possible (I run this same tire on the rear of my Catrike 700 as well).
With Greta’s bike made whole again after the necessary tire replacement, we sent off a text to good friends Jennie and Kevin, then met up for a quick ride along the Springwater Corridor, out to Boring and back. Prepared for brisk temperatures, we were pleasantly surprised with just enough sunshine to keep us a little on the warm side.
Greta is always harassing me about the need to put on sunblock when I go out for rides. “The last thing you need is to add skin cancer to all your other issues!” And “I don’t want you looking like an old leather bag!” She’s has a point. I already have some pretty serious sunglasses raccoon eyes going on from all the sunny rides this year, and some new really funky tan line blocks on my upper forehead where the sun beats through the vents on the front of my helmet (a new problem since adopting the buzz-cut).
Sunday was going to be some more solo hill climbing for myself. However, trying to be dutiful and get the lawn knocked down first, I got a little later start than anticipated, and missed the window of sunny weather. I should have taken this early view of impending weather doom as a sign and turned around. But having actually remembered to lather up my face with sunblock, I kept pedaling, like an idiot. Then the rain started, I kept pedaling, like an idiot. Then the hail started, which actually smarts pretty bad on your face, but my fairing helped. I kept pedaling, like an idiot. Then I witnessed a bolt of lightning touch down on top of the hill that I usually like to climb, followed by the deafening crack of thunder an instant later. I stopped pedaling.
Taking refuge under one of the covered bench areas alongside the trail (fortunately found one unoccupied by the growing transient population), I paused to try and wait out the storm. Well, it wasn’t getting better, rainfall wise, but there wasn’t any more lightning/thunder, so I headed back towards home. Half-way back, I was out of it, and the closer I got towards home, the dryer everything was, as if the storm hit a wall and stopped moving any further. Turns out, from our house towards downtown was completely dry, I simply went the wrong direction. It was a tempting thought to keep riding towards downtown but I was already chilled to the bone, dripping water everywhere, and having finally found my sensible side, called it quits for the day.
I don’t need to go into all the details, but it will suffice to say that work has been a source of stress for me lately. Last week was cranking up this level towards the end, then after a particularly frustrating work day on Monday, continuing into Tuesday morning, my lower shoulder blade area started locking up (I’m coming to realize this is something that comes highly related with stress, for me) and was nagging me pretty bad. Finally making it through the backlogged mound, I escaped the home office for what I hoped would be the ride I had wanted to take on Sunday.
The weather forecast turned pessimistic and being a little gun-shy after the deluge that caught me on Sunday, I almost opted for pedaling on the trainer in the garage. Almost, but decided to just go for it, and I am glad I did as the big clouds seemed to stay just out of reach for the entire ride. My shoulder blade/side was still bothering me, but sure enough, about 30 minutes into the ride, my anti-stress drug of pedaling started to kick in and the muscle tension pain has been gone since.
Early on, I started off each ride with a very clear route. Now that I’m getting up there in miles and hill climbing, hey, if I have the time, I’m probably going to explore a bit. With a floppy plan in place, I detoured half way through the ride, which was great, except for the busier roads I got stuck trying to share with traffic. In the city around here, I think that you generally get a mix of passive-aggressive drivers. There are either “extremely patient and go out of their way to accommodate my trike” drivers, or there are the “extremely rude, bordering on openly hostile”, drivers. As I get further out in the country, it seems to move back towards the considerate crowd of drivers. Unfortunately, the space between (the burbs), the majority of drivers are horrible. Cutting back through Pleasant Valley on a couple of busier roads, there were a couple drivers who laid on the horn while passing, one even spent the effort to yell some obscenity at me while racing by.
Sometimes people suck. I was aiming for another hill I hadn’t tried riding up before, but with the increase in traffic as I approached the end of the work day, I bailed of the main road and headed off on an adventure through a couple other back roads. I was pretty sure this direction connected, and it did, thankfully. Coming down one of my last big descents towards home, Lowly the trike even broke the 50 mph barrier on a beautiful, quite, and straight decline.
As if I needed any more motivation, work stress has now been added as yet another reason for me to kippitmoving. Get out and exercise, your body and attitude will thank you for it.