Monday, January 23, 2012

Coffee At The Top

When I got home and was pushing the buttons to enter the code on the garage door opener I couldn't feel my finger tips. My fingers had gotten really cold and with the lack of adequate circulation most of them had become numb. As I was riding up Rose Canyon I had stopped a few times to take some pictures and unfortunately in the snow and wet and crud I must have been smitten with the Speedplay curse and I was having a lot of trouble clipping in. My windproof full fingered gloves had gotten pretty wet between the riding and trying to force the springs in my cleats back to working order and the ride back home from where the road turns to dirt at Yellow Fork is all downhill which means a 25 to 30 mph headwind and subsequent jump in wind chill factor when the temperature is already below freezing.

The garage door finally goes up and I get the bike inside the living room, balance the rear wheel against the edge of the couch and peel off the winter layers. It seems everything is wet. The balaclava, the gloves, the windproof top, the bibs, the leg warmers,the socks, the shoes and especially the toe covers. Wet and muddy. Splatters of mud are all over the place. All up my backside - bibs, top and helmet - and all over the bike. Whoops. Had I sat down to take off my shoes? I hate a dirty bike and frankly so does my wife. Some people have inside dogs right? Well I have inside bikes and when they are dirty I get in trouble. So all my muddy wet crap is laying all over the ottoman and the muddy wet bike is on the carpet and leaning against the edge of the couch and I notice a little splotch of snow that was clinging to my front hub finally let loose in the warmth of the house and seemingly in slow motion fall to the carpet. Plop.

I decide to get out of there quick and with my 5 year old daughter there to tote my shoes, gloves, sunglasses, balaclava and helmet downstairs to my office I hoist the bike up on the rear wheel to walk it back through the living room and down the stairs so I can mitigate the damage. That's when I notice that, yes, my rear tire has been leaking air and is now flat. I thought there had been a little bouncy spring that my bike had been adding to my pedal stroke for the last two miles of my ride. I thought I had a puncture but amazingly the tube made it home and got me to the living room. I don't know how to put into words the sound that a clincher tire makes when the last of the air is leaving a tube. I'm not sure how to really describe it but it's not a sound that I like to hear. To me it sounds like money evaporating out of my wallet. And there's probably not a worse physical sensation of touch than pinching a flat tire on a bike. I would rather put my hand on a hot burner.

What a day. I rode 21 wet cold and muddy miles and made my way up Rose Canyon. It was freezing. Literally. I climbed about a thousand feet as fast as I could go, burning my lungs with the freezing air and then got to descend the same which combined with the sweaty wet muddiness of the climbing made the temps feel about twenty times colder than they really were. My face got wind chapped and my eyeballs froze and my fingers went numb. I got wet and muddy and dirty because the roads were wet and muddy and dirty. My brake pads sound like they've been replaced with 10 grit sandpaper. My bike got even more dirty than me and then when we got home my bike leaked that dirty in the living room right along with the air out of the rear tire. I punctured on the last 2 miles of my ride and had to bounce pedal the homestretch. Now I'm down to my last tube. My Speedplays aren't playing anymore. The cleats on my shoes have decided that they have had enough of this winter riding. I've got to clean the carpet and now I've got some laundry to do. So basically what I'm trying to say is that I had a great time on the bike. A fantastic ride. I can only think of one thing that could have made it better. I wish somebody had met me at the top with a hot cup of coffee. That would have made it better - to have a coffee at the top.

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