Thursday, December 5, 2013

All Along the Pump Towers

All along the Pump Towers (click for larger image)

There are many here among us
Who feel that life is but a joke
But you and I we've been through that
And this is not our fate
So let us not talk falsely now
The hour's getting late.

All along the watchtower
Princes kept the view
While all the women came
And went barefoot servants too
Outside in the cold distance
A wild cat did growl
Two riders were approaching
And the wind began to howl, hey.
(From All Along the Watchtower by B. Dylan, as performed by J. Hendrix.)

First Up (click for larger view)

Not unusual for early December in the subtropics, it was 72° this morning with a dewpoint of 71° -- making for a misty, foggy and very humid ride. I pocketed my useless eyeglasses before we started. The group was remarkably small for a warm morning with no rain expected: Jaden (in orange), Brian, HL, Randy, Ray, Rich, and me. NOBC's three representatives from the River Parishes joined us on the other side of the Big Dip.

HL rode like HL, making noises about people (me) sitting in or short cutting the line. Big Rich began short cutting the line with impunity. I felt persecuted, but very comfy on Rich's wheel.

Randy must have been pressed for time or still suffering from his recent crash because he turned at the Little Dip. Going through the Big Dip Jaden rode off the front and HL and Brian accelerated to catch him. I may get dropped there on every future ride, but I refuse to race through the west end of the Big Dip. I still have nightmares about the sound Mark D.'s body made as it slammed down onto the asphalt going through that reverse-banked curve, fortunately only breaking his clavicle. I can't remember if HL was there that morning, but I know Brian and Jaden were not. If only I could play for them the little video of the incident that plays over and over in my mind. Give Google a few more years.  

Ray was left there on the climb out of the Big Dip with the rest of us, and he soon sat up and lodged some vague, nonspecific Vegaesque complaint about mud in his brake or some similar equally incomprehensible equipment malfunction.

Foggy Start
Coming back toward town the pace wasn't too bad even as the crosswind (dead south) began to stiffen a little. The River Parish guys turned, Ray got off at Williams Blvd., and somewhere in there we picked up the huge guy, who makes Big Rich look like Little Rich, and one of his compatriots.

At one point, Brian was on the front, then Huge Guy and his friend, then Rich, then me. HL and Jaden were on the back. Brian rides off the front, and I just know HL and Jaden are going to come around any second and chase, which, of course, they do. I expect Rich to go, but he doesn't. I hesitate for an instant and think about going around Rich. Immediately I wonder whether going around Rich will be a smart thing or a foolish thing. Next I think about a Gahan Wilson cartoon1 about making the same stupid mistakes over and over. By this time, there is no decision to make. Then Huge Guy and his friend go off in pursuit and still Rich does nothing. About half a mile up the road Rich and I pass Huge Guy and friend huffing and puffing and pretty much softing it. So Rich and I rode in from west of the country club together.


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  1. Dylan wrote All along the watchtower

    1. Dylan wrote "Outside in the distance. " and Hendrix added "cold." The quote lyric also contains Hendrix's "hey," disrupting the growl/howl rhyme.

  2. jimmy hendrix did a cover of the Bob dylan song. First heard on the DYLAN album John Wesley Harding........

  3. And the quote is of the cover, see reply above.

  4. But I've changed the attribution for Dylan fans. See:

  5. i'm gonna take one of your beautiful photos, change a pixel and claim authorship then....

  6. David,
    Nice use of a song. Yes I was there when Mark crashed. In the 10 years or so of riding that dip, I have seen another broken collarbone and one weekend day a guy getting into an ambulance. Going east, there is a little concrete lip about 3 inches high that surrounds the poles on the right side. He apparently hit that and then hit the pole shoulder first. It was quite a scene and I doubt that man rides a bike today. I have sent the list several emails following stupid days as I think that is the most dangerous place on the levee.
    Pat (aka a River Parish rider) (RRR)

    1. It's kind of like the guys who use traffic as the Giro enters Chef Hwy. as a means to get off the front. One day that will be quite a scene, too.