Thursday, December 12, 2013

Check the List, I've Been Good

Turning at the Big Dip (click images for larger view)
My immutable rule, faithfully applied to weather conditions to determine whether I venture onto the levee, is what I call the Law of 45/15. If the temperature is below 45° or the wind is greater than 15 mph, I stay within the comfy confines of my abode. Big Rich, because he's tougher, or at least he wants me to think he is, professes to live by a 20 mph wind limit. As for temperature, he subscribes to the Konrad Doctrine, which can be paraphrased thusly: "There is no bad weather, only bad clothes." I'm not convinced either Rich or Rob unwaveringly abides by this tenet.

When I awoke this morning I could hear the wind outside. I opened the door to my driveway and checked the stiff bush which is surrounded on three sides by house and only moves during hurricanes and other unusual wind events and it was swaying violently. I did not want to ride. Hoping to find  justification for jumping back into bed, I checked the weather online. I didn't like what I saw on the most relevant site (observations at MSY) so I checked Lakefront (KNEW). This is what I found:

While MSY was 46/14, taken as a whole, observations were ambiguous at best in light of the Lakefront readings, and, being a lawyer, I believed I could present a colorable argument for returning to the warm contentment of my bed. So I sent Big Rich (considerately including California Rick1) this email at 5:16:
 -------- Original Message --------
Subject:     Riding?
Date:     Thu, 12 Dec 2013 05:16:47 -0600
From:     David J. L'Hoste <>
To:     Richard B. Ehret <>, Rick Aubry <>

Lakefront says winds are 20.
MSY has 14 but that will be 20 coming home through Kenner.

In his typically laconic fashion, Rich responded at 5:22 as follows:
I was slightly angry with myself because I truly didn't want to face the cold and wind, but I had shown my hand, so to speak, and failed to garner any support from Rich for what I wanted -- validation of my wimpy desire to go back to sleep.

It was about 5:35 when, clad only in boxers and my fleece-lined L.L. Bean slippers, I dragged my bike, which had been untouched for a week, into the utility room to put air in the tires. It was about 5:38 (16 minutes before I needed to leave for the ride) when I pulled the pumphead off the rear wheel and with it came the broken stem core. Great. Now I had less than 25 minutes to change a flat, brush my teeth, fill a water bottle, dig out and put on a full compliment of cold weather gear and ride three miles to Oak and River Road.

Well, now I'm a little conflicted because although I've made the distasteful decision to brave the weather conditions, this unavoidable mechanical failure, totally beyond my control, may well allow me to avoid prevent me from making the ride. What to do? My resolution of these sorts of dilemmas usually involves fussing out loud, audibly expressing consternation at my predicament. So as I'm banging around in the utility room, pissing and moaning about not having time to change the flat and make the ride and how I am not going to change this damn flat just to go suffer on the levee, my loving wife, who was in the adjacent kitchen preparing herself a cup of coffee and had listened to about enough, said, "You are obviously upset because you want to ride so just change the flat and go." To which I replied, "I'll never be able to change the flat in time to make the ride." To which she retorted (and I swear this is verbatim), "Then quit whining, throw the bike in the car, take it over to Rich, and get him to change the flat."

What? So I tell my wife, "You don't understand. First, Rich would look at me like I was nuts if I did that. Second, it's quarter to 6 and Rich is deep into his pre-ride routine, which I assure you does not include changing my flat. And third, you don't think I can change this flat and make the ride? Is that what you are saying? Because I'll do it. I swear I'll do it."

All of which my wife viewed as a continuation of my earlier whining, and left the room. So I killed myself speed-changing the flat, not eating, speed-dressing, and racing toward Oak and River Road.

I caught Rich at the base of the levee.

Waiting at the start in the biting, icy wind, Rich and I were joined by Randy and Triceps Dave. Rich started bitching about his being too big to get a draft from Randy, Dave and me. Or more accurately, bitching about Randy, Dave and me not being big enough to provide him with a draft. Right after we rolled we were joined by Woody.

The ride out wasn't too bad as the wind moved a little and was more NNE than due N. This, of course, made the ride in miserable. Randy is still injured and could only take abbreviated pulls for part of the ride, and when Woody was on the front I felt like I was on the front because he would up the pace that much. It was almost like pulling twice in  a four-man rotation. We saw few people on the levee. Mignon was inbound as we were going out. Donald was heading out as we were coming in. And we passed a rider who Rich said was Racer X (the Bashful Artist), although he was covered head-to-toe, including his face, in black, and I couldn't tell who it was. Someone said he looked like a Ninja.

I was looking forward to Rich's ride profile, thinking the longer, faster pulls by Woody might be discernible, but Rich didn't clear his data from yesterday and his computer treated today's ride like a leg of yesterday's. Maybe Santa will bring me a Garmin for Christmas. If Santa checks his list, he'll see I've been exceptionally good. I rode today.

= = =
1. I included California Rick on this morning's email to Big Rich because Rick rode on Tuesday morning, when MSY was reporting gusts to 29 mph and 41°:
In a later email he lamented that "it was f**king cold and windy" and he asked if he was late to the start and perhaps had been left because nobody was on the levee. Rich, being ever supportive and in his inimitable, succinct style responded simply: HAHAHA.

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1 comment:

  1. I must have just missed you guys as I saw a group in the distance. (didn't really bother me all that much!!!) Also, the price of a garmin 500 (not 510) has recently dropped to $200 or less. I have a 500 and it works great. Hope Santa is reading…...