|The Fog Begins To Lift|
My sense of unease wasn't helped a bit by the wind (due south at 12 mph), which I knew would make for a dicey crosswind, especially with a dozen riders and especially in the open east-west sections of the ride (e.g., Williams Blvd. to the Old End, the borrow pits in St. Charles Parish, and so forth, and so on.)
With the above in mind, you can certainly understand the last thing my smoldering case of the fantods needed at the start was to hear Max directly tell me he was worried I might have "a thing" about photographing people urinating. Please note there was nobody urinating on the levee this morning and while Max didn't elaborate I believe now, as I did then, he was referring to a rather innocuous photograph posted in the last edition of this blog of the straight-on rear view of an unidentified, slightly fleshy rider standing next to a telephone pole staring off into the marsh. Although I wasn't sure what Max could possibly be referring to by "a thing," it unnerved me and I decided to investigate the issue when I got home after the ride. I can now report the results of my research: Max was basically characterizing me as a urolagniac, which lumps me together, in the same boat so to speak, with the likes of Troughman, an Aussie whose claim to fame is his proclivity for lying down in busy trough urinals, Rockbitch, an over-the-top British band of not-so-nice women whose popular stage preformance of their tune "Piss and Roll"3 is not to be believed, and a porn actress, name of Annie Sprinkle.
So, burdened with all of the foregoing, nervous as a cat, I set off with 11 fellow cyclists toward the west, into the foggy night.
I know I said, "This is crazy," at least a dozen times before we passed the Florida Street pump tower in Kenner. At times visibility could not have been much more than 30 feet. Several times someone up the line screamed out an unintelligible warning, sometimes accompanied by the dull squeak of wet brakes, sometimes not. At one point we overtook an Orangeman, who latched onto my wheel -- I was on the back at the time. All of a sudden there was a rapid deceleration of the line with no warning. The orange-clad rider (I think it was Daniel) made a comment about the lack of warning and turned around.
I stayed in the rotation because that was by far the easiest alternative in the crosswind. When we got to the open area west of Williams, the rotation stopped, either someone ahead was shortcutting the line or whoever was pulling was staying put. I can't say which because I couldn't see the front of the line through the fog. At that point I was last rider and on Rich's wheel. Well, Big Rich (who, I feel compelled to note, has been bitching an inordinate amount lately about not getting any protection behind Triceps Dave, Randy, and me) was on Randy's wheel. As anyone who has ridden on the levee with Randy in a crosswind well knows, he can ride pretty close to the edge in order to try to get himself a draft, which he was doing this morning in spades. Rich is getting no draft. I'm getting less. Then I see Rich is increasingly riding on a little strip of grass that has encroached onto the path, where it needs edging, which grass couldn't really be distinguished in any manner from the grass that wasn't encroaching but was just grass on dirt. My fantods are now no longer smoldering, they're howling.
After a couple of more this-is-crazy comments, I decide to turn at the St. Charles Parish line, the so-called Old End. Then I see Rich pointing to a pothole in the middle of the path, which being within the six-foot range of visibility, I recognize as the hole that is two driveways west of the Old End. Apparently, I couldn't see enough in the fog to recognize the parish line when we crossed it. At that point, my anxiety outweighing any pleasure I was getting from the ride, I turned and rode in alone.
|Mississippi River Batture|
A few miles after I began back toward town a single rider emerged from the fog just ahead. It was Keith, who as he passed gave me his most gravelly, "This is crazy."
1. CCC is an acronym for the official name of the twin cantilevered bridges over the Mississippi River in New Orleans. The acronym was used herein rather than the full name because the third initial represents a word which cannot be used in this post cf. note 1 to my post of Monday, 17 February 2014.
2. Also at the start were Randy, Danielle, Triceps Dave, Judd, Big Scott, and several people with whom I am unacquainted.
3. You can google rockbitch piss and roll video, for visuals, but I warn you it's not for the faint of heart.
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