Thursday, October 16, 2014

Birthday Beatdown

As I was preparing to leave my house at 5:35 this morning to ride, I couldn't shake a certain apprehensiveness which had been in the back of my mind since I got out of bed. Several factors were contributing to my uneasiness: 1) I had been up since 2:47, so I was operating on about 4 1/2 hours of sleep, 2) I felt an entire year older when I awoke, this new day marking my survival for 62 years, 3) I had been troubled for about three days with a dull ache in the medial aspect of my left knee of uncertain etiology, and 4) I had been watching the magnolia trees in my yard getting pummeled by the wind for two solid days, and I was not entirely convinced that the National Weather Service wasn't just screwing with me when reporting calm winds at KMSY and only the faintest of breezes from the SW at KNEW.

Approaching Williams Blvd. and the Casino
 I arrived at the meeting place first. Actually I got there second, but Brian B (not MD), always being a little on the antsy side, finds it somewhat difficult, I think, to sit on the corner waiting for others and usually does a loop on Nashville from Claiborne to Fountainbleau. I passed him as he was heading back toward Claiborne. Most of the usual suspects showed up. Dragging in last, as expected, was Big Rich. He was tardy enough so that he couldn't use his normal, lame "satellite time" argument and tried to float a scenario where he departed the Pearl in plenty of time but realized while he was passing Audubon Park that he didn't have his helmet on.

When we arrived at West End, only a few riders from Jefferson Parish were rolling east. Notably absent were HL (briefly from JP post-Katrina) and Woody. A birthday present, I thought. But as we neared Elysian Fields, I saw a rider up ahead making a uey in the dark to integrate with the group and it was obviously HL. On a time trial bike. Happy birthday. As we climbed the levee for the last time before the turnaround, I noticed a rider working his way up the left side of the paceline. He was in a dark blue kit with white-rimmed glasses on. Woody. Another B-day present. As a bonus we were treated to a morning of reticent comments emanating from the Bashful Artist on a TT bike.

The speed kept increasing, and in the last section between Canal St. and West End, the group was strung out and fractured into several pieces.

The ride out to the casino at Williams Blvd. was quick but manageable with Matt taking a long,
Selfie taken using voice-activated RBE Remote Control
steady pull at 25 mph for a few miles.  The trip in was also fast, but the real torture was served up by the most brilliant, eye-level sun into which we directly rode for the entire way back to Orleans Parish. It was miserable and trying to see where I was going and who might be coming, I wasn't paying attention sufficiently to avoid ending up in a huge gear trying to climb straight up the levee on the east side of the Causeway. I lost contact going up, killed myself getting back on and was cooked by Bonnabel. So I rode the last mile alone and chased back to the group at a red light in Bucktown.

By the time I got home I was whipped, hungry, and my knee hurt. My loving wife cooked a birthday breakfast for me, complete with toast cut into a little heart. Apparently, she loves me more than Matt and HL and Woody.

[Note: This blog isn't intended to disparage or offend anyone. If anything contained herein is believed to be inaccurate or offensive, please leave a comment. Any such comment may change nothing, but will be stark evidence of your right to free expression of thought and opinion, much as this blog evidences mine. Thanks for visiting.]

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