Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Fast and Dark

Owing to the marvelous happenstance of the earth's obliquity, i.e. the tilt of its wobbly axial spin, as we hurtle along on our 365-day journey around the nearest star at about 67,000 mph, we are treated to changing seasons and variations in the length of daylight. At the equator, not so much, but in our neighborhood, very close to 30 ° north, it makes for about an hour less daylight today than what we enjoyed a month ago. So the ride out to the lakefront at 5:45 is now getting darker by the day, and while I have started to learn the locations of most of the sink-holes and giant wheel-swallowing fissures in our route out to the lakefront, it still feels like something of a gamble each morning I make the ride.
Oct. 2, 3014 heading out along Wisner
And our circuit along Lakeshore Drive, which, when I first started making this new Tues/Thurs route, was made in that wonderful first glow of dawn, is now conducted in the complete darkness of night. To make matters worse, with the increased hazards of racing along in the dark has come the return of Woody.

Tuesday was crazy fast coming west from the turn near the industrial canal, with Woody and Brian B (not MD) repeatedly surging off the front at 30+ mph. I actually hung with the group being led by HL and Ray. My wheel was bounced sideways by a crack going around the Paris traffic circle almost sending me to the pavement, and I absolutely hate flying through the pock-marked roadway near the Franklin Ave. intersection in the dark. It was a tough ride, as hard as any Sunday Giro, but  I survived it and believe I am regaining some of the cycle fitness lost during my summer layoff.

 Brian B (not MD) had a flat as we were finishing in Bucktown. Brian makes something of a production of changing a flat, a predilection which incited a steady stream of critical and humorous commentary from those standing around waiting for him to finish.

Changing a flat in Buck Town

by David J. L'Hoste (1996)

The tilt of Earth's wobbly spin,
Like child's gyro dancing
On a string to a slow tango,
Slightly askew,

Twenty-three degrees, give or take
A degree or two,
As Fate has deigned it,
Is its obliquity.

This cant which sends our yellow star
South with the birds
In winter
And pushes it

Higher in the sky
To melt the snow
In spring,
Recalling warblers and thrushes,
Is tended by moon's pull.

Without its pearly satellite
Our orb would overlist
Or ride as straight as a
Crisply spun top.

What a world it would be
Without the tug of the moon
Or Earth's obliquity!

- -

 In other news:

Heading home -  Oct. 2, 2014
 Last Thursday's ride was largely uneventful. The weather was perfect: cool and nearly windless. I should mention two incidents which occurred as we were near the turnaround in Kenner. The first, as we were approaching Williams, involved Retail Ray, HL and me. Ray took a nice steady pull and as he got off and was dropping back along the line, I heard HL encourage the group to attack Ray. The group failed to accept HL's invitation, but HL's comment made a couple of things clear to me: 1) he was on my wheel, and 2) he would jump me when I got off the front. I was right on both counts and it was only by a hair, and mostly through a fierce determination not to have HL succeed in his endeavor that I got on the back of the line as HL attacked. As I was dropping back, Retail Ray made an entirely appropriate descriptive remark regarding HL's riding style which I will refrain from repeating here for decorum's sake. The second incident of note occurred just as we were making the turn, although I am not privy to all of the circumstances surrounding the event because HL, Big Rich and I were in the little walkway just east of Williams discussing HL's incredible denial that he had actually jumped me, moray eels and sting rays. But as best I can tell from what I observed, some quite attractive young lady we overtook near Williams had apparently dropped something on the path, and most of our group were killing themselves trying to get to it first to return the item to its comely owner. The whole affair included at least one bicycle dropped on concrete among the knot of cyclists trying to help.

Sunday's Giro was lightly attended due to the MS ride and a century in Mississippi. About 17 or so riders and a reasonable pace made for a pleasant Sunday morning.

I-510 on Giro, Sunday, Oct. 5, 2014
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