Sunday, July 28, 2013

3GR: Cold North Wind Edition

Ice Cream Cake
The weather changed Friday and Saturday I awoke to a morning about as cold as my son's recent ice cream birthday cake. (Well, not really, but I had to work the image into the story so I could show coastkid the ice cream cake!) It was in the upper 40's, and the wind was brisk out of the North-Northwest.. I made my way over to the starting point and was being thwarted by just about every traffic light. (Yes- cyclists, you should obey traffic lights!)

As I rolled up the hill to the parking lot meeting spot, I spied a rider under the shelter there. It turned out to be Mike. I had thought Mike was doing an event, but I was wrong, it is next weekend. We waited until it was time to take off, but saw no other riders. A twosome it would be. Slowly we rolled down the embankment and onto the tarmac for a few blocks before turning left onto gravel.

Mike announced that he had been in possession of this fine titanium bicycle he was riding for several months, but that the ride Saturday was his first ride on the bike. So it was a special maiden voyage 3GR as well.

The always spectacular Ivanhoe Road
The brisk wind was right in our faces as we strove against it going Northward. We discussed how it had been a Northerly for most of Mike's 3GR attendances. The wind on the ride was steady, at least, and not too gusty. The gravel was a bit pervasive. Many times it was across the entire road surface. No good, smooth lines except in rare instances. This was not a good thing for the 33mm tires I was running. many times I felt as though I was "surfing" more than riding. The ol' Black Mountain Cycles bike is stable though, at lest I had that going for me.

The flowers are spectacular in the ditches now.
The ride was good, and we were not worn down by the North wind, but when we turned our backs to it, we were grateful for the easing of the effort. In fact, we almost felt guilty because it felt like cheating.

Along about the time we were headed back South, the conversation had turned to bears on the Tour Divide route that Mike had just finished. He hadn't seen any, but we both had heard about others who had. Then not more than a few minutes later, a brown blur came racing across the road from my right. It was a squirrel, and it just barely missed my front wheel!

I turned to my left to see it strike Mike's bike near the back edge of his front wheel and the squirrel jetted upward. Now at this micro-second in time, my thought was the squirrel was going to get jammed into the fork crown and cause Mike to have a big wreck. However; the squirrel actually bounced backward a bit, clearing Mike's bike, but it flew up into the air, cartwheeling and spinning up to our head's height! Then it hit the road and sped off in a flash.

Mike and I were flabbergasted. I was amazed he wasn't downed in a bloody heap. We probably laughed about that for the next mile and a half! That wasn't the only wildlife sighting either. We had a big doe early on running up the road ahead of us, and we must have seen a half a dozen Red Tailed Hawks along the route. I'm not sure if the colder weather is making the animals restless, but they were on the move yesterday.

Well, it was a great ride, and the first where I have felt better in a long time.


GravelDoc said...

Glad to hear you're feeling better. I've had a few "close encounters of the squirrel kind" and I'm always amazed at their acrobatics. Also, we're really enjoying unusually cool summer temps and rain here in southwest Missouri. Thanks for sending some our way.

coastkid said...

That ice cream cake looks yummy!

It`s all about the cake at the end of the ride! -:)

john said...

Your squirrel story reminds me of a time when Mike and several of us were riding in a double pace line and a squire - one of the toughest animals on earth got between us and ricocheted at least three times form one line to the other.

Guitar Ted said...

@coastkid: Yes- "Have your cake and eat it too", as the saying goes, right?

Thanks for checking in.