Perfect Timing

“Uh oh!”

That’s not inspiring when it comes from the mechanic working on your bike.

With a forecast of rain for the weekend, I skipped calling for any ride at all. After all Linda had her Easy Does it! I Made the Grade Tune Up ride. I’d have like to have started earlier than 10 and have made a century of it around Kendrick but . .

Well, Jim tore me up last Sunday and Mike Warnock finished the job on Tuesday. So a rainy forecast gave me a great excuse for lying back when I didn’t quite feel up to my usual mileage.

That’s right, play fox and goose with Jim last weekend left my legs tied up tight with lactic acid. Then on what should have been an easy recovery ride, Mike Warnock decided to teach me another lesson about chasing. I already new this. Chris taught it me one summer and I never forgot. I’m going to plead tired legs from Sunday.

But then the sun came out unexpectedly for Linda’s ride. She hoped she’d have some who would ride on into Sage Bakery. Turns ou the Spiral Highway weeded out those not ready for that extra effort.

Gary and I arrived first at the top. I’m carrying 15lbs more weight than last year and it shows. And my right leg still felt tight with lactic acid burn. Gary has been able to train much because of the weather and because of his recovery time from the shoulder tear he got last fall. We’ll be riding the Lilac Century next Sunday and will likely stay together. That is if Gary can find the start line in time this year. First Chris, then Gary. Sheesh.

You’ll want to be watching KLEW news this week. Tracci Dial interviewed me before the ride and got some video of us heading out of the Corps parking lot. Shel’ll edit together some of these shots with others in a story about Bike Month and Bike-to-Work week. The story may wait until the 16-20. I don’t know. But look for our jersey on KLEW.

We had sunshine up the grade and were feeling distincly summery. “What an awesome day,” Linda enthused. But on top clouds were closing in and in those clouds a few drops of rain. Across the valley we could see rain cells in the Blues headed for Clarkston.

No one suggested turning back, though and we had quite a bit of tailwind and even a bit of sunshine headed back to the top of the hill.

Gary was showing off riding down the hill without touching a brake or pedaling. I’m not the good so we ended up pretty close together and so we both saw figures below us. I assumed they were bikes. Gary saw them more clearly. Skateboarders. One had a camera on a stick. They had come from Utah to skate the Spiral Highway. The boards were extra long but had conventional wheels.

“That’s the best part,” one said to the other pointing toward the Rose Garden and the busy travel lanes. Should have taken a picture. Darn.

“it’s raining right where we are going.” Gary pointed to the southwestern sky dark with rain sky to ground. “We’ve got about 15 minutes,” he guessed.

At the Rose Garden we ease right on to a frontage road. As I did, I shifted to a lower gear in back or I tried. Onc press sent the lever through what should have been three gears–nothing. I’ve broken a number cables over the past few years, mostly rear but even last summer a front cable. I knew the feeling. The good news? Breaking a rear cable means you are in the smallest chain ring in the back so climbing will be tough. But I was at the Rose Garden. “So what,” I thought.

Al Banta had told me he thought Pedals ‘n Spokes had gone the way of TNT (more later), so I spun around the Follett’s encountering the city water department in the form of one Bill Arnold.

By now the clouds had closed in and it began to rain as I wheeled my bike into Follet’s.

“Have time to change a rear cable,” I asked.

A young man named Matt took on the task while Dietz, needing to get quarters for the cash register, put on his rain gear.

For a moment it looked like Matt wasn’t going to be up to the task. The drum barrel end had stayed in the shifter gumming up the works and preventing loading a new cable. But we managed to pull it out and Matt tuned up the derailleur like a pro–oh, yeah, I guess that’s what he is.

Dietz came back fuming. “Not a drop,” he complained. The sun had come out, I’d stayed dry, my derailluer was working.

Perfect Timing.

For the Ride of it


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