DXMachina (dxmachina) wrote,

Three Rides

The heat has let up some, but the humidity is still hanging in there, alas. It's been raining most of the day, so I spent the evening indoors rather than pushing the mower or riding a bike. Still, I rode plenty this week, managing to get in rides Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

Tuesday's ride was notable only because it was the first with the new chain, which was supposed to eliminate the clicky-clack noises I'd been hearing. No such luck, although they did fade away after the first mile or two, but then that's how it was with the old chain, too. The gears were a little out of alignment due to the fiddling BSG did with the derailleur cable when he installed the new chain, but I was able to do some fine tuning of the cable adjustment as I rode*. The chain also skipped a few times, but that seemed to get better as I got the derailleur cable adjusted properly.

* There's an adjustment knob for the cable on the Fuji's frame that's within easy reach while riding. Very handy.

Wednesday's ride was cut short by a thunderstorm. The storms were forecast, but when I'd checked weather radar before heading down to the path, they were still in Connecticut, so I figure I could squeeze the ride in. I was a little dismayed when a few drops hit the windshield as I pulled into the parking lot at Kingston Station, but what the hell. I'd just gotten to the turnaround point for the first lap when I heard the first rumble. I'd pedaling at a pretty good clip for me to that point (a wind-aided 14 mph), and I really pushed it as I headed back. It occurred to me that there's one stretch of the path that runs through a wide open marsh, with only a couple of not much taller than a rider on a bike trees to offer alternative targets for lightning bolts. This provided a marvelous incentive to pedal as hard as I could. I broke my previous best average speed for the ride, finishing at 15.2 mph, which means I was doing 16+, into the wind, all the way back. Go me! It started sprinkling about a mile out from the parking lot, but the heavy stuff held off until I got the bike and me safely loaded inside the truck. Boy, did it ever pour shortly thereafter/

Thursday's ride was long, slow, and terrifying. Early in the day I was sitting at my desk at work when out of the blue sharp pain ripped across the the lower right of my back. I have no idea what set it off, but it bothered me the rest of the day. I can usually ride through back pain, and it actually often helps, so I decided to risk an easy ride. It turned out to be fine, and it did help loosen up whatever was stabbing me. I did 21 miles at an easy pace.

It was not quite halfway through the ride when a dragonfly tried to kill me. The path crosses several roads along the way, one of which is a private road that is more of a community driveway. There's rarely any traffic on it, so usually when I approach it I coast with my hands ready to brake if I see a car, but don't really slow down all that much. Just as I started my coast last night, a dragonfly hit me right in the mouth. Joy! So, while I should have been watching and getting ready to brake, I was, in fact, flailing about with my hand trying to clear the damn thing from between my lips whilst trying to maintain my balance**. Then, just as I managed to get rid of the frelling bug, I noticed a pickup truck coming up the road. I hit the brakes as hard as I could, leaving a long skid mark, but it was no use. I skidded right into the intersection. Fortunately, he saw me coming and stopped before I plowed on through, thus avoiding having me become his new hood ornament. Yeesh!

** Fortunately, my mouth wasn't much open when it hit, and it never got past my teeth. I'd hate to think my obituary might mention "Choked to death on a dragonfly" as cause of death.

So, my easy ride briefly turned into one that had my heart was pounding harder than the night before. Stoopid dragonflys. On the plus side, my back was much improved today.

The rides brought me to 225 miles for July, just 37 miles short of my all-time best for the month with eight more days to go. I could do that this weekend if the weather cooperates.
Tags: biking, death critters, weather

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