Internal Detours
Sunday, July 27, 2008
  of Rivendells and rain
So Eli went down for his nap and it was time to go ride. I went down into the basement and looked around at the bikes. It was Belle's turn in the rotation, I decided, so I pumped up the tires and headed out.

I was rolling into downtown when I noticed just how dark the sky was getting. Hmm. Still, I pushed on, because I wanted to ride. I shifted up onto the large chainring and settled into a rhythm, rolling down the rail-trail conversion. For the zillionth time, I noticed how stable and steady the Rivendell runs and thanked Grant Petersen for designing it.

I have moments when I think, "I'll never get to ride brevets, and Paris-Brest-Paris isn't going to happen for me. I don't need this bike." Then I ride it and think, "I really, really like this bike. How crazy it would be to let go of it."

I was turning onto Florida Avenue when the rain started, first as a drizzle, then picking up in intensity as I cut through Wisewood subdivision. I wound up taking shelter on a church's front porch. After about five minutes, it slowed down to a slight drizzle again, and I headed on out.

Water sprayed off my tires and all over my ankles and throughout the drivetrain. I have fenders for this bike, and for a couple of years they stayed on it constantly. I took them off so I could get ready to ride out West, though. Those lovely fenders are sitting hanging on a rod in the basement as I write this, and isn't that a foolish place for them to be?

I shivered a bit initially - I got cold waiting on the church's porch in wet cycling togs, even in July, but once I got back up to speed I warmed up. I left the chain on the big ring and kept switching back and forth between the 19 and the 21T cogs, occasionally dropping onto the 17T for the gentle descents. The sun started playing peek-a-boo with the rain. By the time I reached Highway 248 the sun was shining steadily. I did the old loop out past the high school -

But why am I writing about the route? It's the same route I do over and over again, because time is tight these days. It's bare maintenance mileage, and if I was one of those humorless geeks who takes Bicycling magazine seriously, I'd probably call it garbage miles. But any ride is a good ride, and this was a good ride by that measure, rain and all.

It started clouding up again as I got closer to Greenwood, flagging a bit on the climb up Lebanon Church Road, then picking up the pace again on the Canadian Mist Highway. The rain started again about the time I crossed Main Street and headed down Florida Avenue towards the rail-trail. I gingerly picked my way through the gravel in the turn onto the trail, then accelerated as well as I could. At one point, I startled what looked like a Disney scene - eight birds exploded into flight, while two squirrels AND a bunny rabbit raced off into the woods.

The rain slacked off again. I rolled home with 30 miles for the day - and an opportunity to clean road grit from the Rivendell.

The fenders might have to go back on that bike.
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Mandie Hayes
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