Saturday, June 05, 2010

Bikes for Breakfast

Le Tigre, on River Rd.

Le Tigre met me on my commute route and we rode on newly paved River Rd. It's a fast ride with rollers and if you have someone to keep a quick pace, like Ryan did, it makes for a good workout, mes amis.

Trying to keep up with Le Tigre!

The other day I saw a rider turn onto River a few blocks up ahead of me, so I tried to see if I could catch up to him--might be one my fellow commuters I've gotten to know--but he rode strong and got faster, and I only caught up to him at the stop light. He was a young guy and we said hello, and rode together for awhile until I turned off. He had been doing some interval training he said. I have to say that it would be a good idea for me to try to hang with these boys because it will get me in shape!

Hey slow down, Old Sport, let me get your photo for the blog! We're off River Rd, which was a bit busier than normal for this early hour, and now riding a few miles on the bike path...

Ryan picks up the pace and I can just keep up with him on the flat part of River, but on the hills he can go--I'm a Clydesdale so while he's gliding along, I must work.

There's a group of hand cyclists in Tucson, and they've been out training this Spring and now Summer. Just up ahead is their peleton.

Watchful gaze of Le Tigre--

I had a friend back in South Dakota from the Rez named Bob Stands. His Lakota name was "Stands and Looks Back" I can see how his family got that name. Just reminded me of Ryan--he's just making sure he's got my back.

Le Tigre knows all the short cuts around the San, mes amis...

When I get on the campus of the San, I got to be on the lookout for speeders late for their shifts, and not paying attention. Le Tigre's wife works at the San as well and he's trying to explain to me all the short cuts he knows so that I could save a few minutes.

Native Son -- Native Sun

We rode very fast this morning, thanks to my mate Ryan up there--still a pretty hot morning and it's like only 7 o'clock in the morning, Gentle Readers of This Blog. Normally I would arrive at about 7:20 a.m., but with speedy up there and a few short-cuts, we shave off 20 minutes!

Holding my own on the road with Le Tigre.

Riding with the Boss, my buddy Alan, has stepped up my fitness a level, I can tell. I have the base miles, mes amis--I could go out and ride 100 miles with no problem--thing to work on is speed and bike handling skills--interval training, etc. Also, the hot weather suits me, but I believe I need to start a regime of sunscreen. Even in the morning I can feel the sun burning my skin.

Bike lockers--stow my bike.

I have an old pair of dress shoes that are like sandals that I keep in the bike locker and slip on to walk the few blocks to my office. Ryan is on his way home, and with the extra time I have this morning, I can make the free pancake breakfast they're having in the San's Cafeteria.

On the way home in the evening--newish bike crossing lane on Dodge and Alvernon.

I used to just cross at the light, but this got installed--and okay--car drivers don't know if they're supposed to stop or what? I stop and put a foot down off the bike because I need to tell the drivers that they have the right away. Still everyone usually stops for me--which is okay.

On the way home.
It's not 100 but close, and then there's that head wind from the Northwest that blows down through the River. I would say it's like a blow dryer right in your face. Seems like I'm the only soul out here--but really there are birds everywhere and things are alive and there's lots of energy in the air--I wonder what's going to happen? Are the Air and the Water making their plans for the rains? Churning up that monsoon down in the Gulf of Mexico? Are all the birds and bugs and snakes and everything else I see scurrying all round preparing for something? Rejoicing? There is something...

West on the bike path.

I ride West into the hot dry breeze, Gentle Readers of This Blog. I'll ride to about the base of Pusch Ridge there on the left of the photo, then make my climb up to the YMCA where I parked the car this morning, 15 miles from my office.

Last rugged section.

After I ride on the dirt section for about half a mile or so, I'm out of the heat of the river bank and getting into some green. River Rd. runs parallel to the river bike path I'm on. Even though it's hot, it would be even hotter and more dangerous with the traffic up there. Plus, it's Friday after work, and this is much more relaxing than a rush hour jam.

Peaceful stretch of trees and shade.

I get a break from the roaring hot wind and get a few miles of trees, shade, and cool air--birds and lizards and owls and hawks, and whatever else, inhabit this long grove of native mesquite trees on the bike path.

I'll be riding up into the foothills soon enough, mes amis...

Before I make the big climb up La Cholla, I switch out to a cold water bottle. The climb is long but the bike lane is wide and smooth, and most of the real busy traffic has thinned out.

I have to pass through the first danger zone, and that's getting off the bike path and onto La Cholla. Usually I don't take this route because of all the traffic and the speeders--but with all the road construction on my regular commute route, I don't have much choice.

A tricky spot getting into the bike lane, which cars mostly drive in anyway.

With construction now at the busy intersection you see up there of River and La Cholla, I have to be even more careful--people speed through here and they will not slow down for a cyclist. I hate to say this, but people driving this way are coming from more blue collar industrial jobs--blue collar Joe Sixpack in his libido truck--they do the "drive-by-as-close-as-they-can" thing--

I make the climb, then have to make one very dangerous left turn and head West on Ina, to ride a few miles down to the YMCA.

To set up for this left turn I watch for the break in traffic, and where the light will be--and I sprint across several lanes to get in the one of the two left turn lanes.

Either I can get set up right behind the last car and draft and get through the light quick--or there's a window in traffic with no cars and I sprint to the light just as it turns red. All three evenings now when I made the left and signaled and all that, I've had car drivers purposely buzz me out of sheer meanness.

Friday night when some asshole sped up and buzzed me, he didn't realize that the light was suddenly changed to red. He started to stop, but then saw me coming up on him, rather aggressively, and so to avoid explaining to me some shit that he didn't see me, or I should git off the road, he floored his truck and ran the light.
I met a guy riding home once and we climbed up La Cholla together. He was telling me how he got hit by some lady just there how I was telling you making that left--so he had another route and I followed him. Turns out that his shortcut was more dangerous, IMHO, than making the left at Ina and La Cholla.

Sometimes I'm getting up that last steep part of the climb, Gentle Reader, and I'll start to set up for my sprint--and I realize that I could be killed in a heart beat. It is an eerie feeling, all the senses focusing on that split second of decision and sudden burst of speed--for 100 yards.

Usually I nail it right on the money--but sometimes car drivers see me going for that left and they floor it--just not going to let that bike guy get ahead of 'em. The sooner the road construction is finished up the road, and I don't have to make this left--the better I will feel!
Cheers! Bruce

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