Monday, June 13, 2005

Conshohocken, 5:30 p.m., the heat AND the humidity

It took all my strength to get on the bike today. As you can tell from the post-frequency here, there's not been much non-commute riding going on this week. Expended most of my energy this week on this: City Paper's annual Ultimate Summer Fun Issue. Spent much of Friday and Saturday feeling drained: physically, mentally and, hell, emotionally. The week before last was something of an exit-vortex, as several key players in the last few years of my train-wreck of a romantic life made temporary or permanent exits, all for points at least a couple thousand miles away. There's something about leaving that makes people feel and do weird shit. Mark it down.

So after a trip to Tracheotomy Jones for a round of mad grocery stockpiling (and damn you Odunde, or whatever festival it was that made the drive to 22nd and Market an hour-long affair; thank you, Pat, for making sitting in stop-and-go Grays Ferry traffic tolerable), I hopped on the Trek 1200 and made my way to the Schuylkill River Park path where, of course, a stinkin CSX train (tm) was again blocking the entrance. There are days when powers greater than you seem to conspire at every turn. (Even geese would find a way to slow me down today.) After a detour to the Chestnut St. train track overpass, I was on the path and that train was on the move, so I raced it. Hell, i blew the thing away. Maybe busting 23 mph right out of the block was not a good idea in 80+ heat, soupy humidity and following a week of no riding and much smoking and drinking, but someone had to show that train who was who. It was my John Henry moment. Would I meet a similar fate?

After crawling through Manayunk (learn to park, motherfuckers), I hit the hills in Manayunk. While not the mythic wall, the hills that one must climb to get to the Conshy/Valley Forge bike path are, how shall we say, wall-esque. after climbing the second, and easily the toughest of these, i was checking my odometer to see if turning around would produce a respectable round-trip. I'd done 12 miles and was at one of those magical points where I was not entirely confident that I was not about to collapse. I soldiered on, however, remembering that it's all flat from here to Conshocken, and it's these moments, moments where you don't think you can go on, is where you gotta, in the parlance of Flavor Flav, show 'em wha'choo got. I made it to th' Conch, stretched a bit (though getting warm wasn't really an issue this day), and turned around. It wasn't my best ride (though my high speed, 39.5 mph coming back down that hill, is my third best such mark). But, to quote J. as per last week, I accomplished something today: 32.21 miles, 1:57:03, 16.511 mph.

p.s.: the two Slurpees I enjoyed post ride -- a pepsi variety in the Darth Vader cup and a Fanta Banana a half hour later in the smaller cup -- could not have tasted better.

Today's Song: Love, Love, Love -- The Mountain Goats

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