November 19th, 2006

rene stp 2006


The weather turned nice Saturday, meaning there was no rain with temperatures around 50F. I prepared for a 40 mile tour of Lake Washington going across I-90. I needed to go easy because I haven't ridden in a couple of weeks, too much rain, and I got a flu shot Friday afternoon which left me a little sore. As I prepared for the ride and donned my riding gear, I had a vivid day dream of riding very fast down a steep and curving road, a tire blowout, careening towards cars, overcompensating then launching out into space, falling. It lasted but a moment but I've learned not to dismiss these things.

The bicycle was performing amazingly well, having been reconditioned: new chain, lubricated hubs, shifters recalibrated, and cables retensioned. Pedaling and handling were top notch which made the downhill ride across the first section of the I-90 bridge a joy. I ran into my first snag when the headlight snapped off its stays and launched itself off the bike then somewhere down a blackberry choked embankment. After a ten minute search I had to give up because I still had another 20 miles to go before the light faded. I stepped up my pace heading north to the top of the lake, stopping briefly to eat a sandwich. Going south along the east side of the lake along Juanita road, I headed up the steep road, a five mile slow going affair. The light fading, I regretted the lack of the headlight, but my taillight was working, so I was safe from the commonmost accident: someone running up my rear.

I finally reached the peak of Juanita, only eight miles from Kirkland, then headed downhill picking up speed on the curving road, keeping up with traffic. A lot of leaves were pushed off to the side often covering the bike lane, and as I approached a particularly messy leaf strewn patch I eased left toward the car lane. Though it was clear, some driver passed by me very quickly and very close forcing me to swerve back into the leaf covered bike lane.

At that moment I hit something covered by the leaves; two intense bumps a few seconds later the ride got noticely rough and squirrely, which given the steep descent had me quite worried. Fortunately there was one short segment of flat road before the steepest curve, so I slowed to a stop. The rear tire was flat. I was very lucky.

I called Selene to pick me up since it was getting too dark to repair and continue without the headlight. The 20 minute wait in the 42F cold was a bit chilly, thankfully partly mitigated by my spare rain gear.

Yup, must mind those premonitions.
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