Tuesday, August 19, 2008

There and Back Again

I became quite tired of the bacchanalia that descended on the house this weekend, and so I took my leave and went for a jaunt on my bike.  It's the first ride of any duration I'd undertaken since coming to college, and it clocked in at a mild 20 miles, riding from my house up the Pacific Coast Highway to Davenport and back.

The Google maps topo feature renders this as deceptively flat, due to it's 200' increments.  I last drove on the PCH two summers ago, and that was at night, and only to Bonny Dune Road, which is quite a bit closer to Santa Cruz then Davenport.  Thus, I wrongly assumed that the ride would be much flatter then it was.

I started out around 11:16 pm, and it was extrodinarily foggy.  The kind of fog that clings and beads up on your eyelashes, and drips off your helmet.  Visibility was very poor, as my bike light is not particularly impressive, and the fog was dense enough to cut out most of the moonlight.  I tried to keep a reasonable pace up the hills, but not knowing where they ended made it iffy on judging how fast to take them.

A two or three mile out of Santa cruz the fog thinned out, and the light of the moon was more than enough to see by.  The valleys were still shadowed in some places, and my light stared to die, the combination of which resulted in me bouncing over a large branch of of some kind, and taking a stick in the drive chain.  Amazingly, nothing was damaged.

The coast and ocean were impressive in the moonlight, and I'll have to make another expedition out with a camera next full moon.  Other than the occasional car honking at me, I made it to Davenport without further incident.  I did at one point pass a van that had stalled on the opposite shoulder; the occupants were rather intoxicated and found it amusing that I was riding about at night in the fog.  On my return they were still there, and far less amused.  The best comment made was, "You sumg-ass Mf'er, you went there and now you're coming back again."  Indeed I was returning, but I was not particularly sumg at the time, as my headlight had totaly failed.

The retun ride was even more fun than the outgoing, despite the fatigue.  I had a good endorphin rush going, knew where the hills were, and had warmed up a bit.  I made poor time up the hills, but made up for it on the reverse sides and the flats: My incoming time was only a minute longer than my outgoing.  I averaged ~15 mph across 20 miles, which I think is reasonable for having not ridden extensivly in years.

I have a few new squeaks on the bike now, I'm fairly certain that some crud got into the chain and is making a racket.  Perhaps I'll clean and lube the chain this weekend, perhaps after I go for another ride.

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