Experimental music, photography, and adventures

Archive for December, 2007

November recap

Tuesday, December 4th, 2007

November was a low-mileage month for me, but I’m still riding, at least. I know it’ll get worse before it gets better, the main challenge for me being the dark. I don’t mind cold weather too much, but it’s really hard to be motivated to ride when I can’t see. I could use some better lights, but they’re just too expensive.

Miles ridden: 256.91
Road miles:  134.93
Commute miles:  57.58
Mountain biking miles:  56.50
Errand miles:  10.29
2007 total (as of today): 3422.63


Rainy Water Works ride

Monday, December 3rd, 2007

Saturday was a decent day, in the 40s and overcast, but not raining. I considered going for a ride, but I was feeling really lethargic and couldn’t bring myself to do it. It rained Sunday morning but got up in the 50s and the rain let up to a light drizzle by noon or so. I figured this was my chance to go for a ride and set out to do the Water Works ride, which is one of my regular training rides.

I brought my $5 Goodwill point & shoot film camera (which is actually pretty decent) loaded with slide film so I could do some cross-processed shots. I should note that the yellow cast you see here doesn’t appear in the prints, or at least not as strongly. My cheap scanner has trouble with cross-processed negatives and it can be an interesting effect, but I need to figure out how to stop the scans from turning out this way, or scan the prints instead, or something.

What is normally a routine ride turned into quite an adventure. At first everything went smoothly and it was a gorgeous day with a little bit of fog. I didn’t mind the drizzle as my jacket kept me warm and dry and my Rivendell tires have great traction on wet pavement.

Smith and Third
Smith Road and Third Street

The traffic in the above shot is the most I saw over the course of the whole ride. You can get a sense for how overcast and dark it was and the wet roads.

Smith Road II
Scene alongside Smith Road

Smith Road III
Action shot

Smith Road
More Smith Road

Tibetan Cultural Center
Gate to the Tibetan Cultural Center

I was really enjoying the weather. The warmer temperatures were welcome but the sprinkles and the haze cast everything in an almost mystical atmosphere and while it could be described as dreary, that’s a mood that can be surprisingly pleasant. My ride to the Water Works facility was uneventful but contemplative. I passed some cornfields and a bunch of cows along the way. I also noticed that a number of ravines along the way look much more impressive once the leaves have fallen from the trees and you can see into the gorges. I rode down Shady Side Drive to see if I could get some good views of the lake. Along the way the wind blew a fog cloud across the road in my path and I rode through it. I couldn’t stop in time to get a photo, but I did take one of the lake, which was also shrouded in mist. It ended up overexposed but I’ll post it anyway.

Riding on Handy Road
Me, riding on Handy Road

Corn. Nobody even bothered to harvest it.

Water Works
Water Works facility

Lake Monroe I
Lake Monroe, from Shady Side Drive. You can almost make out the lake in the haze.

Run-down building on Handy Road

On my way back, I took Moore’s Creek Road, which goes into a valley and then climbs up the other side, making a stop by the lake along the way. I went a lot slower than usual on the descent because of the wet roads. I only saw one car at the small recreation area by the lake there and didn’t see any other people at all. It was pretty stunning.

Moore's Creek Road I
Moore’s Creek Road

Lake Monroe II
Lake Monroe

Bicycle II
My bicycle by Lake Monroe

On the bridge on Moore’s Creek Road

Barn II

Crazy guy hanging off the side of the barn

Right before I started climbing out of the valley, it started raining harder. Not a total downpour but it was coming down pretty hard. I got most of the way up the hill and started messing with the barrel adjuster for my rear derailleur while I was riding. I didn’t really know what I was doing but it seemed to help my shifting problems a little, so I turned it further. My shifting lever went limp and suddenly my bike shifted into the highest gear in the cassette — I had broken the derailleur cable!

I tried adjusting the screws a little, hoping I could get to the middle of the cassette and therefore use the little ring for the rest of this hill and some other hills I knew I’d have to deal with on my way home. No dice. I tied the cable to my rack so it wouldn’t flop around or get stuck in my wheels. I’d have to ride the last 7 miles or so stuck in the highest gear in back, and unable to use my small chainring without cross-chaining. For some of the hills, I did have to drop down to the small ring and just hoped I wasn’t doing too much damage. There weren’t any huge climbs, but I needed a lower gear than the middle ring combined with the highest gear in the back gave me.

On my way home, it rained harder and harder until it was a total downpour. I hadn’t seen any other cyclists the whole ride, but I saw three or four once it started pouring — go figure. I even felt some pellets of sleet hitting my face a few times. My jacket is more or less waterproof, but I still got wet, mostly from rain getting in through the collar. I didn’t have it zipped all the way up or I would’ve been too hot. By the time I got within two miles of home it was hard to see because of the rainwater on both sides of my glasses, and rain started getting in my eyes. This made my eyes burn for some reason — maybe I rubbed my eyes with greasy fingers or my hair gel stuff was getting my eyes, or something. But I made it home with a lot of effort and a lot of pedaling out of the saddle.

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