Experimental music, photography, and adventures

Birthday recap

Friday, February 22nd, 2008

Wow. I think someone messed up my request for snow on my birthday. We got a little bit of that yesterday, but on my way home I was pelted with sleet. Thousands of tiny icicles assaulted me from above, each hitting my face at high velocity, like a constant stream of pins being stuck in my face. The roads were a mixed bag; some were clear, some had varying mixtures of snow, slush, and sleet covering them. Traction wasn’t bad but I would’ve been screwed without my knobby tires. I took a few photos on my way home when conditions allowed.

College Avenue stoplight

Art museum


Dear Tioga, GT, Kool Stop, and SKS: how about some sponsorship?

7th Street

Shimano: ditto on the sponsorship.

The bike path was treacherous as usual and the roads near my apartment were pretty bad, too. I got home and got the mail, finding the Pink Floyd jersey I won in Noah’s contest in my mailbox. Fortuitous timing, having that arrive on my birthday. Thanks, Noah!

I decided that what I needed most at this point wasn’t to sit in my nice warm apartment — it was beer. And I’d get it on my bicycle, of course. I rode to the nearest liquor store, which is about a mile away. Conditions were getting worse and I started feeling some of my mountain biking skills coming into play as I rode through snow/slush drifts*, shifted my weight back to let my front wheel roll over anything in my way, and felt fairly comfortable with the fact that my tires were drifting beneath me. I probably stayed under 10 mph most of the way — but who knew 10 mph could be so exhilarating?
* Yes, apparently slush can drift. I didn’t think so either, but I saw it with my own eyes.

I got a six-pack of Bad Elmer’s Porter from my favorite local brewery, Upland. I wasn’t sure if this was the best way to go, because I intended to go have dinner at the brewery and if I did I’d get plenty of Upland beer then. But the conditions being what they were, I figured I ought to have some on hand anyway.

The cashier commented, “You’re a braver man than I” for riding in those conditions. I pointed out that I got home before my coworkers finished scraping the ice off their cars. I forgot to mention that I had fun doing it, too. He said he rides to work sometimes when the weather is better. Excellent.

My ride home featured more tire slippage but otherwise was pretty good. I am really impressed with how well my old mountain bike fares in conditions like these, even without studded tires.

I got home and opened the package from Noah. I was pleasantly surprised, the Pink Floyd jersey looked nice on his blog, but the photos don’t really do it justice. It’s a nice-looking jersey. And since I only had two short-sleeved jerseys before now, I am especially appreciative. This one is cool because it looks more like a normal shirt — it’s got a relatively loose fit for a jersey and the design doesn’t scream “I’m a cyclist!”

Birthday goodies: Pink Floyd jersey and some nice dark beer. Score!

The jersey fits pretty well. Side note: I have a lot of reflective items in my dining room.

Sarah had a late class that’s not scheduled to get out until 8:30. They got out at 8, so I picked her up and we went to Upland for dinner. The roads were not in great shape, but drivable. I was cursing at a cop car who stopped right in front of me at the bottom of a hill for no apparent reason, then decided to turn. I wanted to use momentum to get up the hill, and I still made it, but not without spinning my tires a bit.

We had a great dinner with poor service at Upland (as always), and drank a couple of beers. I had a nut brown ale with dinner, which is decent, but the highlight was their chocolate stout, which makes for an excellent dessert.

After we got home, Sarah gave me my birthday gifts. They are uber cool. She got me a titanium backpacking cook set and a tiny alcohol stove, along with some freeze-dried food to go with them, and a bottle of stuff to waterproof maps — continuing the recent theme of touring items as gifts. This theme rocks, since I really want to do some S24O trips and touring, and you need a fair amount of gear to do those things. Oh, and she also got me a gift certificate for Rivendell — cleverly, the amount is listed in “Rivendollars.” Sarah apologized for giving me practical items as she said they’re “not very exciting.” But I don’t think she quite realizes just how exciting a stove smaller than a hockey puck is, or how great that titanium cookware will be. Before long I’ll be able to carry everything I need on a bicycle, and that is exciting.

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