Friday, December 24, 2010

Yuletide tumble

Yes, I go out in public like this.

Went for about a 10-mile ride on Christmas Eve. Originally planned to hit the Fitness Center, but the place was slammed -- the lot was full, with cars roaming the aisles waiting for a space. That meant I’d probably have to wait for an elliptical and the pool would not be an option.

I’d noticed that the DuPage River Trail had been plowed. I’d rather be biking anyway. Went home and layered up as a light snow began to fall. Very pretty.

I jumped on the trail at 87th Street and headed south. The asphalt trail hadn’t been plowed edge-to-edge, but there was a four-foot cleared area mostly down the middle, probably done by a skid-steer loader (“Bobcat”). Not a great job of clearing the path, but any effort in that direction is much appreciated.
View from the DuPage River Bridge, looking east.
Used my Motorcycle Safety Foundation training to stay upright: gentle back brakes, brake before the turn, not through the turn, etc. The only surprise I had on the outbound leg was climbing a grade approaching the bridge over the mighty mighty DuPage River. The extra torque caused the back wheel to lose traction, so I fishtailed a bit. Recovered quickly, downshifted and finished the climb a bit more slowly.
Amazing view from the bridge. The river was partly frozen and the scene was blanketed in white. The photo doesn’t show the gentle snowfall. Magical.

(I hasten to note that the postcard-worthy scenery is meager compensation for living in an arctic hellhole that’s uninhabitable for seven months out of the year.)

At the five-mile mark, I decided to head back. The snow was falling a bit more heavily, and the trail was getting slick. As I pedaled back through Knoch Knolls Woods, the front wheel started coming out from under me. Sheer ice under a film of snow. I surrendered to the inevitable, and did a credible tuck-and-roll to my right, although I banged my knee pretty hard. My GPS,
extra headlight and pepper spray (dog repellent) skittered down the path ahead of me.

After rubbing my knee, gathering up my belongings and re-attaching the chain, I set off again. I got 50 feet before taking another dive, this time to my left. Decided to walk the bike for a while until the path got a little less hazardous.

Strange that I had passed over that very stretch on the way out without any problems. The surface must have reached some critical temperature/snow-depth combination after I had rolled over it the first time.

Once I reached Knoch Knolls Road, I decided to take the streets back home, since they were merely wet. Took the relatively long way home, stopping for a Diet Coke at the corner store.
Supposedly, we’re in for a thaw next week. I hope some of the snow and ice melt from the trail. Felt really good to get out this morning, and I need the exercise.

dsj 101224 

The mighty DuPage River, at about Ring Road.

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