Sunday, June 3, 2012

Sunday Adventures

After a miserable cold and wet Saturday, Sunday was predicted to hit a high of 74 degrees with rain coming in later in the day. That, coupled with a return to off and on showers forecast for the first part of the week made me determined to get out. I had received a call earlier in the week from Julie of the Rhode Island Ocean Tides Senior Games that our Saturday race had been canceled. We were the only two women that had signed up again. Oh, well. Julie gets to keep the crown for another year.

Back to the Bikeway. After an overcast start to the day, the skies were perfect. The winds... oh, that's another issue. There were crosswinds galore and headwinds on the climbs that slowed me down to nearly 10 mph. I was very happy to be wearing a vest and arm warmers.

For the first 20 miles or so, I was averaging around 16 mph. I came upon a couple that were cruising around 13 mph and I decided to slow down and follow them to an extended part of the path that I had never ventured to. This took us across across some roads where the motorists were very mindful of us. Unfortunately, the woman in front of me slowed down considerably at a narrow section of path and while keeping an eye on her, I wound up dropping into the grass. Not usually a big deal but it felt like I had a flat. When we were in the middle of a town with "sharrows" (Share the Road arrows are common in the Providence area where the roads are too narrow to paint a dedicated bike path,) I decided it would be best to turn back.

I went decided to follow an access path that I had not previously taken (what was with the Marco Polo attitude this morning, I haven't a clue). It was very short but steep enough that I decided to do a few hill repeats. These felt very difficult and I decided that I was old, heavy and out of shape, and was getting worried about being in shape for the Hotter n Hell Hundred. What happened to that 16 mph average? It had gone to I-don't-whereville - knowing my toughest headwinds were ahead, I took time to take some breaks and grabbed some pics of the beautiful morning.

The bridge near my turnaround point.
Upper Falls near School Street

One of the things I love about the Blackstone River Bikeway is a tiny tributary on my right-hand side that looks more like a pond near the path where the marshlands are in view. Birds like heron and the deer feed there. All of the pollen falls and collects like a natural sludge factory. I call this "The Pond of Scum."

Why do I like The Pond of Scum? Because as soon as I see it, I just have to look over and up on my left where I see a hill above the fence line that is covered with trees. It's a brief view of greenery that looks magnificent and probably hardly noticeable from any other vantage point in the area. I call this "The Wall of Trees." The Wall of Trees is less than 3 miles to my car and then I know I've nearly completed another lap of the Bikeway.

Pond of Scum on my right.

Wall of trees on my left.

I finally got to the car and, as I was loading the bike in the back, I noticed that the rear tire was actually rubbing against the frame. Getting it home for a closer inspection, it turns out that when I went off the path, my wheel hit the asphalt hard enough that it forced the wheel partially out of the dropouts. That explains the labored drop in speed. It was very fortunate that I didn't crash - especially in the traffic in town.

Now that everything is fixed, cleaned and all gussied up for another ride, I'm really anxious to hit that access path again.