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Saturday, January 01, 2011


The forecast said it would be 13ºF when I set out to commute from the Poet Laureate's abode to work on Monday.

To my pleasant surprise, it was a balmy 28ºF. To my less pleasant surprise, I had a case of toecicles by the time I got halfway there. My boots seemed to do okay on the 18ºF ice cream run, but that was a much shorter ride. The steel toe is apparently the culprit, once it gets cold it sucks the heat right out of you.

The other thing I totally underestimated was how sweaty my body would get. The coat I wear isn't much in the way of insulation, it's mainly wind and water resistant. Cycling jackets are ventilated to allow some of that buildup out, and I think I may need to invest in one of those.

Though actually, on the return ride I broke down to just a thin wool sweater and a Hawaiian shirt and my upper body was fine in the 30-ish temperatures.

On the second day, I saw this sign while waiting for a train in the West Bottoms. I should have heeded the sign. Corinna had ridden me about half way in on Monday, knowing the Bottoms have a learning curve (the streets tend to look alike and they run at about 45º angle relative to the city's grid). Not having her to sherpa me through, I just waited for this idiot freight train, freezing my ass off for probably twenty minutes. If I'd gone back a block and turned right, there's a bridge that would have taken me over the tracks and into Downtown.

Owing to where I parked, I guess, I missed this big sculpture when I took the girls to the Gao Bros. exhibition at the Kemper.

Corinna met me a bit more than half way on the return trip Tuesday. I realized after the fact that our rendezvous was right about where we met on our first date.

We ran into some of her friends at the Broadway Cafe while I made gear adjustments, shedding gear I had thought necessary that now seemed only appropriate for an Antarctic ride.

The friends were on fixies, single speed bikes that require the freakish athleticism most people never have, especially after the age of eight or nine. One had a modest hand brake just in case, but the other was a pure track bike. I commented that it was utterly innocent of brakes and Travis waved his and dismissively, saying, 'Brakes are for stopping.'

So then it was Taco Tuesday at El Bonito Michoacan, where I ordered four Chorizo tacos and a Barbacoa. Corinna asked, 'What did you ride your bike or something?'

Yep, 54 miles in two days that would normally have been goose eggs for mileage due to temperature alone.

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