Saturday, July 07, 2007

F*ing Genius - Biking St. Paul

It could probably be contended that I'm an idiot for going on a 75 mile bike trip in 95 degree weather. Given that I bonked about 5 miles from home and made Pooteewheet come get me because I didn't want to ride where there was no shade, there's even supporting evidence. But surprisingly, it wasn't the stupidest thing I did today. The stupidest thing involved leaning my bicycle against the guard rails over the Mississippi in St. Paul while huddling under a bridge and trying to discard some heat.

Here...examine this picture carefully. What's missing?

My wireless odometer. See that big piling that goes way way down and ends in the river? It's somewhere down there. $50 odometer, meet the bottom of the river after a very long drop. I'm not sure what led me to lean my bike against that railing, but given that the odometer pops off with barely a touch, you'd think I'd be wiser. A sweaty roller blader stopped to see what I was looking at and said, "What's down there?" I replied, "My odometer." He noted, "That sucks." Sums it up pretty well.

The ride was supposed to be about 68 miles. I started out around 6:30 a.m. and biked up to Ming's way up by the 694 turn on the Gateway Trail. It was supposed to be 24 miles. Instead it was 30. Doesn't seem like a lot until it kicks in that the ride then hops from 68 miles to 80 miles (or more). It didn't help that it was primarily uphill all the way to Ming's place, increasing in temperature by the moment, and I got lost for several miles on more uphill. I think by the time I swung by his place to do the tail end of the Gateway, I was poking along a little slowly for him (my back wheel seems fussy though, which absolutely didn't help - nothing like putting in extra energy, even when you're flat and level).

Some pics. Here are some ducks waddling around the park in St. Paul by the paddleboats. They didn't like me getting so close, and one crapped in my general direction after a lot of vigorous head bobbing.

Another one of those dinosaurs. This one was on the East end of town, just before you start to swing up the big hill you ride up for the St. Paul Bike Classic. Lot of homeless people on that end - no doubt camping out there so they can appreciate the dinosaur.

Once I biked up the hill, I was at Indian Mound park. Then I biked too far, went down part of the hill, and had to turn around and bike back up the hill. That was part of getting lost. It's NOISY on top of that hill with all the airplanes and boats below. Not exactly a serene place to have your mound. Dan'l told me he was up there the other day cleaning. He's not part of any group, he just picked up junk. Looked pretty clean by the time I got there.

Another picture from up on Indian Mound park. Way down there, where the river is, that's where I biked up from (general elevation wise). Didn't seem so bad when I was doing it in the morning, but when I had to climb out of the valley again in the afternoon I could definitely feel the pain.

I don't know what this is, but it's scary. Like something out of The Host or The Andromeda Strain or Invasion of the Body Snatchers. It's in the tunnel on the North side of 35E. The other vents don't look like this one...just the one closest to the entrance. No doubt it decided someone would miss me and chose not to eat me just then. Thank you alien overlord.

The 35E tunnel. In this picture it looks like perhaps it did get me. All that's left is my bike, and indigestible helmet, and a picture that makes it look like I disappeared into the bright light. My water bottles were at about 85 degrees by this point. It's hard to cool down with water bottles that could be used to warm your feet.

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