Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A Ticket to Ride?

Sunday's ride went a little different that planned.  First, it took me forever to get out the door.  I was 50/50 on going out for a ride and the fact that I would have to start with full tights on didn't make it any easier.  But I got everything together and out the door I went at 8:15am....and if you know me that is a late start time for a weekend ride.  I decided to head south on Mack, hang a Louie at Morross and b-line it to the water's edge.  Surprisingly my 10 min ride to the water felt really well and I was ready to go.

Wind was blowing in from the north at a good clip, a steady 10mph.  So I made a right and headed south.  It was hard to keep my speed in check with the tailwind but I tried knowing I would have to eventually turn around and take the wind head on.  Plan was a 2-3 hour ride.  I had packed for 3 hours and with the 12 Hours of Stony coming up I figured I should just do an endurance type ride.  Nothing to straining on the lungs or legs.  As I approached the Grosse Pointe/Detroit border on Jefferson I thought to myself it had been a while since I have been downtown.  So instead of making a left and taking Barrington to Windmill Pointe, I proceeded due South in route to Cobo where Jefferson ends.....technically where the sidewalk ends to.

At 9am on a Sunday morning the roads are pretty clear as there are not many people out yet...mostly church goers.  So the ride down to the heart of The D was pretty uneventful.  I did pass another person out for a morning ride but she was clipping along below 15mph so I just waved as I passed.  Sun came out from the clouds by the time I got down to Cobo so I leaned the bike up against a pillar and slipped off the tights showing off the new Twin 6 Team Bibs...although no one was around to see them.  Rolled up the pants and put them in the jersey pocket and off I went again.  I was 43 mins into the ride now and downed some calories before I stopped to derobe so I was good to go.

Things were going well for the first 60 seconds until I passed the Christ's Church of Detroit and the wind hit me head on.......holy crap it was coming down Jefferson at a faster clip than I had realized.  So there I was, to deal with a 15+ mph head wind for return trip home.  So much for taking it easy.  What was a 23mph pace was quickly reduced to 18 mph against the wind and at times dipping into the 17's when the wind would gust.  I pushed on for the next 25 minutes to get me back to Grosse Pointe.  I wanted to do some laps around Belle Isle but that would only have stalled the inevitable head wind battle.  So instead of heading for the safety of the island I kept charging north against the wind.  I made it to Grosse Pointe and looked down Barrington as I passed thinking how nice it would be to go down there and get out of the wind.  That would have been the smart thing to do.

As I kept due north I eventually passed the War Memorial and then made the small decent to where Jefferson turned into Lakeshore.....all of a sudden it seemed as if the head wind increased another 10 mph.  I knew this was going to happen though and was ready for it.  I got lower and more aero and kept on against the wind not wanting to give up.  As I passed Morross I thought about making the turn and going home but that would have cut my ride under 2 hours.  No dice.  So as I rolled north it wasn't long before my side of the boulevard was separated by little orange cones.  Instinctively I went inside the cones where the cars weren't allowed.  After all the so called bike lane was over there and the cars were in the left lane.  Well about a mile later a Grosse Pointe Farms officer on a motorcycle tells me as I pass that I can't be in that lane because there is a running race going on.  I slow down and ask if I can ride in it until I see runners.  He says no and demands I ride in the left lane with the cars.  I look and say, "There's no room!"  He glares at me and says, "Son, you need to stay out of the right lane or else you'll find yourself with a ticket."  The conversation went fast and I had a goal of getting to 16 mile road and didn't want to break pace so I agreed and pedaled along.

I was hugging those cones as the cars past and some were very close.  WTF I thought to myself.  I had gne another mile without seeing anyone in that 'running lane.'  The next set of cars made it interesting.  First car, no issue.  Next car was a Grand Cherokee and as it passed a Boxer leaned his head out the window and nearly bite me...for real!  I had his spit on my face to prove it.  Scared the crap out of me but I had to hold my line next to the cones to not get run over.  Next car was close but the fourth car was a GMC Yukon.  As I saw the hood I did an, "Oh sh!t."  I brought my elbows in and I swear the mirror was 3 inches from my shoulder as the truck passed.  The driver was cool and slowed down but I said f**k this and went inside the cones.  Next vehicle to come up....a motorcycle, with the cop on it.

I looked over at him and he stared back at me.  I was riding the left side of the right lane about 12 inches from the cones.  I looked at him, pissed and gassed from dealing with the cars and headwind and said, "I'll take the cost of a ticket over the cost of my copay for a trip to the emergency room.  I am sorry but that Yukon was to close for my comfort and there is no room for me in that lane.  I had a friend out in Pinckney get hit by a truck towing a landscaping trailer last year and I don't need that trouble."  He looked at me for a second and said,  "You can ride where you are until you see runners.  When you do I need you out of that lane or else I will have to give you a ticket."  I asked how much further until the cones ended and said at the Edsel Ford mansion.  I said okay since it was only another mile up the road.

After that he took off and I decided to go into the red for a bit to get this over with.  I saw some runners shortly after and hammered the pedals in the left lane to clear the cones before the next set of cars.  Next I clicked down and recovered for a bit before finishing my ride to 16 mile.  I made the turn around at 16 mile and headed home with the wind to my back again.  In the end I rode for 2.5 hours and spent roughly 80 straight minutes against that headwind.

As I pulled up to the house Sue was coming out the front door with the kids and I was gassed but happy to see them all.  I thought for a second whether I should tell her what happened.  In the end I did and although she doesn't like hearing those things she feels better knowing than not knowing.

(Sorry, no pictures but this was long enough without them)

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