Monday, June 23, 2008

Feelings Of Impending Disaster

My time on Saturday morning and afternoon was spent in a mix of emotion; excited and nervous about the expected evening departure for a bicycling adventure. I packed up my custom Rivendell All-Rounder with a large saddlebag and supported by my newly acquired Rivendell Hupe.

Being one to over-pack, I narrowed my packing list down to the essentials with a little margin for error. Tools, 2 spare tubes, pump, long sleeve wool, short sleeve wool, knee-warmers, hat, sunscreen, lip balm, contact solution, 4 packages of Clif Shot Blocks, 2 Odwalla bars, camera, phone, and wallet. The forecast called for a 20% chance of rain, so I packed the rain jacket to ensure dryness. My medium sized Acorn bag held everything, but there was little room for anything else.

Scott showed up with lightly packed panniers and we rolled down the driveway right around 6pm. The plan was to ride south and east around Lake Pepin, possibly to Winona, then back home. Grand estimated total was going to be in the 260 mile range. We were going to ride all night and all day on Sunday.

Just east of Saint Paul, I ran over something and flatted. I replaced the tube, realized how much I dislike mini-pumps for large volume tires, and we were on our way again… For all of 10 minutes. The tube that I used as a replacement was one that I had previously patched (evidently ineffectively.)

Maybe 15 miles into our ride, I had exhausted my supply of spares. In hind sight, this is when I started feeling the sense of something being wrong, something not feeling right about our ride. I called my brother’s house thinking we could detour to his house where I could pick up at least one spare tube; no answer.

We took a detour through Woodbury to look for somewhere we might be able to find a spare tube. Spotted a closed Erik’s Bike Shop before settling on a Sports Authority where I was able to pick up a couple of presta valve tubes. Dark clouds were banking up overhead, but I felt a bit more at ease knowing I was prepared now with new spares.

We rolled east and south through Afton before the winds picked up and we received a few drops of rain. Dark clouds off to the west and south flickered with occasional lightning.

The clouds threatening overhead were a good physical indicator of just how it felt to be riding. The bike felt good, body felt good, we remained dry, seemed to be behind the storm, and were well prepared for the long adventure, but something just didn’t feel right.

We crossed the river into Prescott, Wisconsin when Scott suggested we grab some food before heading into the core of our overnight ride. Since Subway had closed at 9, we settled for convenience store goodies instead of sit down bar food.

Miles passed uneventfully in the darkness to the point of Highway 35 and 63 where we stood for what felt like 15 minutes. Something nagging didn't feel right about the whole adventure... There we were at our crossroads, both having shared with one another our unending feelings of anxiety; we finally made the decision to curtail the length of our adventure.
We rolled into Redwing just before midnight where we caught a bite to eat, shared a pitcher of beer, and looked over maps to plan an ad-hoc meandering route home.

The balance of our overnight ride took us on the Cannon Valley trail to Cannon Falls, then a combination of quiet county roads both paved and gravel to home. Although we had discussed a MORE meandering ride home, it wound up being a pretty direct ride. Our pace was certainly nothing extraordinary, interrupted by a number of map checks and clothing changes. I rolled into my driveway around 6am.

All tolled, we covered approximately 130+ miles in an all-night satisfying adventure. No regrets, glad to know as soon as we had turned back west that the pit in my stomach disappeared, glad to have not experienced whatever it was that just didn’t feel right.


-d said...

nice. really nice.

midway cyclist said...

Sorry we weren't able to connect on the route, but we went through Red Wing about 14 hours later. A pretty fun ride all around for improvising.

Boone's Farm said...

You obviously made the right decision. Sometimes you have to go with your instinct.

Happy trails

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