Monday, May 18, 2009

Cycle Salt Lake Century Ride Report

But first, a rant...

I arrived to work this morning as usual at about 6:45 AM (I work 7 - 4, this gives me time to change.) I immediately notice something strange, the bike rack is bright silver. I then notice something irritating. My U-Lock, as well as the other four locks attached to the rack (one being an abandoned U-Lock that's been there for five years or more - since I moved to SLC, the others belonging to two of the other occasional commuters here at work), were also silver, or mostly silver. Someone (our company facilities people, I assumed) spray painted the bike rack and didn't bother to try to not paint the locks. Nor did the company make an announcement of any kind on last Friday warning those of us who regularly leave our locks on the rack, that they would be painting the rack over the weekend. I see company-wide e-mails two or three times a week, announcing everything from corporate business and promotions to plans to do work on the parking lock and free ice cream events (our company's idea of wonder most people here get winded walking up the stairs.)

I have, of course, complained, and have been assured that one of the facilities people will be contacting me to "make this right." Meanwhile, since we have rotating doors at the building entrances through which it is impossible to get a bicycle, and due to the fact that when I rubbed my finger on both the bike lock and rack this morning, it came away silver, and due to the fact that, quite often, bike locks and racks will rub on bikes parked in them, I've wrapped my U-Lock in paper towels and locked by wheel to the frame. They should hope that my bike doesn't have any silver on it when I leave today. Though, it could use a new paint job...

I'm pissed about this because, as I mentioned above, the company's not shy about sending out mass e-mails notifying us of almost anything, and the fact that they would see a bike rack with four or five locks and at least one bike on it almost every day and not think to maybe notify the employees of the plans to paint it shows a general disrespect for the users of the rack, namely, the bike commuters, namely, me. To me this is no different than them coming in and painting the walls around someone's cubicle and painting over a picture that someone's hung up. Or re-painting the parking stripes in the parking lot and painting across the hood of a car that's over the line, or perhaps on the wheels that are too close to the line. That wouldn't happen. But, hey, it's just cyclists, right? Who cares?

And before you start thinking that maybe we shouldn't leave our locks on the rack and expect nothing to happen to them, or that perhaps the company is justified in doing this because they're not responsible for them or it's somehow not allowed; I've left my U-lock on the rack instead of carrying it around since some time in 2004, when I started commuting regularly and got tired of carrying that heavy steal bar with me (I carry a cable lock which I also use in conjunction with the U-lock here.) If this was somehow not allowed, someone should have let me know by now. And no, I don't hold the company responsible for the little bit of rust that it's gathered by sitting out in the elements this long, nor would I hold them responsible for someone cutting it off (unless, of course, it was them) but this was something that was in the company's control. It is laziness and it's unacceptable.

End of rant.

The ride Saturday went well. I felt more tired than I'd have liked to, though it was expected since I haven't really been training for a month or so and I did just have surgery three weeks prior. I rode to and from the event, so I ended up at 114.6 miles for the day. Total time, around 8 hours 35 minutes (from leaving the house to arriving home.) I estimate about 6 1/2 hours or so on the bike, give or take fifteen minutes or so. Not a bad day. The middle of the ride was the hardest, I finished feeling better than I would have thought, probably due to the fact that the route didn't seem quite so long and lonely on the back half, since it was re-routed through some neighborhoods north of SLC that didn't exist this time last year.

We started strong, and probably too fast, averaging well over 20 mph for the first third to half of the ride. Little bit of a tail wind but mostly we just kept catching nice trains. We were at the first rest stop before we knew it and only stopped for me to switch out one bottle of water for some Gatorade.

Once we turned back south and then west out to Antelope Island is when the real misery set in. Jason, my friend I rode with (along with Nate, from work and his brother) had pretty much split at this point (Jason dropped off the back, as he said, he "lost his rhythm"), I dropped the train I was in with Nate and his brother because I was trying to wait for Jason (or maybe I just couldn't hang, who knows. I tell myself it was to wait...)

Crossing the seven and a half mile causeway to the Island was, to put it mildly, gross. Apparently, even though it's been a relatively cool Spring so far, it's been warm enough for the dead brine shrimp in the Great Salt Lake (the only thing that can live in there, btw) to begin fermenting or whatever it is they do to create that horrible Great Salt Lake Stink. And stink it did. But I would have gladly worn Great Salt Lake Stink cologne if it somehow allowed me to pass through the swarms, and I mean black cloud swarms, of gnats that enveloped the causeway and stuck to the hair on my arms and legs and my jersey and shorts and (worse) my beard and teeth and hair and, well, anything exposed to them. As a vegetarian, I feel kind of guilty for the mass quantities of gnats that I consumed. This, alone, would be reason enough to shave my legs, too. It was gross. And the return trip, after the loop up and over the hill on the Island, was worse, they were even thicker. It felt like I was being pelted by tiny little rocks. When we arrived at the lunch stop a few miles after the Island, I removed my helmet and brushed tons of gnats from my hair. Appetizing.

The rest of the ride was pleasant. The headwind I expected wasn't bad at all. And over all I finished pretty much where I wanted to. Not last. Considering that this is really a training ride in preparation for the Desperado Dual in August, not a bad day on the bike.

Speaking of Desperado, I ran into the guy who I rode the first half with last year, Brian. Got to chat with him a bit coming off the Island until the gnats made talking impossible. He said he's not planning on riding the Desperado this year. Too bad. It's always nice to have people to chat with on these long rides. Brian, if you happen upon this, it was good seeing you again and congrats on finishing last years DD. If I'd just stuck with you when you left lunch, there's a chance I'd have made the whole way!

Happy riding.

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