"It never gets any easier. You just go faster." ---Greg Lemond
"Don't buy upgrades. Ride up grades." --- Eddy Merckx
"You drive like shit." ---The Car Whisperer


A New Ride

Finding a new route was about as good as it got today. I left work around 2 (summer Fridays. Yes!) and just as I was crossing the road that takes you to the Planetarium, I hear a cocky voice behind me say,

"You ain't riding for Milram! Who do you think you are?!"

Rick Dearworth pulled up alongside me in his blue and yellow Airborne kit (required if you are a xXx-er with a quick tongue and annoyed easily by lakefront crowds) and it was good to see him. I wanted to get three hours on the bike today at least, but I was just planning on doing tempo work along the path.

But somebody to talk to on a bike ride always wins out, and Rick said he wasn't gonna be out that long, so I figured an hour or so warm up and conversation would be perfect. We headed south along the path, and then down South Shore Blvd, to 95th Street. Through the shipping channels we went, waiting for the draw bridge, past the Schlitz bar that's down there, and apparently still open, I have just realized. It was a gorgeous, sunny day. Not too hot, and the only complaint was the wind, although not at the moment, with it pushing gently at our backs, like generous stronger rider, coming up behind us.

We chatted about the season, our recent races. How crazy everyone was riding at Blue Island. How much we were enjoying the summer, and what to look forward to next year. We rode easy, no more that 60 per cent.

He showed me Calumet Park, a huge expanse of green space at 95th and South Shore. We saw maybe 3 cars driving out on its roads with us. The beaches were clean and uncrowded. Trees were everywhere. What a great place for a race, he said. I agreed.

We came back out of the park, and headed west on 95th, and onto South Chicago Blvd. It was all new for me until we reached MLK. Had I been on my own, I might have just continued on to the Burnham Greenway from South Shore, past the Skyway, and done nothing new, and not had any inspiration for the rest of my ride. But by the time Rick and I parted ways at Cermak, I felt ready to go hard.

I made a stop back at the Museum Campus, to piss and eat a shot, and then took off hard, back south again. Three tempo runs occupied my time until 5:30 or so. With the wind at my back I reached 52nd in about 10 minutes, riding just below my threshhold, or a little less. Coming back was more of a time trial. The wind was heavy in my face, and I was much slower, but I smiled to myself the whole way. Back in April I was riding with Luke and Chris on our Wednesday morning ride, the Hump Day Hump - in very similar conditions, save the heat, and was barely able to draft on those two at 18mph. But today, I still managed to keep that pace, and fairly easy, never really getting my heart rate much above 150. I went back south one more time, stopping at the point for water and glance at the afternoon skyline, glinting silver and sharp in the sun.

I headed back easy, keeping it low. I stopped back at work to pick up my bag at the security desk, and then headed home on a nerve wracking ride. There's just something scary about riding on city streets at rush hour on Friday. Everybody's had a long week and is impatient, and not paying attention. I am low on energy, close to bonking, so I kept my speed low and tried to stay as alert as possible.

Finally home, I could relax, and took a quick nap and headed to the grocery store for some ice cream.

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