Before the rain started last Friday, and despite the raging tailwind, I was starting to think about how routine my commute was becoming. The excitement of returning to this kind of riding/commuting was wearing off, and since I count the number of times I've ridden this route in the thousands, it's more than a little understandable. However, having sheets of rain descend on you as you try to negotiate your path in an increasingly saturated state, then having one of your tires start to have air pressure issues (in this case, the front tire), tends to upset the routine a little.
Once I was able to recover from last Friday's adventure and retrieve my trusty XO-2 from Carlsbad, I could get down to the preparations for the following week. I returned the Heron to my locker at the Melrose Sprinter station, walked home (it was a beautiful, post-rainstorm day, and you could see the snow on Mt San Gregorino and Mt San Jacinto from the station), and set out to make the XO-2 roadworthy again. A good cleaning, then chain lubing got the process started, but I needed to solve that air pressure issue. It was easy to spot the thorn that had caused the puncture--yes, the dreaded Tribulus terrestris--but a more careful inspection found two more thorns embedded in the tire, waiting to cause me more misfortune. I patched two tubes, but one of the issues with not riding for a while is not replenishing your patch cement supply. The cement I used seemed almost half-way to dry, so my confidence in the repair was low. I put one repaired tube in, inflated it, but an hour later, I wasn't happy with the firmness, so I installed the other repaired tube. It seemed to hold, so I went to bed Monday night, after a three day weekend...and dreamed about deflating tires.
Sure enough, upon waking Tuesday at the god-awful hour I do, I went to the garage to find a deflated front tire. I suppose it says a lot about me that at 4:30am I put a new tube in the tire since I was bent on riding to work. Still, I had no confidence in a brand new tube, but I took off anyway in the pre-dawn dark, convinced that every feeling I had was that of a punctured tire. However, a pinch of the tire at every red light suggested otherwise, and soon I was in the brightening dawn on the coast route.
I thought that maybe Donald Trump was building a sandcastle, but it's another sewer project that'll soon better direct our sewage. That's the "warm water jetty", where the cooling water from the Encinas Power Station used to come out, and it was a great place to body surf because the ocean was like bath water. The only problem was when a set wave would come in at ocean temperature--it would shock the system.
This is where the coast route is really obviously on the coast, and the sounds as one rides by in the otherwise quiet dawn are quite refreshing. Surf crashing and sea birds singing are almost a lullaby. By this time, I was more confident in my tubes and tires, and I focused on pushing south. I focused on appreciation rather than complacency and rolled to Swami's, which is a good place to change lenses on the glasses and to take a picture.
Lenses changed, passing Coaster waved to, and commute resumed, I pedaled into that week beginning Tuesday. And I found 65 cents on the way.
Again, the forecast said rain on Friday. I plowed through my freeway commutes during the week, hoping the Friday forecast would recede, and just like the previous Friday, the forecast pushed the rain back. However, this time, while I was at SIO Friday afternoon, I took a pic from the dive locker which, since I could see Dana Point, let me realize that the rain was pretty far off.
So, like the idiot I am, I took off towards home. My start wasn't early, but the wind was an almost perfect out of the southwest. This is the interesting sky time of year here in North San Diego County, and I kept stopping to snap an interesting pic of the sky. The best I could do was at the San Elijo lagoon.
It took a while to snap that pic, since there was a lot of car traffic at the time. Once I did, I noticed the southbound Coaster going by, and I was calculating. I really didn't want to ride all the way home, but that's not a good place to see the southbound Coaster if you want to catch the northbound at Encinitas. I had a tailwind, and I took off, but to no avail. I was cycling all the way home.
Like a lot of the shit that goes down after an injury, occasionally one is confronted with an obstacle to be overcome. Earlier in the day on Friday, I met with the surgeon who fixed my hand a year ago, and there are lingering issues, but the fact that I can ride a bike the way I can are a testament to his (and my) success. So, pushing on into the night was a total, "what the fuck--I'm happy to be able to do this" sort of thing.
I made it home, and I wasn't overly traumatized by it all, so I can't wait for next week!