Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Who knows what evil lies in the heart of Kansas?

As part of the recovery program from overtraining I have been doing, I have had had a lot of boring road riding going on. You know, flat flat flat, HR down around beer drinking levels and not too long every day. As a result I have gotten used to being one of the slowest on the road and seeing far more farm houses than my beloved canyons and pine trees as of late.

Today however, I nearly met a dark and unspeakable presence. The ride started out in the same way as the others: I put on a Harry Potter audiobook, lots of layers so I felt like a thrice-wrapped kielbasa, started up the GPS and rolled out of my home towards points north.

36 heading north was the same as normal. I was passed by a few people in their 70's and a walking millipede in a hurry for an afternoon tea. Then, without knowing it, I temped fate and headed down Nelson Rd...

Never before in the history of KBK (that's me) have I found myself in such a situation. Never before have I questioned the very fabric of reality as I found myself accelerating beyond speeds rationally possible. Suddenly, a euphoria came over me as I spun out the compact crank on my bike. 35mph, 40mph, 45mph! Coasting and on what? a 4% grade!

Surely this was heaven! I had overcome my overtraining and instantly become the main contender for the Tour. So what if Lance is out with a busted collarbone, an American could still win! Me! At this level of effort I almost thought I was flying!

I should have known it was too good to be true. I thought I was ready to fly, but then I saw this crabby old tart riding a bike and I knew was in trouble. I found myself riding faster and faster, my joy had suddenly turned to horror as I was pulled, against the very depths of my will, towards Kansas!

In a last ditch attempt to avoid this fate, I turned south onto 63rd. But then as if the very hands of fate were pushing me back, I was hit by a supernatural wind that slowed my pace so that amoebas and critically wounded earthworms were passing me. This was convincing evidence to me that there was a force - a black hole, satan, a Balrog like in the caves in Lord of the Rings, the tractor beam from a Death Start or perhaps Antonio Banderas trying to get me to Kansas.

Not to be thwarting in my nearly holy effort to survive I pressed on. Ignoring strange machinations like signs saying "63rd closed between Oxford and Niwot" as I was convinced that these signs either didn't pertain to cyclists or were deliberately set to crush my will and send me back to my doom, I fought the evil wind towards my beloved Boulder.

Then I came to Oxford and at the corner and here was this crone again, this time in a pointy pointy hat and she's convinced a couple of dolts to stand in the middle of the road. They stop me to ask if I know the way to Seattle or something along those lines , while the crazy hump-backed-so-green-she-should-just-barf-and-get-it-over-with hag jumps out from behind this tree and starts telling me that I should pay taxes to ride my bike on the road or head back the way I just came! That and the thought of riding over a mile or so of rough gravel on the C-note worth of brand new Vredesteins (so smooth, it's like rubber crack for my bike), forced me to abandon this path to personal salvation.

With a "Hehehehe and I'll get your little Specialized too!" she began in, what Roscoe P. Coltrane would call "hot pursuit" of me, chasing me back towards my fate in the aforementioned maelstrom of doom called Kansas.

Riding away, and wishing for one of these to use upon the warty witch in pursuit, I found myself counting to 5 (3 sir 3) and arriving at Nelson Rd. again. Which way to go? To the west suddenly appeared clouds so dark and dastardly that and a hill (that I swear wasn't there on the way down) that I quelled in fear at the very thought. "Hark! Is that snow falling on the hills?"

"I know not," thought I. "But let us not tempt the wrath of Zeus or Jim Morrison by riding into the storm! I must risk riding into the very maw of death itself! I must head east and then hope that I can use the speed from the force of gravity to deflect myself, like in Star TrekIV, around the danger and use my momentum to time travel... or at least get back to Boulder"

As I committed to this, I found my bike accelerating again towards Kansas. The dark side of the force is strong. Looking at my heart rate monitor, I could see that my mind and body was accepting this fate. I was calm. Again, I turned, this time onto 75th and instantly fatigued. It was like one of those movies where they explain what they are doing in single word sentences:








Ahead, my trusty navigator, Mr. Garmin was telling me, I would turn west again, face the even more wind, if that was conceivable as I had just seen several cars and a sumo wrestler fly by. But I knew what I had to do.

My coach be damned! I would have to enter DUM DUM DUM!!! Heart rate zone 4!

Making things worse, I realized that the last trick in the book of the wicked witch was to make me need to pee. Oh, why oh why couldn't they put a nice portajohn out here?

My vision grew dark, or at least the weather did. I thought this might be my last, so I stopped
to take a picture with my handy phone. As you can see, not only was it dark and cloudy, but a great wall of sepia-tone had come down around me.

But then, as if an albatross was finally being lifted from my neck, I turned back onto 36 heading north. The fight was not over, but it was won. I was not going to be claimed by Kansas today. It was now just a matter of getting home, locking the door and grabbing a "carbonated adult recovery beverage".

So, I am here to tell you "Whoas you if you find yourself heading at a precipitous pace towards that great forbidden square State! Evil lies there and it wants to claim you!" I am sure there is a great mountain of carbon, aluminum and titanium in the very heart of Kansas calling like a siren to those who dare to ride east into the horizon.

Here is a link to this harrowing adventure as recorded by my trusty navigator and coffee machine and obnoxious beep maker, Mr. Garmin.

Here is a profile w/ my speed and HR. You can see that KS has a strong pull on unaware cyclists. Can you see that spot where the green line (speed) drops like a rock and the HR spikes? That's were I began to fight the tractor beam!


Eric Scroger said...

Nice report from the trenches.

When you say, "carbonated adult recovery beverage", I'm sure you really meant, Brawndo, the Thirst Mutilator...

Eric Scroger said...

By the way, I wonder what Koppenberg is going to look like on Sunday after this blizzard. The hill should be mud-tastic.