I got an email from Tom about a ride on the rail at Tyler Park today. I didn't think I was going, until The Excellent Wife (TEW) made it clear this morning that she thought I ought to. "It's on a trail," she said, "if you get lost or fall off the back, you can just turn around and go back." TEW's ideas of trails are based on the D&R canal towpath; the Tyler Park trails are more like a network, but I don't think that was the point; I think the real reason for the suggestion was that she thought I needed to see some of my bike-y friends. And a case could definitely be made; I've been in a much better mood this afternoon than recently. I've been able to completely avoid the topic of recent politics (until just now... D'OH!).
I barely got the bike onto the car and on my way in order to make it in time, I was that sure I wasn't doing anything today. After a bit of worried navigation, I figured I was in the right place when I saw Chris C's truck, and, next to it, Tom's Subaru.
And, right about start time, Laura OLPH pulled up.
The three of them were on mountain bikes, and I was riding the Krakow Monster with hybrid tires, so I took heed of a quick lesson from Chris on snow and ice surfaces. Most of the trail was cleared, though.
It was a wintry day.
I decided to walk the bike up the steep, muddy/icy/snowy hill to the covered bridge. I am learning my limits.
Did I mention it was a wintry day?
I was surprised by the number of people out walking the trail, many with excellent-looking dogs (I wonder if there's a attractiveness quotient for dogs allowed into the park of a Saturday). Perhaps a future blog post will feature good-looking canines.
I've been worrying about whether I'd be able to keep up after the ankle injury two months ago, and bronchitis over the past month. Two bits of good news, then: first, neither the ankle nor the lungs posed particular problems. There were a couple of climbs* that did me in, but I think that was mostly just being out of shape (which I definitely am). (*It was probably the same climb twice; we did part of the loop two times - see the ride page.) Second, I was able to keep up with Laura, Tom, and Chris.
More important, though, was that I got to see some friends I have not seen. I think I've made it clear in these posts that a large part of my social life is tied to the bike. Having missed almost all of that for two months, including Christmas and New Year's, has added to a smidge of depression, I think. I'm much brighter today. I'm looking forward to getting out more with other riders: people I know well, and people I don't.
Near the end of the ride we stopped at a park building to engage in some plumbing. The melt-and-refreeze off the eave onto a picnic table was picturesque.
Later, TEW and I will be going on an early Valentine's date, where I hope to provide more jollity than gloom. I've had gloom enough (do you need any?)
(I do not love the look of that rear derailleur on the Monster. I think I'm low-key in the market for a prettier one. That one works. I got it, though, to prove that a really cheap component [which that is; it's a Shimano Altus] can do the job, and it does, especially with the friction shifting. But it's not a thing I love.)