So, it's been a hard winter so far here in middle Tennessee, which is probably about on par with the way this winter has been everywhere in the United States. Make that "continental United States," since I don't think the weather ever sucks in Hawaii. But I wanted to slip a ride in before the weekend, so I decided to bike in to work on Friday.
"Slip" is the right word, as it turns out.
It was just below freezing when the sun came up, and it wasn't supposed to get much warmer. I decided that this was a plus, however, because it would simplify what I needed to wear: My beloved Assos cold-weather suit. And it felt just right, too ... for the first eight miles.
It actually still felt right when I noticed that the roads just north of Franklin looked wetter than the roads down by my house. I didn't think much about that until I started over the bridge over the Harpeth River on Cotton Lane. And that's when I found the ice.
There was a dead possum on the bridge shoulder, and cars coming up behind me. I moved over a bit as I got up onto the bridge, and the wheel went kind of slippy, and I tried to shift my weight to compensate, and then it all went wh-wh-wh-whoa! And then I was lying down on the bridge, still astride my bike, and thinking "I hope that SUV behind me stops."
Which it did, of course. Otherwise, somebody else would be writing this blog.
I got the bike over to the bridge rail and picked up the stuff in the front bag that had fallen out. The lady in the SUV asked if I was okay and I said Yeah, thanks, and she and the 10 cars that were now behind her went on by. I walked the bike the rest of the way over the bridge, made sure that everything was still working OK, and continued on towards the office.
Since the quieter road obviously had some ice, I decided to head straight over to busier Hillsboro Road and the bike lane there. On the way, I tried to assess whether I had been damaged, but everything felt fine. Apparently, I took the brunt of the impact on my left knee, which hurt a bit. And then I noticed that there was now a hole in the bibs of my Assos gear.
I grumbled a bit while rolling up the bike lane, and then I stopped my whining and started looking at the edge of the lane ... which had ice. Okay, then. Now I've got cars going by at 55 mph, with occasional ice in the bike lane. And that's when I said it.
"F- this S-."
Which could stand for "Forget this Slippperiness." Sure.
I turned around and took the sunniest roads that I could back to the house. A quick shower and change of clothing and I was soon in the car, listening in on my first conference call of the day.
Next weekend is my birthday weekend. For the past three years, I've ridden a 200K on my birthday weekend. This year, I may just fly down to Florida to do it.