Wednesday, January 19

Multiple Loss-of-Traction Events and Noxious Gases

Snowy, slippery ride home tonight, fraught with fun.

My boss (same one who shuttled me last week) offered me a ride home. I said I was okay. Looking outside I saw a thin layer of snow and figured it wouldn't be too bad.

I got out the door, pedaled to the short but steep sidewalk that gets you to the bike path along 93 and slid sideways. I had to walk up to the bike path and remount there.

I could tell it was really slick and creeped over to JC Parkway. The snow was coming down fast in heavy flakes. The temperature was 19F when I left work.

Crossing at the main road before the descent into Golden I had to meander around an SUV that was blocking the cross walk. I took a dive in the road there.

After two loss-of-traction events I was slowly rolling down the steep bike path to Illinois Street. I traversed the quiet street over to 19th and then onto the Mines campus. I continued on Illinois knowing I was approaching a really steep and potentially super-slick hill. Sure enough, it was snot-like. I eased down as a car sat immobile facing up the hill. I was thankful the driver chose to sit still as I passed, and I worried another car would come down behind me and not be able to stop. But I had my own problems.

Near the bottom of the steepest part I had a third loss-of-traction event and went down on my belly, nose down and sliding down the hill. I didn't go far, but I had enough time to contemplate my predicament before I came to a rest.

It was tricky to get back on my feet, right the bike and continue to flatter ground. At that point I knew I needed to stop and let Mandy know it was going to take me awhile to get home, and to call back to the office and warn my remaining coworkers about the road conditions.

I continued on until I was under the Washington Street bridge on the CCT. I made my calls and put on my shell and steeled myself to get out of Golden onto the open path beyond.

The trip out of town was relatively uneventful but still slick. I managed to get some speed once I crossed 58 and for quite awhile I managed a consistent and respectable speed. After the giant pringle cans I noticed my rear derailer was starting to freeze up. Ugh!

The light was fading fast and the snow was coming down hard. I had changed from my wretched motorcycle goggles to my sunglasses. They don't fog at all, but it was dark enough I was having trouble seeing the path, even with The Laser. The snow was piling up on the path as I got into the no-man's land between McIntyre (the pringle cans) and I-70.

As I approached I-70 I was in a zone, listening to the crunch of my tires and the squeal of the ice building up under my rear fender, and then suddenly I was passed by another cyclist!

Immediately I was overwhelmed by a noxious cloud of gas. Geez Dude! I don't know what you had for lunch, but it's really rude to expel toxic fumes as you're passing another cyclist.

He cranked on, Elmira Gulch style, despite the slickery conditions and when he was a few yards ahead of me I slammed into another noxious cloud. If you're going to pass another cyclist, please refrain from passing anything else...

He veered off a few minutes later and I was glad he took his gastro-intestinal distress in a different direction.

The light faded further and I switched The Laser from strobe to solid beam. I planned on stopping under the bridge at Kipling near the Wheat Ridge Rec Center to put on my clear goggles (foggy or no) and text Mandy to let her know I was still okay.

It was nice and dry under the bridge and I got a much needed respite. I sent my text and was going to change eyewear, but the goggles fogged up even before I could get back on the bike. I gave up and went naked (my eyes) as I headed on toward home.

I made it on with no real problems after that. I worried as a I pedaled along Garrison that some goofball would slide into me in their coffee cup holder on wheels. But no one did and I rolled relatively unscathed into my driveway an hour and a half after leaving work.


The last couple of miles the snow built up rather thickly between my rear wheel and fender. As if I needed added resistance to make the ride interesting...

I've already gotten the OBS out for the ride in in the morning.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, that sounds like a blast. Studded tires have really improved my icy rides and I discovered that going fenderless isn't that bad. My rear cargo rack blocks most of the muck.