Tuesday, June 7, 2011

It's A Goldmine!!

"A Viagra Wind Is The Best Trainer"
Jerry Quesnell

Not thinking that I would need mitts and a headband, I was unprepared for the icy wind that greeted me as I headed south toward Devon to begin my last serious training session before next weekend's MS Tour.  I did find another excellent use for a bandana - wearing it across my face bandit style in an attempt to ward off frosbite.  In June no less.  Me looking like an cycling bandit or an urban cowboy on a two-wheeled horse.

Judging from the size and heft of the articles scattered on the shoulder of the highway, I was glad to be wearing a helmet.  A mild concern as I rode on the paved shoulder was that I would get beaned from some item carelessly chucked from one of the vehicles passing off my left shoulder.  Hundreds of beer cans, pop bottles, energy drink containers, tire shreds, bungy cords beyond count, an industrial sized turnbuckle, Slim Horton coffee cups and the ubiquitous plastic bags snagged on barb wire fences greeted me on my journey.

The first useful item was a small crescent wrench - similar to the one I carried in my hydration pack to adjust my seat.  As far as I'm concerned, one of the purposes of training is to work out the bugs on the bike. And my seat needed lots of adjustment to be able to spend 10 - 12 hours over 2 days sitting on it.  A "Shakedown Cruise".  Like what is done in the navy before commissioning a boat or submarine.

After another 5 klicks and stopping to see a man about a horse, I nearly ran over an expensive looking utility knife.  Coming back across the Devon Bridge, a whole socket set.  My already bulging hydration pack couldn't hold the whole lot and after waiting for a break in the traffic, I snatched an articulated box wrench and a ratcheting socket from the road.

Approaching my starting point, I spy a safety helmet and a large new road sign whose post had somehow been shattered and now lay haphazardly on the grassy verge. Greed overcoming need, I hefted the 50 pound get up onto my shoulder and headed over to my road bike.
 While making these frequent stops, I reminded myself that I was training for a tour - not a race and it was harmless to indulge my scrounging instincts and that I could pick up as much as I was willing to carry on my back, bike or shoulder.
It took an hour and a half to ride the 35 kilometers into the wind but only half that time to make it back to my starting point.  The cup was certainly half full on the way back.

The Goldmine
 What do you call roadside debris in the Motor City?


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