Uncategorized25 Aug 2008 08:02 am

The week is ending with a bang, I tell you. Be careful what you ask for, Georgie.

A day in two appointments, 16 miles apart and a little closer together than I would prefer, but my “meet-ees” have made themselves available at 10:30 AM in the Loop and 1 PM by phone at my house.

Why not the cell phone? On Sunday, it was as blank as my mind when I appear to be daydreaming, so I told this caller to use my house phone. I got the replacement on Wednesday.

And I can’t get through to change the call number to my cell-o-phone. So it goes.

With my back wheel replaced, which I picked up last night after arriving in Evanston from DeKalb, my bike is ready for a run downtown. As usual, I’m trying to squeeze in a few last things and don’t leave as soon as I should, giving myself only one hour and 15 minutes to make it to downtown Chicago because I leave at 9:15 AM.

There’s a bit of a headwind today so the trip turns into one hour and 25 minutes. I’m not too late after all: the person I’m meeting has had yet another one of the CTA Blue Line’s delays, this time stopping her right under the Chicago River in the subway tunnel. I can tell from her retelling that this is not one of her favorite places to be stuck in the subway.

We’re done by 11:45 AM and I talk with my good friend there to consider his invitation to have coffee. I’m strongly tempted so I check if there’s any chance my intermediary for the 1:00 call can get through with my cell phone number but no answer. It’s now 11:50 AM and I decide to bike it. This is going to be tough to make it home by 1:00. 16 miles, right? “Good luck, sucker!” I sneer to myself.

My start is good but I get some crosswinds and headwinds as I head west to Milwaukee Avenue to turn northwest. There, things change for the better, and I’m catching a tailwind. I check my digital speedometer as I head more northerly on Elston Avenue and I’m doing 18 and 20 MPH pretty consistently. I’m also catching some important green lights at intersections that add minutes to your trip.

Looking good but I don’t want to take a chance with missing this call, so partway home in my old neighborhood at a light, I pull out the cell phone and call my wife. Yes, she’ll be at home, so I tell her to take the call and tell him I’m delayed and to call me on my cell. She reads me some info from an email as a briefing for the call. OK, push ahead. I take the turn at California Avenue and head north on the shorter but less scenic route home to save time. Light traffic and the tailwind is still pushing me hard. I’m pushing myself pretty hard, too. Will the old legs hold up?

Then the fun starts at the Evanston border, as it has so many times before this summer: it begins to rain. Not hard, but steady. Aw, crap. My brakes squeak and slow me less efficiently. The street is covered in that rain-and-grease slime that makes stopping a heart-stopper. But I’m still making good time and I don’t let up, except to turn on my bright taillight and my front lights. Before I know it, I’m past the High School, past the Sanitary Canal, and in the home stretch. I can’t believe it’s still only about 12:50 on my speedometer but that’s slow. I get the last green light I need at Central and wheel north and into my alley and my garage, wet, dirty, but close to on-time. I unhook my bag and run into the house: my wife says he has not called yet.

Wet shoes off, I do a printout, and grab the laptop as the phone rings.

I made it, with minutes to spare. The call goes well. I’m glad he’s not looking at my physical state of wet clothes and dirty, gritty legs. I’m exhausted and hungry and happy with myself. I would not have made it without that mighty tailwind, though. I’m believing in higher powers right now.

With food and rest and water and soap, I’m ready for the evening. I ride to tai chi and back.

I still feel it in my legs.

It feels good.

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