Sunday, February 23, 2014

In Which Car Keys Are Found On A Bridge

I found these keys on the creek bridge that leads form the Boyson Road Trail to the track-football complex in Marion Iowa. You can have them, if you lost them.

Well, blog pals, I got one set of speech papers graded, and decided it was enough to reward myself with a bike ride.

The ride was slightly delayed while I did some minor work on Francis. The front basket was missing a bolt, and my wife found a nut and bolt that could act as a replacement. The chain had some rust spots from icy-salty winter rides, so it was a lube time. I also pumped up the tires.

What with one thing and another, it was after 5 when I began my ride. Knowing that it wouldn’t be a long one, I decided to take the nearby Boyson Trail in Marion. Also, knowing that there was both a trail hill at the end of the Lindale Trail and that I wasn’t too thrilled at the idea of tackling the C Avenue sidewalk, I went over the Brentwood Drive hill, one that I’m sure I’ll often do in RAGBRAI training rides. I went over it again on the way home, so this was a good training ride—rode the hill twice.

I survived the hill transit, both ways. The street had a few icy patches, but was largely clear. Next, at the start of my ride, I rode to the Boyson Road sidewalk that leads to the trail.

And found ice. Ice, ice, baby, plenty of it. The little descent from the bridge over a creek that feeds into Dry Creek was a bit dicey.

Sidewalk on Boyson Road leading to Boyson Trail. This is a little hill leading to the creek bridge.

Although, to give the city of Marion its due, most of the trail was clear, and where there was ice, it wasn’t because snow had not been cleared. It was clearly due to melting snow that froze.

So I proceeded slowly. I rode all the way from one end of the Boyson Trail to the other. The worst spot was the hill by the Frisbee Golf Course, which was a sheet of ice. There were also icy patches at the start of the trail, where the Lindale Trail enters the Boyson trail (and from the look of the hill on the Lindale Trail, my route choice appeared wise).
Hill by Frisbee Golf Course on Boyson Trail--solid ice. I'm sure melting snow just runs out of the woods and freezes on the trail--not much the city could do about it except wait for spring or maybe posting a sign saying, "hey, crazy CR bikers, this stuff that looks like ice? It's very slick because it is ice. Good luck going up or down this hill."
I saw some walkers, and a jogger. I also saw, at a distance, one biker who wiped out on the icy hill by the golf course. I am pleased to report, blog pals, said biker was not I. I would have rendered aid, but said biker got up and was gone long before I got there.

On the way south, I paused at the bridge that leads from the park parking lot to the Marion High School track complex, when some bling caught my eye. Shiny. Someone had lost a set of keys. The only people in sight were a child and adult at the ice rink, and I checked, the keys were not theirs. So I put them in my basket and brought them home. I e-mailed the Marion PD, in case someone is missing them, but the picture is here, too. If you lost your keys and these look familiar, call the Marion PD and they will contact your biking correspondent, I hope. They have my number, anyway.

All in all, it was a bit unnerving to be on the trail in fading light with so many ruts and icy places. But I am glad I got out and stretched those biking muscles a bit. If I had a bit more time, I would have headed to the Cedar River Trail. Its paved surface is in slightly better winter riding shape—again, no knock against Marion which has done what it can, but at this time of year, a limestone trail is a bit rough.
I pause at the end of the trail. Note how rough it looks--it's been a hard winter on this limestone surface. After snapping this photo, I turned on my lights and headed home. Slowly.
I made one serious error. I wore my light winter biking gloves. They insulate my hands down to about 25 degrees, and it was around 11 degrees when I rode. I did have warm boots, double socks, two layers on my legs—I was dressed well for winter biking, with the important exception of my hands, which got painfully cold. My right thumb is still sore—I got pretty close to frostbite, I am afraid.

But, I would do it again, just in warm mittens.

Sun sets over Indian Creek near north end of Boyson Trail. Why I would do it again--you'all don't see this if your stuck inside in winter.

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