Sunday, June 5, 2016

The Beauty and The Beast

        Lisa brought me to a play in Chico on an early Sunday in May, "The Beauty and The Beast". She bought tickets for several of her friends, (she's like that) and we all met in the parking lot of the Chico Performing Arts Center. Before that rendezvous, she invested a few hours tending to her garden, while I hopped on my bicycle and climbed one of my favorite hills toward Lassen Volcanic National Park.
         She said, "Remember, you have to be back in an hour and a half, don't get carried away with exploring." I mounted my dual-sport/ townbike, called the Fast City...because this hill has some nasty bumps and bubbles in the pavement, especially on the descent, and the Fast City has a suspension fork. I climbed for 45 minutes, from 4,500ft. to 6,200ft. to a campground on the south edge of Lassen Park.
         The loop through the campground was blocked by snow so, I executed a tight u-turn on the small dirt lane... for some reason the chain broke and stretched out in a straight line in the dirt below....damn!  I carry tools on my bike to fix a flat or true a wheel but, I don't carry a chain tool...which is what I needed to make this repair and get home on time. Now, I'm going to be in  trouble...if I don't get back in time I'll be considered The Beast who messed up the rendezvous.
         I'll have to coast and run all the way back to Chester. I am used to pedaling on this downhill run, and even though I've ridden this particular hill hundreds of times, I don't recall if I can coast the entire way back. I had cleated shoes on so, I was really hoping to stay in the saddle all the way back to Chester. It turned out that there was only one hundred yard run-up and a few short ones. I made it home on time and parked my bicycle at the bottom of the stairs. Lisa was waiting on the deck and said, somewhat casually, "How did it go?" I told her about my chainless return and just then, the front tire let go of all it's air...psheeeeuuu!...perfect place for a flat.

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