Sunday, October 12, 2008

Unintentional Night Ride

Got out for a ride yesterday after I got done shooting our two big rivalry games against Navy Prep (you can see the results here: football and soccer) where we got our butts handed to us. The only issue is that now that we are into October a ride that leaves after 5pm quickly runs out of light- but in my infinte wisdom I thought I'd be fine and could beat the setting sun if I just did a quick hour spin. I did have a small Knog blinky on the back, so I rolled out feeling safe.

The ride was great, especially the trip out. It was getting a bit dark but nothing crazy as I hit the half way point and began to climb up to a beautiful ridge that looks out over Keoka Pond. I was enjoying the view and the dark orange along the horizon- then the sun just dropped and it got dark. I could see the road ok at this point, and it's a road I know pretty well- but none the less the descents were a bit unnerving as I couldn't see much beyond 5 yards. I was on back roads so traffic wasn't much of an issue- I knew I had a one mile stretch of route 37 that was going to be dicey- no shoulder, traffic, curvy, and holes along the edge of the road. No worries- I can hammer that section and have it done in no time.

I hit the start of the section and gave it full gas, as I was coming up the first little blind rise I looked back and could see lights coming- which made me nervous as I wasn't sure how well they would see me if I was on the back side of the rise just as they crested- and I could see lights coming toward me- I descided to just go harder and try to beat the car behind me to the oncoming car. I couldn't see my HRM as it was toooooo dark- but it felt like it was in the 185-190 range as the back of my throught had that taste that is almost acidic. I made it to the on coming car before the vehicle behind me caught up- that made me feel a little better. Next thing is there is this massive shadow of a cyclist on the road- my body was blocking the trucks lights so where I was going I couldn't really see that well- but there was enough light around that my eyes were adjusting to that light level. I wasn't really sure what to do- I was in my 50x13 going as hard as I could- so pulling off would have required a massive deceleration and possibly confuse the truck behind me- continuing that fast would require that I didn't hit anything I didn't see as I would end up star fishing down the road, and slowing down would mean being on this now very scary section of road for longer then I needed to be- so I stayed riding fast. The truck just wouldn't go by, I couldn't figure it out- I was appreciating the fact he wasn't trying to run me over, but the light was killing me as I really couldn't see anything that was useful due to my shadow. Finally the truck went by and as it did a familiar shifting sound alerted me to why the truck was behind me- it was a big rig and he needed to make sure he had a clear shot. He got by me clean- although it was a bit nerve racking as he went by as my eyes were now all messed up and I couldn't see anything as he passed. He was followed by several other vehicles and I will say I was very glad to get off that stretch of road in one piece. By the time I got home it was fully dark out, and my wife wasn't very impressed with my lack of lighting, but I'm pretty sure she was pleased she wasn't having to fill out paperwork to collect life insurance!

The verdict- next time take lights!


1 comment:

bluecolnago said...

i hate when that happens. be careful out there!