Scary Monsters by Russ

posted Nov 5, 2011, 7:35 PM by Bob Brown III   [ updated Nov 5, 2011, 7:54 PM ]

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The only thing scarier than seeing Carl at 7 on a dark, late October morning is seeing him framed by sideways palm trees from the 25 mph winds. That’s enough to make any rider cringe. 

There were more than a few “what are we doing here” comments Sunday morning (well, not much more than a few; there were only 5 of us!). But hey, it’s not a job, it’s an adventure so away we went into the teeth of the booming gale (that’s a literary reference; Google it!). The thing is, adventures are usually very disagreeable things to those having them; only afterwords do they brag about them.

The first gut check that Carl, Bill, Bob and I had was turning North onto A1A from a complete stop coming out of Boynton Inlet Park. A little less gearing would have helped (help Granny, help!). We continued onward towards Lake Worth fighting the wind. Wind is a two or three edged sword. From the front it’s a constant struggle, from the rear a constant delight; but when you’re riding between high-rises on the beach in a 25-30 mph wind it comes at you from 4 different directions in the space of a few seconds. One second it blows you halfway across the road, the next it beats you back, then pushes you along all before then blowing you back to the other side of the road where you started from. It’s definitely not for the faint of heart.

At Lake Worth we met Mark. That’s all, just Mark. Poor ol’ cold, lonely Mark sitting by himself on a bench with his back to the wind, surrounded by ...absolutely no one except a surfer coming up from the beach. No DF’ers except for 1 or 2 brave souls with more brass then brains. Hmm, that could describe us as well...

The ride up the beach was awe inspiring. The power of the waves, the ferocity of the wind, the spray all over our glasses... Mark & Carl teamed up and took off together, their red tailights blinking as they receded in the distance. One day, guys... you will have company!

We stopped at the Sunoco station to catch our breath and make pit stops. This is a full-service station in the heart of Palm Beach mind you. It got me wondering, so I strolled over to the pumps to see just how proud they were of that full service. Pretty proud; the Hi-Test gasoline was $ 5.04/gallon, the regular $ 4.79/gallon. Lamborghini, anyone?

We continued on to the inlet. We took a wrong turn into a cul-de-sac where I had to stop to adjust my bag, which was rubbing on the rear tire. Mark stopped with me. By the time we looked up everyone was gone. Mark & I made a circuit of the cul-de-sac and didn’t see anyone so we headed North again. Carl picked us up a couple of blocks away and we soldiered on. At the inlet, Bill and Bob were missing. Up they rode a minute later, refreshed and sedate since they’d decided to ride over and take the Lake trail up. No wind over there! Truly it is said that “old age and treachery will always defeat youth and strength”. Although with us I guess youth is a relative thing...

We spent a pleasant 20 minutes or so at the inlet watching a flats boat head towards the ocean and deciding that discretion was the better part of valor, and a kayaker saying “the hell with discretion, I’m going for the valor” as he paddled across the inlet.

And with that we all packed up and headed back. It was smooth sailing all the way at 21-23 mph with those tailwinds. Halfway between Lake Worth and Boynton my bike started getting a little squirrely. I chalked it up to the side winds and continued on. It got steadily worse and sure enough I looked down only to find a flat front tire. I stopped to remedy the problem and call ahead to let the others know what had happened. 5 minutes later Carl sauntered up and 2 minutes after that Mark arrived with the SAG wagon. The tube was changed and Carl & I continued on to Boynton. Then, just before the bridge over the inlet the front tire went flat again, this time all at once but without a “bang”. I almost lost it there, and with a car about to pass me to. I coasted back to the Boynton inlet and started to pack up. Then Mark discovered that he’d picked up a screw in one of his car tires. He just happens to carry a patch kit in his trunk but no electric pump. The tire was patched and Bob contributed his electric pump to the cause.

Afterwards a pleasant lunch/BS session ensued at TooJays over a delicious lunch where we spoke of many things, possibly including cabbages and kings (another literary reference. Man, I’m really full of it tonight!). And so ended another Bent Society ride.