24 February, 2006 Temperature: 18 degrees F (-8°C)
Well, it’s been an interesting couple of days. Fatigue has been stalking me lately, as I just can’t seem to sleep through the night. I don’t know if it’s spring fever or what, but my mind races after the lights go out. I keep thinking of the places I want to go and roads I want to ride once I get the KLR back in the wind.
Don’t get me wrong, I am still very much connected to the Baron. We have reached an almost nerve-level communication over the course of this winter. I can feel what is happening with the tires and suspension in my own skeleton. The drivetrain speaks to me through my ears and my ass; I can tell immediately when something just isn’t right. I am definitely “one with the machine”.
This is why I was going to bring him in to Baron HQ last night. I wanted to check the drive belt and variator for wear. After riding to work in the -6° F weather last Friday, and experiencing a loss of twenty miles per hour off the top end, I was worried that we had flat spotted the roller weights or somehow damaged the drive belt. So every single vibration, lurch, or shudder in the machine took on ominous significance. We have just turned over 8,400 kilometers, and I don’t feel like taking any chances. Crewchief Lorne to the rescue, once again… or so I thought.
At about 1pm yesterday, I received a call from Ivan at Baron. He told me that Lorne had cut his hand, and was on his way to the hospital for stitches. So my scheduled maintenance would have to be put off. I could do this job myself, if I wanted, but it requires special tools that I don’t have yet. I agreed to wait until Monday, when Lorne would be back on the job. It would be no problem for me to do the work under his supervision.
So I revised my route home to ride only on parkways and residential streets, until the unavoidable stretch of Shephard Road. There, I kept my speed down to 40 mph all the way. The Baron seems to smooth out and run just fine in the warmer temperatures. It is only the extreme cold which adversely affects the CVT mechanism.
We made it home with no drama, and I began to worry a bit less. I awoke this morning to weather reports that predicted 35+ degrees under partly cloudy skies. I took the time to eat breakfast, and made sure the camera was charged up and ready for any photo-ops which might arise. Little did I know…
The sunrise this morning was glorious! At least it appeared so in my rearview mirror. However, when I stopped on the Lake Street Bridge to take a photograph, I was stunned to see the furious face of Old Man Winter himself, scowling at me as if to say, “I’m not done with you yet!”.
All of my bravado here on the blog must be coming back to haunt me. Either that, or I am hallucinating. You be the judge. What do you see in that image?
I’m not a superstitious man, normally. But this vision kind of shook me. We are so close to Spring, and the end of this project, that I can’t afford to let my guard down. That, my friends, is when excrement happens.