Thursday, April 7, 2011

Greensboro, North Carolina

Friends: The southern spring weather has been topsy-turvey, one day the winds blowing with gusto from the north and then the next day with equal fervor from the south, as winter and spring battle it out. When from the north, I need to layer up with tights and sweater and gloves and wool cap. When from the south, I can shed to shorts and bare arms.

The temperatures have been cold enough for frost and warm enough to make a "79 cents for any fountain drink" advertisement at service stations a site I long to see. I'll load a 32-ounce cup to the brim with ice and some flavorful drink, quickly down the drink as if it were the middle of the summer and then have ice to cool water for an hour or so in my thermal water bottle.

At last, my final 45-mile run into Greensboro, my weekend base with Tomas, the warmer weather seemed to be winning out. The winds settled into a gentle breeze from the west. Still a headwind for me, but not a force that left me exhausted at the end of the day. Even after five days of conditioning, one such day left my body needing eleven hours of sleep. Spring is far enough along in these parts for people to be out cutting their grass. One guy told me he had already had to cut it twice this spring, well ahead of Chicago.

Tomas lives on the western side of Greensboro, in High Point actually, the third city of the Triad that also includes Winston Salem. It wasn't the most pleasant of cycling cutting through Greensboro on four-lane and two-lane highways without shoulders. Tomas has been in Greensboro for five yeas after living in California most of his life and still hasn't adjusted to its less than amenable cycling.

He had just returned from a month in China working twelve-hour days overseeing a factory that produces micro-chips for his company, breathing all too much pollution and cigarette smoke and no opportunity for riding a bike, quite a deprivation for a guy with five quality bikes adorning his home, three in his garage and two in his living room, with another on the way, a bamboo bike.

But before his China assignment he'd had a good immersion into the bicycle culture, attending the seventh annual North American Handmade Bike Show, this year in Austin. He'd attended several other of the shows, where he'd had a chance to meet the man who specializes in bamboo bikes, Craig Calfee. His bike is due to arrive Monday or Tuesday, almost enough to tempt me to stick around to see it and give it a ride, but I need to get back to be on my way before then.

Unfortunately my weekend in the Triad will be too cinema-preoccupied for any bike riding, working the River Run Film Festival with Lyndon. And a report will have to wait on that too.

Later, George

No comments: