8.06.2006,3:25 PM
Mind Warp Day
Did you ever have a morning when you rise out of bed and walk around as if in a daze? You're scratching your head for an answer when you don't even know what the question is? Feel as if everything is off kilter and you can't put your feet down on solid ground to make the world stop spinning? Like you ate something that didn't agree with you and now you have indigestion throughout your entire being?

I call this a "Mental Warp" Day. Something is bothering you but you can't identify or isolate the culprit. Instead it just teases and picks at your psyche and you want to swat at it like a pesky fly.

Maybe it's the heat.

Regardless of what it was that put me in that warp, I needed to feel the bike between my legs and the road rolling away under us. Whee continues its education in The Little Whee That Could with a new handlebar and another 1/4" raised on the forks. It's almost a totally different bike. And we needed to be reacquainted.

Geared up and saddled, I settled down and sat for a moment listening, feeling the engine, the seat under me, the new bar, and shifted my whole focus of attention to piloting forward. Early Sunday mornings are typically the best time of the week to ride. The roads are empty except for church-goers and the temperatures are still cool. The ride is less stressful and more enjoyable. I passed a few groups of other riders suggesting I was not the only bike enthusiast taking advantage of the early morning lull in bustling life.

I rode a zig-zagged big circle between Azle and White Settlement and headed back home. Although when I pulled up, I sat in the seat and didn't want to get off. Not yet.

Going into the house, I grabbed the new camera, zipped it into my tank bag and headed down the gravel road again. Time for a "Turn this way and that way. Who cares where it goes?"

One of my favorite roads continues through the nearest FM junction. The expansive vistas of the high plains always fills me with a wonder and renewed appreciation of this area of the Texas north central plains. The rolling cattle and horse country is occasionally dotted with small clusters of houses or farm buildings. Tall oaks break the horizon, but none of these can overcome the expanse of rolling prairie land. I often wonder what it was like before this area was settled with the teeming population that surrounds it. And a sadness creeps in with the realization that in time this too will succumb to human encroachment.

Picking up I-20 I rode to Weatherford, turning down another FM road that hugs Lake Weatherford. Continuing into the town of Azle, I turned south to pick up a road that borders Eagle Mountain Lake. I'm becoming more familiar with these roads and don't need the maps. Today I didn't want maps.

Riding along the lake I was surprised and concerned to see how much lower the water level was. This drought is taxing our reserves, both in energy and water. Lakes assume a different profile when the water levels drop so severely, as if they were standing naked and dejected. The perimeter of the lakes show the lines of wear by continuously rising and falling of water as it erodes the strata along the edges. Now they lay naked above the water for all to see, disrupting the smooth transition of water to land.

I rode away from the lake on a road that I knew was bumpy and winding. A good way to test how the handling of the bike has changed, and indeed it had. No longer does the bike respond when I just drop my shoulder and turn my head as if it can read my mind. Now I have to be more aggressive in directing it with my arms by pushing and pulling into and out of the turns. Because the center of gravity is lower and it is not as top heavy, it now resembles the cruiser in handling. The new handlebar has a more upright and wider grip, thus allowing me to be aggressive in countersteering and turning. I will have to get used to this type of handling again when riding the twisties. I miss that almost intuitive response of the bike when riding the curves.

Lowering the front end more allows me to significantly steady my feet on the ground, but it also shortens the distance between my butt and the pegs. Again the angles are now sharper between my hips, knees and ankles. I found that my feet start going to sleep quickly with this change which reduces the comfort of the ride. I moved my feet around quite a bit when riding today. Not a good sign.

The temperature soared quickly while I was on the road, so I aimed the bike into Lake Worth for an ice cream. I ate a double decker of dark chocolate and Amaretto-flavored ice cream while enjoying the cool air in the shop. The windows opened out to a courtyard of green grass and blue fountain water with a pool. I took my first shots with the new camera, capturing the serene and quiet courtyard and water. Most of all, the green grass was pleasing since most grass everywhere else is now dried tan and brown.

Even before I started the bike, sweat was rolling down into my eyes and streaming down my chest and back. At a red light in traffic, I realized I was feeling nauseous and my head getting cloudy. Having had a bit of heat exhaustion last Friday, I knew I had to head home before it got worse. I wished I had a thermometer mounted on the bike.

I rode back the way I came, along Eagle Mountain Lake into Azle and then 730 and 1886 home. By the time I put the sidestand down I was dizzy. I covered Whee and stripped off the gear on the way into the house, clothes shedding on the floor on the way to the shower. I let the warm 'cold' water run over me as I leaned against the wall in the shower, my head a blank as my body cooled and my heart beat returned to normal. I glanced at the thermometer on the way to the fridge for iced water: 103 F at 2:00 pm.

I lay on the bed and air dried falling into a deep sleep. And feeling rested upon awakening. The mind warp no longer apparent, but I'm still scratching my head wondering what the question was.
posted by Macrobe
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