Saturday, October 16, 2010

My Journey to Haiti Starts in a Few Hours

A Note to you, my tolerant and curious reader:  This will be my last post until no earlier than Wednesday October 27.  In a few hours I will leave Charlotte for Miami and after a bit of waiting there, I will board one more plan for Port Au Prince.  For just under 9 days I will be collecting data only while living out of the my messenger bag which is packed and seems lighter than the way it feels loaded for the daily work routine.  In it contains:  Camera, 18-55mm lens, 55-200mm lens, 50mm fixed lens, 105mm fixed lens, skylight uv filter, polarized filter, a roll of black electrical tape, 1 small spiral notebook, 2 pencils, Nelles Map of Haiti(folded), small map compass, a dozen printed emails from some fine brave folks trying to make progress in Haiti, half of a toothbrush, 1pair of poly shorts, 1 short sleeve poly shirt, 1 long sleeve poly shirt, 1 thin wool sweater, 1 pair poly boxer briefs, 1 pair short wool socks, a black wool Disney Mickey Mouse beanie(that I found in the gutter on 7th Street eons ago), my Petzl headlamp, a small amount of pre-packaged fooding like nuts and power'ish bars, an empty STANLEY Bottle, a half of a tooth brush, 1 pair of gloves, my eye phone/charger, sunglasses, passport and visa card, never leave home without it. 

A few days ago former CMA Commuter of the Month and very fast rolling Townie inside leg dismount capable Pam Murray invited me to join her and three of her colleagues for a Friday morning ride from the Plaza Midwood area to the new Bank of America Building labeled, 1BAC.  A section of the 1BAC has been built in design to encourage Bank employees to commute to work by bike.  There is a proxy card access secured cage and racks for plenty of bicycles in an easy to get to from the street corner of the garage and just a few feet from the cage there are both men and women locker room facilities with showers and gear storage.  Perfect, a ride with three Corporate chicks just after sunrise on a chilly Friday morning.

So, I rode out of the estate in total darkness and arrived at the rally point a few minutes early to meet these brave souls willing to dive in with the auto traffic racing towards The Jar from the immediate east corridor.  From left to right please meet Gwen, Pam, Jenny and Elizabeth. 
Here we were just about to roll out when I suggested a route change that would take us across Central Ave, over to Commonwealth, then Pecan to Bay Street, Bay to Lamar(oops), Lamar to 8th, 8th to Louise Ave then a quick right on 7th up to the big buildings for the light rail path to the new 1BAC.

Jenny reaches deep into her hand bag of courage and attacks at the start of the climb out of the low up towards Veterans Park on the hill.  The trees are catching those early morning rays, a splendid sight.

Undismayed, Pam goes to chase, bridges the gap and although she could have broke Jenny's back over her knee at any second does the honorable thing and just sits on Jenny's wheel allowing her to take the climb win. I tell you folks that Pam is a true sportswoman indeed, I witnessed her leadership first hand. 

Just past the hill climb, the polka dot jersey leader decided to pull over allowing the rest of the peloton to catch up.  Nothing but smiles seen here.  Good Work ladies!

This dude showed up behind us without warning.  In this image I made over the top of my head, I catch Elizabeth explaining to the unidentified male rider how Jenny crushed the climb on the Col du McClintock.

The final approach up to Oz on 7th Street.  Pam fools around no longer and takes off on the second attack of the ride putting us all to task stringing out the group as if she were hanging us on a wire.  With authority Pam hammered on the pedals which put all of us into a spot of bother.  Not used to such a pace I hung off the back with Jenny and we gave each other the moral support we needed to straggle in and finish the stage.  At the awards ceremony I claimed the highly coveted, Lanterne Rouge

A sneak peek at the proxy access cage inside the parking garage of 1BAC.  I was told by Corp Communications that they were not wiling to give me full access because the 'powers that be' do not want any outside marketing for the Bank's attempt to encourage employees to ride their bikes to work supporting sustainability.   I won't mention that you were telling me this while sipping coffee from a large styro-foam cup with a plastic lid, one of many that were being offered then thrown away in an effort to be sustainable.  I might add that the environment cannot handle that type of sustainability much longer, I promise. 

Thank you ladies for allowing me to tag along on your Friday morning commute to work.  Please be safe and Ride on!


RK said...

Umm, is there some kinda subliminal Arleigh linking going on in this post?

Billy Fehr said...


spokejunky said...

Good luck and good journey. A bit late now, but this guy's blog may have helped a smidge.

Billy Fehr said...

Thanks Spoke. Have made Miami and am waiting for next and final arrival flight to PAP. Will be off net for 9 days in a few hours.

pam said...

Thanks for the fun post. Glad you could join us and be safe in Haiti.

Jeff Botz said...

I love your truth on the sustainability via styrofoam.