Monday, February 27, 2012

7th Ave Tunnel Update: Burst of Maximal Effort

Almost done...

In a comment on my previous update on the 7th Ave bike/ped tunnel project, I guestimated a completion date of Feb 29. I think I was close, so very close. It looks like the constructors are in the home stretch now, with not much visible left to do.

A glimpse of the nice texture work on the walls

The long tunnel run-out on the west side
I'm not sure why the run-out on the west side of the tunnel is so long. The canal curves here, so the length ends up looking like it is related, either in a positive or negative way, to the problem of blasting down the incline and not being able to see if anyone else is coming the other way in the tunnel. Won't know which way it plays until I actually ride it though.

Sunday was just a glorious day to be out riding on a bicycle, as you can see in the photos, and many other cyclists were out enjoying the 81F clear, sunny day.

Canal carp, too

In some places the canal water level is lower, probably with a clean-up coming, so the weed-munching white amur carp were more visible swimming in the shallow water. Man, some of those are big fish. Wiley, too, for when I stopped at the canal bank to grab a photo of the ones pausing near the surface, they saw me standing there, and swam away. I saw much more dramatic views of them, but this is about the best photo I could grab, which barely captures it. Also, I lacked an appropriate polarizing filter. Next time I may improvise with the sunglasses. They were swimming in groups, with some individuals larger than this one, but they were too fast for me this day.

Riding back along the canal, there's a mile long stretch where I like to exert a maximal effort sometimes, to feel the burn, to push the limits, near the end of the ride. I usually ride very slowly just before the start of the mile, but today a woman of unearthly beauty, fitness, and speed was running just at the start, so I didn't slow down, and instead just poured on the coal. Men are silly sometimes, aren't we? My legs were already burning halfway in, and I knew that I had started off too intense, and thoughts of easing up and not finishing out the mile came into my head. I dislike those thoughts immensely, however. They are losing thoughts, defeatist thoughts, quitter thoughts of the little no voice.

I redoubled my efforts. I thought of the runner of unearthly beauty, fitness, and speed, visualized her running beside the water in the bright sunshine. To be able to exert a burst of maximal effort, and carry it all the way through to the end of the mile is a kind of affirmation of being alive for me. By the time I crossed the line, and you know there's a line, I was breathing heavy and feeling not much left in my muscles, but also feeling a sense of not having given up, affirming that we can do things and finish things when we push ourselves a little harder than we might feel like doing in one moment, finding in the next that we can, we do, we have, we must. Sometimes it's the small things that make the big difference, whether a tunnel built for pedestrians and cyclists beneath a busy street along a pleasant canal path, or a burst of maximal effort inspired to overcome that negative little no voice by the sight of beauty in affirmation of being alive. Perhaps it is Spring, in the air, which sets us afire, and on occasion causes us to ride fast, to feel alive.



  1. Makes me want to go fishing.

  2. Is this tunnel going under 7th Avenue where it intersects the Grand Canal in Melrose, or the Arizona Canal up in Sunnyslope? Both are places where some sort of protected crossing for bicyclists and pedestrians would be helpful.

    1. Sunnyslope, along the ACDC. It's been in the works for several months.

  3. Is it legal to fish there?

    Ahhh, you men are all alike. A pretty woman will get you going every time. My hub is the same way.

    1. Dan and anniebikes, no, fishing for the amur carp in the canal is not OK, although many people do. I wonder what they use for bait--weed balls? Grass clippings? They are supposedly very tasty. Never tried one from here, although I did eat a couple from the actual Amur River, when I was in Harbin, and they were indeed yummy.

  4. I sure hope they've figure out how to keep that canal from filling up that tunnel!


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