I left work at 5PM. The professional services group was off to an evening hockey game. I said goodbye to fellow engineer Scott Ding, who was returning early tomorrow. I showed off my travel bicycle to the instructor, who despite being a 300+ pound man (with 8 children) was interested in bicycling and had several bicycles, mountain and road.
It's hard to say I'm learning a whole lot from the Weblogic class, since I spent more time on researching deployment containers and fixing bugs — which QA found quite a lot of. Things are starting to gel: I'm fairly certain what direction I want to take my projects at work. It's not certain though, if Autodesk, is a good challenge for myself. Oddly, I like being overwhelmed at times.
I took the Bow River trail east and south. East of the city I passed a number of homeless people loitering on benches and many with heavily laden bicycles parked where they smoked or spoke in packs. The trail curved (without any banking) and went up and down, and numerous walkers or joggers with dogs kept me from getting up to speed like I did the day prior.
Matching my frustrations with snow patches yesterday, today I ended up in mud. The trail was being worked on, and where the main paved path was, was instead a gravelly section leading above the river bed, up 200 feet or so. In my road bicycle, it was a challenge to keep going. And being clipped in meant I would likely fall over if I had to stop. And if it were my old bicycle I wouldn't care, but here I was trashing (again) my $3000 baby.
I went on, the trail wandered further into a few parks. Crossing a suspension (pedestrian) bridge over the Bow River, I ended up in yet another park, this time through a field where dogs were running all over the place. The Bow River trail was closed here. It was closed for vegetation rehabilitation.
I gave up going further and turned around. Just as well, I was hungry at this point. I imagined if this were Thailand I would be only a stone's throw from a snack stand, or if Japan a vending machine. Instead, there were only houses, parks, and industrial sites. A gas pipeline, terminated at (or passing through) a pumping station out-gassed some strong strange organic chemical odors, which did not smell like gasoline or oil. Trains moving around in a rail yard above the trail rattled and banged together. In the distance was a freeway.
The sun was dropped low and was now behind a bank of clouds. I stopped once at a dam on the river, which I suppose was for flood control, but didn't read the signs. There were many signs, warning of drowning, thin ice, currents, etc. Often signs on the trail told me to "dismount" to cross empty residential streets with no cars in sight, which I ignored. Signs around every lake also warned of thin ice: My favorite iconography I spotted was of a hand reaching out of a broken sheet of ice.
In Seattle, every few years when it stays cold, you hear of children stepping on thin ice, but I imagine there are more dying in places like Calgary.
I was getting closer to downtown: There were more bums than when I left. I guess they were getting ready to camp out along the river. Why not? It was forecast to be above freezing tonight. I got back to the hotel famished, changed out of my sweaty bike clothes and headed out for food.