Wednesday, December 21, 2005

What a difference a day makes!

Mags wrote:

Ah, yes - from time to time riding seems like such a drag. There are days when I really have to force myself onto the bike. But then, then there are those beautiful, clear and calm spring mornings that make it all worthwhile during the winter months.

Yesterday’s ride was a slog. I felt slow and tired.

The weather report last night called for temperatures just below freezing with heavy fog. That always gets my attention because I get nervous riding in dense fog. Motorists do not slow down just because they can’t see. I attached an amber xenon strobe to my messenger bag in order to be more conspicuous. Amber penetrates fog better than red.

But I needn’t have worried. Yes, there was fog this morning, but it was very light. And although it was right around freezing, there was no wind. I’ve been riding the fixed gear again, so the wind can be a factor too.

The ride home was a wonder! A high-pressure dome moved in, pushing off all the clouds and giving us absolutely brilliant sunshine. I went out in the hall and could see the sunlight streaming in through the doors at the east end of the building. It looked marvelous! I was getting excited about the ride home, particularly when I checked the computer weather and discovered a light tailwind would be driving me home, along with temperatures near 50! (We have access to lots of weather information in the shop, one advantage of working for an airline!)

Now, I can’t speak for all big guys, but I know that I feel best when it’s cool. I ride harder and don’t overheat. Once the temperature rises much above 60, I start to suffer. Thermally efficient, you know.

I loaded up and started north. Where yesterday had been cold, overcast, and dreary, and my spirits sagged right along with the weather, today was brilliant, upbeat, and uplifting. There are magical moments on a fixed gear when the bike seems to move of its own volition, without requiring much effort on my part. The tailwind wasn’t a factor as I could see the flags hanging limp on their poles. It was oddly quiet. But the pedals just spun around and around. I felt as if I were running effortlessly atop the bike.

Of course, when you feel like that, you simply have to take the long way home! I figured I could get 10 miles in before sundown, and I did. Even the climb out of the Bird Creek valley seemed easy. It was a magical ride. Sure, my legs are a little sore now, but it was worth it!

Tomorrow’s forecast calls for freezing temperatures overnight, and a high of around 60. I may have another magic day! Let’s hope!


Blogger Coelecanth said...

Last night I was riding home from a Christmas pot-luck, my SO riding beside me.

"What are you doing!?" she asks as I reach over and give her arm a squeeze.

"Uh, well, er..." I had just done it without thinking. "...I'm really enjoying this ride and wanted to let you know."


Moments like these that make the days of slogging into a head wind and near death experiences with car doors all worth it.

Great post, really captured what a good ride feels like.

All the best to you and yours this Christmas.

2:24 PM  

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