Sunday, January 25, 2009

Velo News

During January 2008, my bike sat in the corner, unused. January 2009 has been much different. I've ridden 85 miles since the start of the year. Yesterday, I clocked the 1000th mile since moving to Olympia. I expect to be out of town next weekend (*) so the miles so far this month are likely to be it. Even so I'm on target to ride about the same mileage as 2008. Cycling is the only serious, regular cardio-vascular exercise I get. It's a good way to make sure I'm still alive.

Cycling is also a good time to blow the cobwebs out of my head. The act of riding is pretty much rote and navigating traffic is not difficult at all in Olympia so I can float with the universe as I go. I can examine the detail that I would never see from a vehicle. And very often I will figure a way to word an essay or clarify a point about my project at work. All in all, cycling is just a fun way to pass some time and decompress. The exact mileage is never as important as taking the time to get out.

The three day weekend last week gave me the chance to do two short rides. The the air inversion that has lasted ever since was in its first or second day but unlike Phoenix or Seattle, the air wass not brown with pollution so the rides were pleasan. My second ride was particularly strange. I started out riding through the thick fog in downtown Olympia, climbed into lighter fog on the west side, passed through thick, freezing fog before breaking into sunlight at The Evergreen State College. Then the day was sunny and bright. I could see the top of Mt. Ranier sparking in the sun under clear skies above a fog bank covering the lower slopes. As started down the steep hill leading back to downtown, I encountered fog again and found downtown as foggy as before. Climbing back to my place on the east side of town, I could see the fog lightening above me. I've never ridden in fog before. Odd but not at all unpleasant.

Yesterday's ride started in the sunlight which didn't last all that long but the predicted rain held off until much later in the day. The route was a long one and included maybe 10 miles of Chehalis Western Trail. I grow fonder of that route every time I ride it. What's not to like about a paved path completely removed from traffic and built on railroad grades? I managed to cover it in both directions without retracing my route at all. Since I usually travel north to south, heading north for half the distance was a welcome change.

The temperatures for the January rides have been mainly mid to upper 30's. My feet get a bit cold toward the end of long rides and at times I've worn micro fleece gloves under my riding gloves. I haven't had to contend with cold rain yet and think I have a pretty good chance of not riding in any real downpours if I watch the forecasts closely enough. When I started riding last year in February, I was able to find sufficient openings in the wet weather to ride comfortably without fenders. This year I am far better prepared.

(*) Next week I am either going north to help with dogs rescued from Skagit county puppy mills (if they still need volunteers) or west to check out the Washington coast.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello my long ago friend. So glad you are enjoying your rides and your life. Beth Brown

7:45 PM  

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