Wednesday, December 13, 2006

And Twenty More

A steady rain was just starting as I headed out on the fixed gear. The thermometer read 35 degrees.

I've been in worse.

At 35 degrees, nothing would be freezing on the pavement. What more can you ask?

Two sunny afternoons had passed with me at work, unable to take advantage of them. The mornings had been icy. Other events had encroached on the evening.

With all clothing zipped tight and my glasses already starting to fog I turned toward one of my familiar routes. Conditions outside drove me inside, where I lay back against the couch cushions of my brain and squinted out through my eyeballs like I was watching a television with poor reception. My legs chilled, then warmed, then chilled again as the rain soaked my tights, then my blood warmed, then the water gained the advantage.

My leaky old shoe covers presented only token resistance.

On a day like this you calculate the ride carefully. I probably should have folded the loop so the farthest point of the ride would be closer to home, but the terrain is basically flat on the route I chose today. You just don't want to get way out on the back side of the Moon and have hypothermia set in. Been there, done that. I don't like to ask for rescue. My problems should not be anyone else's problems.

The only problem I had today was that squirrels kept leaping at me because I was the biggest nut they'd ever seen.

The warming irony that propelled me was that my employers had imposed a new schedule on me two or three weeks earlier than necessary. On my old schedule I would have had the two nice days to ride and been back at work in this swill.

Strangely, when I reached the dirt section of Huntress Bridge Road, it was shiny and wet. The bike slithered because the saturated dirt had frozen during the cold snap and never thawed out. Today's rain just lubricated the surface. I angled shallowly over to the dull sand at the edge. As long as the tires scrunched I knew I was all right. Silence is a bad sign.

The next section of dirt, on LoonLake Road, had only skinny frozen strips between wide margins of sand.

Tomorrow is supposed to be much nicer for riding. That's freaky for this time of year, and economically ominous, but at least I'll get a ride.

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