#bikehour – 1/18/2015

January 20, 2015

Today’s ride – also on a weekend – saw unusually nice weather for January in KC, and especially relative to the single-digit temperatures we’ve battled recently.

I chose to head out around 10 AM – start temp about 44 degrees – and ride south on Highway 59 to Princeton and back. 17.5 miles round trip. This is a simple out-and-back that I have done many, many times, and it has served varying functions over the years. When I’m IN shape, this serves as a “small ride” on a day when time or other situations don’t allow for more. When I’ve been way OUT of shape – such as lately – this ride always serves as a measuring stick to tell me exactly where I am.

Coming back from an exile into “terrible eating and no exercise land”, where I’ve resided with minimal punctuations of sanity since my mom’s passing, one has to make up one’s mind to just put away the past. Quite often on today’s ride, I experienced regret at making such stupid mistakes and allowing myself to fall so far down the hole once again. When in good shape, a ride like this would be only a couple notches above effortless for me; yet, here I was, working hard. But, you HAVE to put that away. I found that, if you allow past accomplishments to enter your mind at all, then allow it to enter only to ENCOURAGE you – “This, and more, is what you have to look forward to with hard work.” That is constructive and positive. Do not, alternately, allow it to enter to taunt you with a fall from performances of the past. That serves no useful purpose.

Wind was pretty respectable, and growing, from the south/southwest, on today’s ride. This meant fairly hard work on the first half – in which you are generally ascending (gradually – there aren’t any real hills to speak of) – and a much easier time on the second half, descending gradually and with a tailwind.

I’m just now feeling my way around a reasonable winter wardrobe for riding in various ranges of conditions and ride length. To that end, I take mental notes as to what I liked and didn’t like about a given day’s choice. For today, about 44 degrees to start, I rocked the bike shorts and overshorts, pair of 3/4-length white tube socks, with my faux-wool top and yellow reflective “construction worker’s vest”, and my black full-fingered gloves. This outfit worked well for the conditions. When I stopped at the turnaround, I actually felt very slightly warm, but then once I got going again, even with tailwind vs. headwind, it was just right.

After making the final little climb up into Princeton, I turned west onto John Brown Highway to go to the Prairie Spirit trailhead. I knew, of course, that the trailhead is closed for winter; I just chose to take a short break there versus my other usual haunt, the C-store on the east side of the highway. After pausing at the trailhead for a short break, a good drink of water and a couple pictures, it was back on the road for the blistering tailwind return. Knocking down a few miles at 20 mph pace and a few others at 18ish mph, I was back in Ottawa in no time at all. Feeling good to be back on the bike once again.

I stopped again at Subway for lunch. The full sunlight outside felt so good that I decided to take the sandwich to the nearby Kanza Park, where I ate at a bench. Sitting there, the wind still carried a sufficient chill that my hands were getting a little chilly as I ate. Halfway through, I packed it up and headed for home to finish there.

Notable music: Pandora mix station today. Most notable song was GY!BE’s “Gathering Storm” – the song which inspired my custom-made green “Gathering Storm” t-shirts – which was the 2nd song to play after Metallica’s “No Leaf Clover”. Gathering Storm is a monster-length track, so I was well over halfway to Princeton before the next played. I remember Master of Puppets starting as I left Princeton, and Tom Petty’s Learning to Fly coming on near the end of the ride.

It’s pretty awesome how quickly you start to look forward to something like continuing a ride streak. I find myself really looking forward to tomorrow’s outing.

Obligatory selfie at trailhead.

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Many, many times my bike has been propped in exactly this spot, faithfully awaiting its master’s rejuvenation and resumption of some adventure or other.

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The intersection of many memories and motivations in the form of tire tracks traced in gravel.

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