After a tough week, I had a great weekend. It was warm enough to get out on my bike, so I did. I layer up, and since it was the first weekend of the "gun hunt season," I wore my bright orange jersey as the top upper layer.
I didn't go far either day, but it felt so good I can barely express it. I think I've figured out that I can ride 10-15 miles or so when it's this cold before my feet start to get miserable and the rest of me follows in short order. (Yes, I have stupid little booties over the toes of my shoes.) I rode 12 miles on Saturday, and the last couple I started getting colder than is fun. So I rode 10 miles today.
I got on this afternoon, and started off on my favorite road south of town. I wrap up pretty well, well enough that I get too warm in the house, but when I get out of my car, the chill hits. My fingers, especially, start off cold, since they're not in gloves while I put on my shoes and get my bike off the rack and such. But once I put on my gloves, the only exposed flesh is my face, and that's partly covered by sunglasses, and partly by the hat under my helmet.
I park in a public pool parking lot; it's never full even on the hottest days, and my car's alone there these days. Then I take off, past a golf course housing development, and then through a traffic circle (roundabout, call it what you will), which I love to play "tour" through, riding almost straight through (assuming there are no cars close), like you see bikers do in races on tv.
I turn south a few blocks later, go over a small bridge (creek), and then up a hill and onto a freeway overpass. I stand to pedal up the hill, as much to get warm as anything. The overpass is weird; I feel all exposed up there on my bike, with huge trucks and stuff speeding by below. Then up and past the gray circular barn, and a mile and a half into my ride, and I'm on a more country road. There's less traffic, and newish big houses with huge yards amongst trees or emptyish lot areas. My hands are warm enough in the gloves that I don't think about them, just about shifting gears occasionally (which is awkward because my gloves are quite a bit longer than my fingers are).
It's about this point that I become really aware of the whir of my tires on the road. When I ride on the white line, my tires make a lot less noise, so I try that on and off.
And somewhere in the whir, the frustrations of the week fade and all I have to think about is pedaling and breathing. Pedaling and breathing. Pedaling and breathing. Sometimes, on flats, I get into a rhythm of breathing and pedaling.
On the way back, I saw some men hanging a deer up in their yard, reminding me that hunters were out. I whirred by kids playing with dogs in a yard both ways, the dogs so focused on fetching the toys that they didn't seem to notice me even. I nodded at folks walking dogs.
But mostly I breathe and pedal and hear my tires whirring on the asphalt.