The defiant month. Winding down by fits and starts, the desperate, thrashing last month of a dying year. It entices, challenges, taunts and dares us, unwilling to go gently and seeming to want to take the unsuspecting into the endless dark with it.
The fish endure in silence. The ice on the pond has gotten so think that I can’t break through it without hammering, strongly discouraged in all the books. I resort to large pans of hot water to melt a couple holes at either end of the pond. The NWS says to expect this through the weekend.
The water temp is in the low 30’s, I’m confident that the pond won’t freeze solid in the next few days, but sheesh, it’s so cold down there for the fish. I may have to spring for that stock tank heater after all, just to keep a hole in the suface for gas exchange.
Then there are the rider reports of last weekend. Lots of riders started, some bailed, some fell and some finished. So far no report of serious injuries. It reminded me of this time a few years ago. It was a cold dark freezing fog morning. Night actually. After I got completely bundled up and rolling away from the house I realized that I needed to reset my computer, no simple task with multiple layers. I slowly drifted to the curb under the nearest streetlight. Just as I was about to unclip and put my foot down, I was on the ground; just like that. I didn’t even have time to get unclipped.
I wasn’t hurt, just a little bruised, and I went on to ride up Hood Canal and back. That same day, 100 miles north my friend Matt went down under similar circumstances. He was not so fortunate. He broke a hip and though the recovery can never be easy his seemed particularly bad. He qualified for PBP ’07 but it was a tortuous process.
So here’s to all those intrepid randos, out on the roads they have come to know so well. I hope all come through this cranky month relatively unscathed and that we can get into a more civil progression of riding circumstances.