Saturday, January 1, 2011

Riding into the New Year

Recently I've taken to riding into the New Year. By that I mean I go for a bike ride on New Year’s Day. It started out as a ‘statement’ about who I am; my Stuart Smalley declaration that “I’m not just a person, I’m a cyclist doggone it!” Along the way, the therapeutic aspects of ‘doing’ as opposed to declaring revealed itself. I’m old enough that proclamations don’t cause the rumble for me they once did. Words impress, but actions are believable.

When I lived in Olympia I used to ride out to the mouth of Budd Inlet to a little place called Boston Harbor. There, a dozen or so locals perform their own version of a polar bear swim on new year’s day. About noon someone counts down and the polar bears throw off their beach towels and dash into the chilly water. They quickly return and wrap their bright pink bodies in those beach towels and then wander back to their surrounding homes, umbrellas’ shielding them from the cold rain. I could never understand the umbrellas. This was oddly affirming for me: Getting up early on New Year ’s Day to ride the empty roads in the rain was not the craziest thing I could be doing.

Last year I rode a 200K permanent from Olympia up to Brinnon and back. A number of people went along, we started together but soon enough I was off the back. That too was therapeutic.  We lived in a little cabin on the beach at Fulton Creek when I was born and that ride takes me right by there.

This year I made another adjustment. I rode a 100K permanent starting in Centralia, a little closer to home than Olympia and Boston Harbor. Mrs C started from home a little later in the day and rode to Centralia.  She had burger at Bill & Beas while she waited for me to finish. 

I had time to do my own personal year in review and then some goal setting for 2011.  It was a little chilly but incredibly sunny.  As you can see, places that remained in the shade, remained frosty.

I like the irony of this shot:

The Mountain stands out in large measure because of the decent air quality in these parts.  The steam plant steams away, sending power downown the lines that mess up the scenic pic of the pristine Mountain.  The long string of coal cars bring fuel (now from Montana and Wyoming) to power the plant, to produce the power, which is slowly degrading the air quality.  

But things are better, or perhaps less worse than they used to be:  That coal from the intermontain west produces less sulphur than the local stuff.

Hope you have a better than average 2011.

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