Sunday, January 1, 2012

Riding into Another Year

It is sort of a tradition with me. I don’t own it, didn’t invent it, and certainly have not been at it as long as some. But I like to go for a ride on New Year’s Day. My friend Greg invited me to join him and others on a New Year’s day 200Km brevet down in southern California. If we had stayed in California longer I might have taken him up. But we’re here and as it happens, pale yellow sun light is filtering through the oaks out back and lighting up the kitchen on this chilly winter morning.

I’m just about to take my second loaf of Sourdough bread out of the oven. Winter baking warms the house and fills it with that great fresh bread smell. These loaves are heavy, and though I have not cut into them, lately my loaves don’t have the big French bread holes they used to. Oh well, they are giveaway loaves so I probably won’t know what they are like inside.

As I was working up the dough yesterday I got a message from my friend Brian:

Hi Paul,
Happy New Year! It was fun following your California vacation. How did the Solstice ride go? It was cold and foggy on the solstice here. So, are you up to a New Years ride tomorrow?

Brian was up on the top of Mt Si. I replied that It would have to be later in the day as I would be baking early, so we are on for 1:00.

I sent a quick note to John inviting him along. Two guys for a mellow new year’s day ride, two loaves of fresh SD to pass along? It could work.

NOTE: Bright sunlight casting shadows!  
The bread is out and I am well into my second cup of coffee. Brian won’t be here for a coiue hours. This give me time to loaf. It is really quite here, I can just hear the hum of the refrigerator and nothing more. Birds are busy out at the feeder, the jays cause a fuss, scattering the doves and siskins when they bomb in. The juncos and sparrows flit off and are back in a moment, they can’t be bothered with the bluster; they just want to eat.

There was a Coopers Hawk at the feeder yesterday. He sat on the arch above the gate for a bit and then flew off. Unfortunately I didn’t get to see him come in, but given that he didn’t have a warm little body clutched in his talons I will assume that he didn’t get the meal he came for.

I have thought about resolutions this year, but nothing has revealed itself to me. Not a very active approach I know. I have plenty of challenges before me so if I just stay even I’ll take that as a win; still, just staying even does not deliver the sense of accomplishment one would wish to attend to a year’s worth of endeavor. Particularly at my age. I’ve had enough practice that it should be a safe bet that I will be able to take my swings and get a few runs. But then, turning the age-o-meter around and looking through the other end, hitting for average just does not thrill. Clearly I have fewer years ahead than behind me, so there is an urge to excel percolating below the surface. I am not sure what my highlight reel for 2012 will hold but I’d like to have a few more oohs and ahhs than I did at the end of 2011. A mindful approach in the next weeks may lead me to a goal or goals for the next year.

The big horse is ready for a little bike shop TLC, and as we will be riding locally I assume there will be no monster climbs so the Quickbeam will be put in to service. 

I installed that new front rack and bag I picked up at Riv last week.

It was about as easy as expected, only took me twice as long as the average home handy man. I believe this will be imminently practical for this bike, and given that the bag and the bike are both green, it looks as though I actually thought this through in advance.

Time to get ready, I’ll write more after the ride.

Brian showed, John had another ride in the works: prettier girls, fancier bikes, you know how it is when the cool kids have a party on the same day as yours. As I said earlier, if you are a cyclist, new year’s day is probably as good an excuse as any to get out and spin the pedals.

We rode out on Southbank road, my year round off the back porch ride. We were just a couple of old friends caching up while pedaling along.

The day started clear’ish’ and cool. We were expecting rain in the morning and clearing later in the day but the weather man was way off. Sunny enough to cast shadows.

Same planet and all but very different from the riding we did last week.

We paid our dues on the way in with a surprisingly stiff little headwind. And a new year’s ride just would not be complete without a flat. I mentioned that it was a blessing to have a flat on new years day, that way I should be good to go for most of the rest of the year before I get my next flat.

We had homemade soup and coffee after we finished. Funny we were both stiffer than we expected when we got up from the table.

Hope you have a great 2012.

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