2017 Riding Diary

Miles to Date in 2017: 68.5

Easter Sunday, 4/16 - Have been down with influenza over the last couple of weeks. Still coughing an awful lot, but strength is slowly seeping back, and the weather is so lovely today I simply must take a ride. (Have taken a couple of short walks in the last week, and they've completely knocked me out. Will be interesting to see what happens when I ride.) It's sunny and warm, first shorts-weather ride of the year. Find when I get on the open road that the wind is rather fierce - 15-25 and gusting - but I start with a tailwind and hope to be well warmed up before turning back into the wind. Leaves are out everywhere and the frogs have begun to sing in the many ponds that appeared after the rain. See lots of new leaves and catkins, blossoming hardwoods, and mysterious cone-like objects on some pussy-willow-covered shrubs - feel I ought to know what the things are but flu brain is obscuring clear thought. Hoping for some wildflowers today but nothing has come up yet - maybe next week. The wind is a beast on the way home but I'm taking things very easy and am content to ride slowly. The cough stays away while I'm riding, but the minute I get off the bike it comes roaring back. Go figure. Better than the other way around, I guess.
11 miles
P.S. Was fine after the ride but paid for it the next day - felt like I'd gone a hundred miles. Flu sucks.

Sunday, 3/19 - The last ride of winter! Calendar winter, that is. I'm lucky to have gotten as many winter rides as I did this year. February's thaw was short-lived - winter came back with a bang (as we knew it must) - but today, after weeks of ice and snow and melting and mud, rinse and repeat, we suddenly find ourselves with a mostly clear day and temps just above 50. Can't let that pass. A sharp icy wind is blowing from the SSE, 15-20 mph, with gusts that make my jacket snap and rattle like a flag in a stiff breeze. Today's ride is short but includes a long gentle climb. Hear chickadees for the first time this year; plenty of blackbirds singing too. Still some ice at the edge of the lake, and a new crop of potholes has appeared on the area roads. Would like to have ridden farther but that frigid wind is discouraging. I just want to get home and inside where it's warm. (Where is the ambition of 2013? Gone with the wind.... ba-dump-bump.)
10.5 miles

Wednesday, 2/22 - Warmer still - in the low 60s today! A full day of crochet design followed up with a late-afternoon ride. Partly cloudy and slightly sticky, wind southwest. See the first blackbird (have been hearing them for a few days though), also some sandhill cranes, and a large flock of turkeys crossing the road just past P's house. Do a bit of climbing today; legs feel good considering an almost total lack of exercise over the winter. Shifters definitely need replacing - not surprising on a 30+ year old bike. Feels great to be out and on the road - am getting used to the warm weather (of course we're forecast for cold, ice, and snow on Friday). A magnificent sunset takes me over the last several miles. Temp drops sharply as the sun nears the horizon. Probably the last ride for a while, but it's been a real treat to have three of them this month.
16.5 miles

Sunday, 2/19 - Second day in a row of our crazy warm weather. Wind has shifted around to the east - a bit chilly but the ambient temp makes up for it. Today's ride is short and leisurely, with plenty of stops for photos. Strange to see all the open water and dry ground hereabouts - hope we get more snow before winter ends. (We need the moisture.) Heard blackbirds, sandhill cranes (!), and what I think was a heron. Signs of an early spring? We'll see.
14.5 miles

Saturday, 2/18 - The first ride of the year - always a mixture of exhilaration and business-as-usual. Exhilaration to be back in the saddle, and business as usual because it feels like no time at all since my last ride in November. Beautiful warm and sunshiny day, amazing clouds in a deep blue sky. Wind west to northwest, maybe 5-7 mph. Trees have been budding out all over the place for a few weeks now (makes me a bit nervous, that) and the geese are already back. The ground is thawing nicely and much of the ice is gone. So strange to be riding in February, but I'm glad for the opportunity.
16 miles

February 2017 - The weather has been slowly warming up, culminating in a weekend of high-50s temps. Even the slackest of hobby cyclists can't resist the chance of a comfortable February ride in Wisconsin, so I'm going to grasp the bike by the handlebars and take full advantage of the weather. And to keep the momentum going, I'm starting this diary RIGHT AWAY.

Here's to good mileage and safe roads in 2017!

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