2021 Riding Diary

My 2021 riding season ended rather abruptly in early June, when, at the end of an afternoon ride, a dog ran onto the road and hit my front wheel, taking my bike down hard and me with it. My pelvis was broken in two places, and my spine was fractured. I spent the summer on crutches, and during that time my dad became very sick. Just after I started physical therapy, he died. I finally made it back onto the bike in October 2021, but had no heart to blog about it.

2022 wasn't much better; I lost my dear sister to cancer just six months after my dad's death. I did ride in 2022, but there was little joy in it. I hope for better things in 2023.

Monday, May 24
 - After nearly a week of rain (the one dry day was spent running errands in the Big City, now that we've reached Full Potency on our vaccinations), am finally able to get on the bike again. The cool, cloudy morning has unexpectedly turned sunny, hot, and sticky, with a damp and gusty southerly wind. Decide to head south for a change to D road. Asparagus still on, though mostly gone to seed (still find a good handful to take home). Dame's rocket is profuse and stunning; pass plenty of mixed stands of purple, pale pink, and white, and find a couple of plants with nearly maroon flowers. Also see some clumps of wild geranium, and a hawk sharing a telephone wire with a noisy blackbird. Great tailwind on the way home. Lots more rain and thunder in this week's forecast; who knows when the next ride will be?
19 miles; 228.4 miles YTD

Monday, May 17 - Short afternoon ride to meet Mr. M on his way home from work. Low 70s, partly cloudy, wind south 10-17 mph. Detoured on my way out to see if balsam groundsel was blooming yet on B road (since everything seems to be two weeks early this year), but found only buds. After meeting Mr. M, went up a gear so as not to slow him down, and he complimented my pace and rpm. :) No photos.
10.4 miles; 209.4 miles YTD

Sunday, May 16 - Take a leisurely ride to hunt for asparagus and see what's blooming this week. It's partly cloudy and mostly warm. Am surprised to see dame's rocket out in force (the purple stuff in the background of the photo above) - it doesn't usually bloom like this until the end of May/beginning of June. Also see winter cress, chokecherry blossom, several huge patches of leafy spurge; fringed puccoon and field pussytoes on G hill, and golden Alexanders in the usual spot on P road. At the edge of the woods on R road I find early meadow rue, some ferns with nearly black leaves at their tops, and a fascinating plant I can't identify, with large umbrella-shaped leaves (later find that they're Mayapple). Also see a couple of very large, very furry pigs, and two small flocks of turkey along the way. Asparagus seems a bit sparse this year, but I end up with a pocketful, which we enjoy roasted with our supper Sunday night.
21 miles; 199 miles YTD

Thursday, May 13 
- Ride to work again; much warmer today! And my camera battery is charged. :)  See a pair of sandhill cranes, one of which is dancing around the other in what I can only assume is a courtship ritual. (Thought they would have all mated by now, but don't really know.) Spot the first salsify and wild asparagus on the way in. Hardly any wildflowers yet on the river trail (just winter cress). On the way home am able to get photos of the lilac and honeysuckle seen Tuesday. Both smell amazing.
18.9 miles; 178 miles YTD

Tuesday, May 11 - Ride to work for the first time since March. No photos as my camera battery has died (darn it). Icy north wind makes it chilly and cold both ways, despite a forecast for highs in the upper 50s. I'll be so glad to stop needing tights and a jacket on rides. On the way home, pass a long stretch of alternating lilac and red honeysuckle bushes, all in furious bloom. So gorgeous. Hope I can get photos before the blossoms disappear.
18.9 miles; 159.1 miles YTD

Sunday, May 2 - Still hot and windy. Find another new-to-me wild plum, and learn that plum trees have thorns (or something very like it). Greek valerian now in full bloom. The wild apple trees up the road from P's house are one huge mass of white blossom, with bees zooming happily in and out and all around. A mile on, around the corner, is a bank covered with white violets (and I feared the violets were going to be skimpy this year!). So many beautiful flowers. Also snap a photo of a particular bright red outbuilding that I've often passed but never photographed until now. (Later in the week, I get the sad news that a blogging friend has unexpectedly died, and today's photos seem perfect for a blog post to honor her memory. She always loved flowers and her own bright red barn. Rest in peace, Teresa.)
17 miles; 140.2 miles YTD

Saturday, May 1 - May has started out hot and very windy. I'm loving the heat but sorry that the dry wind has blown away much of the serviceberry and wild plum blossom. Today I see winter cress, garlic mustard, more wild apple blossom, and violets. No photos uploaded from this ride.
9 miles; 123.2 miles YTD

Monday, April 25 - Another week off the bike due to unfavorable weather forecasts, but today is sunny with no threat of rain. Am thrilled to spot the first serviceberry blossoms and find a new (to me) wild plum  tree covered with flowers - love that scent. The Greek valerian is opening up, and apple blossom is appearing. Bring on the wildflowers!
11 miles; 114.2 miles YTD

Monday, April 18 - Cloudy and chilly. Spot some early violets and see buds of Greek valerian (everything seems to be two weeks early this year). Happy to be able to ride, but really longing for warmer weather.
11 miles; 103.2 miles YTD

Friday, April 16
 - Weather and family commitments mean I've missed out on riding the last week and a half, so it's good to get out on the bike today. Skies are deep blue and beautiful. Marsh marigolds are blooming already (!) in the usual spot. Such a treat to see them; apart from dandelions they're the first wildflower spotted this year.
9 miles; 92.2 miles YTD

Monday, April 5 - A bright clear day, beautifully springlike. Find a large patch of scilla on a steep bank and try to get decent photos (why do they all seem to be facing downhill and away from me?). See sheep and lambs at the F farm, all enjoying the sun as much as I am. Just down the road stop for photos of pale-green catkins (wish I knew what shrub this was).
15.8 miles; 83.2 miles YTD

Saturday, April 3
 - Sunny and pleasant. Rode west and south, with a stop at the lake for Tallulah photos. Saw shelf fungus on a tree, vivid green algae on a stream, and a couple on fat tire e-bikes (very rare around here!).
13 miles; 67.4 miles YTD

Monday and Friday, March 29 and April 2 - Two short rides to the park to check for loons. Exceedingly windy both times! No photos worth posting.
5 miles; 54.4 miles YTD

Sunday, March 20 - Sunny and windy. Crossed paths with another cyclist twice (in fact I think it was the same rider). Both times I waved and/or said hello; no response from other cyclist. Ah well.
14.7 miles today; 49.4 miles YTD

Tuesday, 3/9 - Today is the last warm day of this March heat wave; tomorrow the temps will drop back down towards freezing. I'm taking advantage of the weather to ride to work. It's sunny and cool, but the wind is almost non-existent (on the morning half of the ride at least). When I reach the river trail, the marshes and backwaters are still frozen, but farther along I see some open water. Red-wing blackbirds are singing everywhere, and wild geese couples are hanging out on the ice. Brrr! When I wheel my bike into the store, my boss and co-worker call out, "It's spring! Sue's on her bike!" :) The ride home is much windier, with gusts up to 30 mph. It's a relief to get off the river trail and turn away from the wind. I just squeak across the railroad tracks in the short gap between two long trains. Whew! I hear sandhill cranes on the way home, but can't see them.
18.9 miles today; 34.7 miles YTD

Monday, 3/8 - It's been a few years since I kept a riding diary (instead I kept track of mileage in my photo files). Time to resurrect the practice! Today was the first ride of the year - mid 50s, cool northwest breeze, sunny, and wonderful. There's still plenty of snow on the ground but it's shrinking fast. Rode a mildly hilly route and felt good on the climbs. Along the way I saw sheep, geese (domestic), lots of blackbirds, and a row of pigeons on a barn roof. Also heard lots of birdsong, most notably black-capped chickadees. Running through my head was "Here Comes the Sun". It's been a long, cold, lonely winter indeed. So glad to be back on the road. 15.8 miles today and YTD