The news media conjure ridiculous monikers for major storms.  Always the term exaggerates the seriousness of the “weather event”; it’s part of the media trend to present their content in ways that play on the pervasive post-9/11 anxiety of the American public.  Terms like “disturbing, ” “upsetting,” “concerned,” “troubled” are so prevalent that I’m fairly sure there are style sheets in many TV and radio newsrooms urging their use whenever possible.  So yesterday/today’s strong nor’easter that dropped anywhere from 20″ to 40″ on the region is being dubbed “Stormageddon.”  Sounds like a space alien or a professional wrestler.  Whatever you call it, we’re seriously snowed in.

So my kid brother sends me a message on Facebook inquiring whether I’ve been out for my bike ride yet today.  Typical sibling joviality.  Staring out at two feet of frozen precipitation, I’m hard-pressed to remember what it’s like to be outside on my bike simply in a jersey and shorts, low socks and shoes, headband and helmet, sunglasses and gloves.  The fabric components of that outfit are practically weightless.  All the material is specially designed to wick away moisture from the body, thus reinforcing the natural cooling effect of evaporation.

To evoke the hot feeling more vividly, here’s a piece I wrote last August, when the worry was too much heat:

Hot / Hot

Yesterday was the first day this summer I have had to set out really early to avoid the heat.  Even then I took more of “my time” than I should have.  I rode Rosebike, and because it is “aggressively geared,” as my stepson Andrew puts it, I ride it pretty much on the bike trail and level road routes, where climbs like Hunter Station Road will not occur.  The idea yesterday was a quick trip to Herndon and back, around 22 miles.  I had forgotten how humid, though cool, it is on these indolent summer mornings, and how shady now that August is with us and the sun stays at a lower angle for longer.  Starting at 8:00 (should have been 7:30), I still had shade along the northwest/southeast oriented W&OD Trail on the way home in most places.  At the end, I was pouring sweat, had lost 4 pounds of mostly water weight, and could savor a job well done at 9:40 am.

Average speed: 16.5 mph!  Yes, this is still my fastest bike, despite the presence of the nice Trek 2.1 in the garage.  The Squadra is a bit lighter than the 2.1, maybe by 1.5 pounds, and it’s got a steel frame, which gives it a bit of flex but not much shock absorption power.  Compared to any bike with carbon forks, this one makes you feel all of the road: bumps, pebbles, cracks, the works.  It has downtube shifters, which add to the intimate relationship among rider, machine, and road.  The crankset is a 52/39, so it’s aggressive all right, and “faster” than I am by far.  The difference between it and the Trek is the 52-tooth big gear, as opposed to the 50 on the Trek.  When you’re hammering, that difference is very discernible.  Hot pink frame, hot machine, hot day.

Hard to believe we were ever in such a state.  But every day the sun rises a little earlier and sets a little later.  Winter, do your worst.  Warm sun will shine again.

©Arnold J. Bradford, 2010

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