Continuing with the German weather forecast theme seems fitting, in that our Washington D.C. prognosticators are hopelessly out of touch with the weather’s local language. Yesterday was envisioned to be partly sunny and in the low to mid forties. In fact the sky was leaden, with the exception of some wan sunshine through medium-thin overcast for a couple of hours around noon. The temperature hovered just over 40º. At least there was no wind to speak of.
Still, I rode again, knowing that today’s rain was to be followed by bitter cold and wind again. It’s surprising how much a six degree difference can make, though. One less underlayer, lighter-weight leggings, and fingers that are chilly but never tingling or numb. Being Saturday, there were more riders on the Trail, but they were still the hardy, dedicated ones, along with a smattering of walkers. I passed one who was leading three dogs and pushing a bicycle. I wondered what his game plan was. Would he get them all in sync and then pedal along, hoping they would stay in line like a pack of huskies pulling a sled in the Iditarod? he had one of his yappy little charges on a 20-foot leash, and he seemed indignant when I warned him loudly, and twice, that I was passing on the left. The whole trail is ten feet wide. What was he thinking?
The trail can get mesmerizing on a cloudy, cold day. There’s little movement of object or of light, as there would be with a gleaming sun. A few grey and brown sparrow-sized birds flit through the brush (though I saw blue jays and hawks too). Walkers aren’t talking much. Few dogs around to bark. The whoosh of cold tire rubber on iron-hard asphalt is the loudest noise, except for the rushing air sound that all ear coverings generate. There’s a serenity, a calmness, because I have forsaken all thoughts of speed in favor of a comfortable pace. Not having ridden outside in ten days before these last two, I want to take everything at a moderate tempo. It’s almost like Zen, especially with the hypnotic spin and song of the wheels. One with the machine, free of desire. Near-perfect stillness of soul.
©Arnold J. Bradford, 2010.