Thoughts While Cycling

Weather: Late summer trips to San Diego and Seattle/Eugene have really spoiled me.  Virginia’s stifling summer humidity, which has been hammering us just about non-stop for a couple of months, all of a sudden seems insufferable.  I now have been reminded it’s possible to feel blissfully comfortable when the air temperature is in the mid-80’s, to walk across the street without working up a sweat, to wake to a cool morning even after the thermometer hit 90˚ the afternoon before.  The jet stream has been abnormally absent from our region, so vast masses of hot moist air just sort of drift around.  Right now the stiflingly soggy remnant from tropical storm Isaac is muffling us with Turkish bath air.

Nature report: I saw a box turtle mid-trail this morning.  He tucked his striped head inside his black-and-yellow shell as I zipped past.  Recently I’ve spied two spotted fawns, one with mother and one without.  Before you say “awwwwwww, how cute,” remember that this year’s cutie is next year’s overpopulated garden vandal.

Trail Flora update:  Since my photo shoot a couple of weeks ago things have changed dramatically.  The autumnal Jewel Weed, Goldenrod, and (what I think are) primroses have taken over everywhere.  Morning glory is still hanging on—the wild kind, white with deep magenta centers, and a heart-shaped leaf that leads to its being called “love vine.”  Milkweed abounds, but I have yet to see one Monarch butterfly.  Plenty of Yellow Swallowtails around, though.

Whine of the Week: Brad Wiggins is complaining about how much he disliked riding the Tour de France, which he won, this year.  Too much Twitter, pressure from the press, drug allegations, and so on.  This guy strikes me as being a lot like John McEnroe when he was at the top of his sport, tennis.  Just can’t enjoy what he’s got while he’s got it.  There’s always some bug up his [nose].  Brad, I can assure you that if it’s that much of a burden, Cadel, Tejay, and Chris, among others, would be happy if you just spent next July somewhere else.  And so would a lot of fans, who like to imagine that champions enjoy their rare achievements.

Kid of the week:  On the other hand, there is Alex Rodriguez, sometimes accused of being an indifferent underachiever, who declared yesterday on his return to action after being sidelined from the Yankee lineup for six weeks, “you get the game taken away from you, you sure do feel like a little kid coming back.”  His stock just went up in my portfolio.  Go, A-rod.

A sure sign of fall: Today I rode the 24.1 miles from home to Crestview Drive in Herndon and back without passing or being passed by one single rider going in my direction.  There were perhaps six or seven who passed me going the opposite way.  Contrast this to yesterday, when I was thinking of taking a quick ride before kids and grandkids arrived for playtime and a holiday meal.  Out for early morning groceries, I noticed a line of at least fifteen cyclists waiting on the outbound trail for the light at Maple Ave.  I decided I could wait a day.  Glad I did.

©Arnold J. Bradford, 2012.

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