Thoughts While Cycling: Early Winter

  • In the post-Election Day world the traditional W&OD Trail warning to pedestrians—“on the left”—has an especially warming resonance.  And as for Virginia, that old torch song (first sung by Ethel Waters in 1929) says it all: “Am I Blue?  Am I Blue? / Ain’t those tears in Mitt’s eyes telling you?”
  • The weather has been average, if that term means one “averages” out the extreme temperatures.  We went through a record number of consecutive days of below-average temperatures here three or four weeks ago.  Then it got warm again, and five days ago I rode in 71° weather.  Today it was 46° when I left.  “Average” high for the date is 58°.
  • Squeezed by some line stripers the other day.  What they were putting down with their little machine was hot, sparkly-reflective, bright yellow, and fast drying.  I think it’s a sort of paint-plastic compound.  Had to dodge the lines a couple of times as I passed pedestrians in the “fresh paint” zone.  Felt cool about laying that bike right between the stripes with ease.
  • Several weeks ago the repaving of the Trail west of Vienna was completed while we were traveling.  Now practically everything is fairly newly paved and striped from Falls Church to Herndon.  I love the miles where I don’t have to look for potholes, cracks, and dips.
  • The deciduous foliage inbound from Vienna still looks eerily full and green on many trees, despite the mid-November date, our brush with Sandy’s gales, and several gusty days.  I can declare winter to be coming to western Fairfax County, however.  Most of the trees out that way are bare.  We had our first hard freeze in late October—rather early.
  • I am embracing the new seasonal light and temperature patterns, which allow me to ride earlier because the day warms up an hour before it used to.  Of course, I have to be on my toes lest I wait too long to launch out and have to return in the gathering gloom of 4:30 p.m.
  • Not too many Wooly Bear caterpillars on the trail this fall, but plenty of frantically scurrying squirrels, most of whom make their decision to pivot and retreat a fraction of a second before they’d have run under my tires.
  • I have been struggling with a long, persistent cold that has brought intermittent sore eyes and breathing problems over a three-week period.  It was better today, though, and my knees are feeling good, so my cruise through 46-degree air in the sun was refreshing.
  • I got a Boston Red Sox cycling jersey last year, and planned to break it out in midsummer as soon as they rose to second place in the A. L. East.  Then I decided it went on as soon as they rose above .500.  Now I’m holding it for Opening Day 2013.

©Arnold J. Bradford, 2012.

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