The Ride Before the Storm

Today is a national holiday (and anniversary of the second inauguration of President Barack Obama), and the weather was mild at mid-day.  Mild, that is, by mid-January northern Virginia standards.  The average high for the date is 43° in the District of Columbia, and probably a few degrees cooler out this way.  Today the high in Vienna topped out at 52°, but the sun set about an hour ago and it’s already fallen to 43°, to which typically it would have risen.  The holiday is the Monday chosen to celebrate the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., which actually fell on the 16th.

At the same time, we are expecting quite a different scene tomorrow.  The high temperatures will be in the mid-twenties, the wind will be howling at 10 to 15 mph from the NW with gusts, and somewhere between 4 and 7 inches of snow will be falling to the ground.  These weather phenomena will all happen precisely as described, of course, because the professional meteorologists have all predicted they will, and the prognosticators are never in error.

Let it not be said that this area boasts only a few winter cyclists.  Spurred by the free time, the relative balminess, and the dire forecast, they were out in droves today.  On my 24.2-mile ride to Herndon and back on the W&OD, I passed 128 cyclists who were headed in the opposite direction.  I also was passed by (10) and passed (6) riders going my way.  A neat 8:1 ratio.  Many of them had snazzy winter gear (black and white is much in fashion right now) and snazzier bikes (black, often matte, is now fashionable—ugh!), quite a few looking like brand-new Christmas toys.

We were all—knowingly or unknowingly—sons and daughters of Horace, because we were seizing the day, even if the diem we were carpe-ing was not exactly what that playful Roman poet had in mind.  But who knows what might happen if we’re all snowed in at home tomorrow?

©Arnold J. Bradford, 2014.

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