Saturday, December 17, 2005

It's summer out

Date: Dec. 17
Today's mileage: 32.3
December mileage: 230.8
Top speed: 36 mph
Temperature upon departure: 39

Today's ride was sponsored by Kevin in Wisconsin, and by Eric and Jesse. So much love, so much riding.

Geoff and I dropped off the ridge for a 32-mile loop, squinting against the spray of rain water and grit and watching rogue rays shimmer on the sea. The wind was calm, the water as smooth as glass. And as the sun gained more ground through parting clouds, the summer recreationalists began to emerge from their warm cocoons, blinking against the bright reflection and stumbling into surreal summer wonderland filled with Christmas lights and the gray remnants of melting snow.

It wasn't exceptionally warm today, nor was it exceptionally sunny. But the combined efforts of two weeks of unseasonably warm weather, calm air and a thin but clear window after days of drizzling rain coaxed everybody outside.

We rode along the Spit, drafting a flock of sea birds as they rose from the shoreline - now stripped of all its ice - and coasted lazily toward the sky. The summer recreationalists nodded as we drifted by - the old couple and their swerving mountain bikes; the little dogs with their joggers, bundled up and panting; the roller-skier on skates, planting her poles in the pavement and looking none too happy about it. I saw more cyclists out today than I ever did on any Saturday in September - some looking uncomfortably cold; others looking as if they couldn't believe themselves what they were doing. We just smiled and kept moving. We weren't special today - just part of the flock, two more people who saw a sliver of summer emerge from a six-hour-long day less than a week before solstice. And now I feel so torn. Do I want winter to come back? Do I want global warming to just take this thaw and run with it? Or do I want to just continue no matter what the weather does? So much love, so much riding.