Monday, January 14, 2013

California cold snap

It's been cold in the American West this week. Where I live, a winter cold snap means frost-coated leaves in the morning, ice patches that linger through the day, unobstructed sunshine, azure skies and clear visibility that gives depth to the farthest horizons. So most everywhere else it's cold, but here, it's perfect. 

Beat had quite a bit of Iditarod prep to work on this weekend, including molding a new sled from a sheet of plastic. So I spent a quiet weekend writing and reading ... oh, who am I kidding? There was still a much higher ratio of running and riding. On Saturday, Beat and I got out for a hill climb up Black Mountain, 10.5 miles with 2,800 feet of climbing. Physically there wasn't much notable about this run, but the views were nice.

On Sunday I joined a girls' ride with Leah and Heather, and took the opportunity to wear my new Castelli bike skort. I'm finally starting to part with some of my more ancient active wear (like a pair of Nashbar bike shorts from 2003), and I've noticed that the majority of my sports wardrobe is now comprised of race T-shirts and skirts. Leah noted that I'm probably one of those women who only wears a skirt when I'm splashing around in the mud — and this observation would be true. But I spend significantly more time splashing around in the mud than I do at formal parties, so I might as well prioritize my cute attire (thus the tossing out of saggy-butt bike shorts.)

The temperature was 33 degrees when I left my house and warmed up to the mid-40s by late afternoon. Frost and ice lingered in the shaded canyons throughout the day, so the puffy, hat, and gloves were required for the longer descents. That's right, puffy in the 40s. I'm not nearly as thick-blooded as I'd like to believe.

 We made our way from Leah's apartment in the Mission to Mount Tam, and then worked our way back through the Marin Headlands on a steep and undulating network of fireroads and trails.

 It was a strenuous route but a mellow ride — fifty miles, 6,680 feet of climbing, over 6.5 hours. There was plenty of chatting, laughing, picnicking, and coasting down ribbons of singletrack so smooth and relaxing that they seemed to instantly erase the thousand-foot grunt we'd endured to get there. Some rides are just like that. No epic battles. No lingering pain. Just smiles in the sunlight.

I like to go outside and move through the world. If there's one central trait at the core of my being, it's this. And somedays, maybe most days, this one thing is enough. 


  1. Wish we could bike ride here, but skiing will have to be enough for awhile. Your wardrobe sounds like mine minus the wool and fleece.

  2. I had to pack for a trip where I not only wanted 'cute' bike clothing, but also wanted nice-ish normal clothes. I stood in my closet completely befuddled for a while on that one.

  3. Does Beat not like his sled he ordered?

  4. Beat does like his sled, he just wanted to design a similar model that's long enough that he can sleep on top of it. He hasn't made the long one yet, but he did make an extension for his own sled as well as a similar version out of a heavier material (accidental purchase of too-heavy plastic left him some practice material.) So now I have a new sled, yay!

  5. Seeing these pictures makes me ache for spring and a nice cool summer. Today we have freezing rain and later, just rain. And the skort is way cute.


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