As we know, I live in the Pacific Northwest. Specifically, Mountlake Terrace, about 15 miles (a 45 minute drive at rush hour) north of Seattle. We in the PNW know that when the Month of November hits it is time to hunker down! November is, bar none the stormiest, and worst weather month of the year. So far, 2017 has lived up to this.
For the stuff I need to do, this presents some serious challenges…First of all, lets talk about the weather so far. Normally, we have to worry about rain and winds. But, this month decided to throw us a loop. Within the first few days of the month, the snow flew while we were at work.
Three days before this, I was riding home from Seattle in my shirt sleeves.
Since then, it has rained almost everyday. Throw in at least two high wind warnings, with trees and branches down all over, including here
November is living up to its reputation!
Now for the challenges.
Many cyclists, including me, have a tradition of riding the number of years they are turning on their birthday. Now this is easy for a 21 year who was born in July. Or even a 31 year old who lives in southern California. But, when your are born in November and turning (GASP) 53, and have to deal with Seattle November… Its tough. I have modified the tradition to be riding the number of miles ANY time in the month, but it’s still hard!
Then there are Christmas lights. Long ago, I promised Michelle that she would have lights on the house and ready to turn on come Thanksgiving. It is MUCH harder to do this in the wind and the rain.
This means, to meet both challenges, one must look for and take advantages of the rare windows with breaks in the weather.
Last night and today, the window happened!!
I got home last night, it was 50 degrees, no rain, and no wind! This time of year, though, the sun sets at 430. Damn another challenge. However, much like our friend Kirsten here, I own a head lamp!
This keeps my hands free and still lets me get stuff done. By 530, the lights were up! BOOM!!
Now the bike ride. Sometimes, the weather gods give a break and we get a nice day in November. Rarer still, this happens on a weekend day. Today was that day!
When that occurs a Seattle cyclist makes the ride happen! I decided to take the opportunity to ride my birthday miles! The Lake Washington Loop called.
I took off at 9, bundled in layers as it was a bit chilly at 45 degrees. As I hit the trail, I could tell many of my cycling friends had the same idea. There were a lot of us out! The above photos were taken as I went south along the west side of the lake. I couldn’t get a photo, but I also got to see a low flying bald eagle!
Given the weather, and other things this month, here it is November 18th, and I have less than 100 miles for the months. Prior to that, it has been a LONG time since I had 50 miles…
I was doing find for the first half, but as I circled point farthest south and started heading north, my legs were letting me know how long it had been! It was a bit of a struggle. As I went north, I started going through the 3 options I have for this route. I was trying to balance the total distance with hills with traffic to make sure I got my full miles without killing the legs… The weather also warmed, which let me shuck a layer of clothing.
I finally decided to go over Junaita Hill (a 2.5 mile climb but traffic is good) and then finish with easy miles along the Burke Gilman trail. I made a quick stop to snap the proof of 53 miles!
At the end it was just over 55. The weather was truly the best November could through, and it felt damn good to get outside and ride! Tradition and promises done!
Like the wind folks!