A mid winter’s ride

I woke up a couple of days ago, and noticed it was February. I have NO idea where the hell January went so quickly. It seems like just yesterday it was New Years. Work and weather combined to make this one helluva busy month, It was also very stingy on miles. I ended ups with only 235 for January. Over 100 less than the year before.

I can tell I am going to have a challenge this year: To not beat myself for not making the same miles from last year. Last year was a fluke and a record. I will get plenty of miles this year, but it doesn’t need to be as much as last year.

That being said, I wanted to kick off February well…

I was hoping to do a 70 mile route this weekend. Sadly, earlier in the week, both today and tomorrow were forecasted for rain. SUCK! Lord knows I have ridden in the rain before.

But it’s not my favorite thing…

I like to let Michelle know as soon as I can what day I am going to ride, this way we can plan the rest of the weekend. I dithered though, as both days looked crappy..

However, on Thursday, the forecast changed! There was still rain for Sunday, but now Saturday changed to showers!

What’s the difference you ask? Well rain means steady non stop wetness; showers mean there is at least a chance it might stop at times. Saturday was the ride day!

So this morning came, and I was ready to go… The bike wasn’t. After 18,000 miles, the rear fender had gone wonky, in fact it kept me from riding to work on Monday. I thought I had gotten it taken care of, but today there were issues again. I made the executive decision to just take the damn thing off! 15 minutes later, I was ready to go!

Earlier I had made the Starbucks run, and it didn’t seem too bad out there. So I took off with a windbreaker and a light rain shell on top. As I took off, I hit head wind AND driving misting rain… After 1/2 a mile I turned around, went back home, and grabbed an extra layer and a heavier rain coat! It was gonna be a cold wet ride.

I was going to ride the Lake Washington loop, my go to for a local long ride.


I add in Woodinville for extra miles.

It starts by taking me south along the Burke Gilman trail. The squall had stopped by the time I hit the trail, so I had a chance to dry out a bit. As I headed south, I could hear some VERY agitated crows. They were mad! Quite often, on my rides near a big body of water, this is an indication that a bald eagle may be close by.

Sure enough, I rounded the corner, and saw this Juvenile high up in a tree!

Bald Eagles don’t get the trademark white head and white tail for about 5 years. But I will tell you, when you see one, and how big they are, there in no mistaking what you are looking at! He was nice enough to pose a bit for me!

After that, it was a wet and dry ride. The misting rain would stop long enough for me to dry some and warm up a bit, then change to that same annoying misting rain again to get me wet all over again. I stopped along the lake to take this shot to show the weather of the day.

Oh and this one too!

 Yeah it was seriously damp out there!

Funny though, I think a lot of my cycling buddies had the same idea I did. There were quite a few riders doing the same loop I was. All trying to sneak in a ‘less wet’ ride over the weekend.

I did my best to keep going, and fight the wind out of the south. I was seriously looking forward to rounding the corner at the Renton airport, and then head north again! Sure enough, as soon as I did, the day seemed decidedly warmer and less wet. I started making much better time!

As the route heads north, you pass the VMAC, home to the Seahawks (Sigh, 4 years ago we were Super Bowl champs (this is an OLD photo on a MUCH nicer day!))

North of here you cycle on a series of bike paths and back roads. It’s a little close to I405 so its noisy, but after the busy traffic in Renton its nice. Near the end of the path, I heard water, where I hadn’t remembered hearing a stream before.

Sure enough, off to my left, in an area I guess I am usually looking forward, I found this!

Not too long ago, I did a post about paying attention to the world around you and finding beauty. I made sure to stop and take this photo for that exact reason! By the way, that train trestle is part of the old dinner train that ran from Renton to Woodinville in the 90s. I noticed today it is being converted into a bike path!! That will be a great route.

I wanted 70 miles today, but with the rain and cold, and the fact I missed the turn off to Issaquah, I knew it wasn’t going to happen. I flat couldn’t convince myself to turn around and go into the headwind again to go back.

I just kept my legs cranking and the bike heading forward. I could tell, as I hit 50 miles, I was starting to feel the ride. Its been quite a while since I’ve ridden that far. In fact, looking back, it was exactly 60 days ago! Yeah my legs were feeling it! I stopped at 7/11 for a snack and was back on the road.

The loop puts me back on the Burke Gilman trail, before the 4 mile uphill to my house. I was still moving, but the winds had shifted and were coming at me again, and I was starting to get cold Then I saw 2 more eagles in a tree.

I broke my own rule.

I was 5 miles from home, hungry and tired. I nodded to the eagles, but just kept going. It was time to be done, so no photos this time…

The climb took a while, but when I got home, I looked at the odometer and I had gone 65 miles! As far as I am concerned, that is close enough to 70 on a day like today!

Better yet, Michelle had a HUGE plate of pasta, and a gatorade waiting for me! OK, maybe it was a platter… I downed it all!! To top it off, I had a list of errands and chores I had planned to do when I got home. She already had them ALL done!!! Reason 2365 that I love her!

As I sit here and type this, the rain has been coming down steady for about 3 hours. Looks like I got lucky today! Sometimes you just have to suck it up, and brave the elements! But then I have always said that Pacific Northwest Cyclists are among the toughest!

I am looking forward to sleeping in and NOT getting wet tomorrow though!

Like the wind folks!

4 thoughts on “A mid winter’s ride

  1. OK, Tony, here comes another lecture (from me, the Old Lady). Really, Tony, in January? You think you have to ride an exorbitant number of miles in the rainiest month of the year? How about adjusting your (unreasonable) expectations? How about thirty fewer miles but you did a good deed each day for thirty days? How about that, huh? huh? huh? How about thirty fewer miles but you cooked a new recipe, watched a documentary, phoned an elderly relative, said encouraging things to your kids, etc. etc. etc.

  2. “A Midwinter’s Ride.” Sounds like a Shakespearean tale on two wheels!

    I am impressed, kid, that you ride for pleasure year-round. I haven’t pedaled since…October. You are a bad ass!

    Love the photo of the trestle. Thank you for that!

    1. After I wrote it I had that same thought, but it shoulda been a “Mid summers Day ride”

      I don’t know if you read the comment before, but I might do another literary title, “A tale of two comments” The one before you was giving me a lecture about riding in the rain, and you call me a bad ass!!

      I do like winter rides, and I love to eat, so I need the miles! Trestle was very cool!

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