"Never judge a day by its weather. Sunshine is uplifting; rain, nourishing; wind, exhilarating; snow, cleansing; hail, stimulating. Any weather is better than none."
-- author unknown
This optimistic quote appeared in my inbox this morning, courtesy of Adventure Cycling's Bike Bits newsletter (which anyone who likes bikes should immediately < a href="http://www.adventurecycling.org/bikebits/index.cfm" target="_blank">sign up for</a>, toot sweet!). But it just served to remind me, however, how soft I've gotten after living in San Diego for two years.
Case in point: last night, channel 6's Aloha Taylor warned me that impending rain that was going to hit the county. Now I've ridden in the rain plenty of times. Like the quote above suggests, I find it kind of nourishing. But lately, I'm beginning to think it's not such a good idea in San Diego. The roads get super slick from all the oil that hasn't been washed off and, quite frankly, people out here don't know how to drive in the rain. I'd feel safer riding in a snow storm in Boston.
So I postponed plans to commute to work. This morning I awoke to clouds in the distance. Flipping on the TV, I couldn't find Aloha (who, incidently, named her daughter Taylor. Hmm...Do you think her daughter's full name is Taylor Taylor?), so I listened to Chrissy Russo on channel 5 tell me that the rain wouldn't come until later today. She seemed truly excited by this, bouncing around the set and pointing her legs out in a sort of slow-mo version of Elaine's dance from Seinfeld .
Thanks to Chrissy, I hopped on my bike and headed for the train station. (Chrissy, incidentally, when asked who she'd want to be stranded on a deserted island with, replied "[David Duchovny for obvious reasons | http://www.fox5sandiego.com/pages/anchor_reporter_bios]." What reasons, exactly? His monotone voice or his admitted addiction ? There's a Lost plot thread waiting to happen.)
Fast forward to now. Rain's comin' right? So I made arrangements to get picked up from work at 7:15 by Emmy. I'll stay later, get some work down, stay dry. Well...Chrissy! Aloha! Where's my rain?!? It's bone dry out there. If I get lapped in my next bike race because I skipped a day of riding I'm holding both of you responsible. This was supposed to be Big News! Sigh...it wasn't like this back when Brick Tamland was doing weather.
And now I have to live with the fact that I've turned into a weather riding wuss. Gol-durnit!
Turns out I made a New Year's resolution but didn't realize it until today. After learning that train fares were being increased to $5.50 each way starting on Jan. 1, I decided to commute by bike more. Though I'm a big supporter of public transportation, I'm also a big supporter of going out to dinner more than once a month. Additionally, I also have some bike races I'd like to do, and this would be good training for them.
So last week I rode to work twice. This week, I'm determined to ride in Monday through Thursday. Two days down, two to go. It's still too dark to ride home, though. The trip is about 18 miles on city streets, bike paths, highway and sometimes a dirt service road.
Yes, highway. It must have been a proud day in the San Diego transportation authority's office when they realized there weren't any feasible bike routes connecting Sorrento Valley with the rest of the city and that they'd have to open up the freeway (as they call it here in Cali...take that Fast Lane owners!) to bicycle traffic.
Actually, it's one of the safer sections of my ride. The shoulder is wide enough to give me ample room away from the 70+ mph traffic. This is in stark contrast to some of the other roads I ride on, where cars go the same speed, but there is barely a shoulder to cry on (I'm talking to you, people who work at the Anheuser-Busch Distributor on Santa Fe St. One might think your job was to taste the different batches of beer all day; in which case I'd drive 70 mph to work, too).
One benefit to riding on the freeway allows me to see how fast I can go. With my new Treck ACH bike computer now finally installed, I try to hit 40 coming off the Genesee exit. It's a slight downhill, but I've got to get into the big ring and peddle as hard as I can to reach it.
My bike computer is definitely an upgrade from my old one. In addition to an odometer, speed reading and trip time, I've now got cadence, heart rate (which I have yet to use), temperature, altitude (which I can't quite figure out what it's telling me) and percent grade. It took me over an hour to figure out how to set everything, even though there were directions in about a dozen languages. It had me wondering if, at that same moment, there was a confused Dutch cyclist doing the exact same thing.
Speaking of temperature, my ride started at 6:50 a.m. with a temp of 48 at my house. In Rose Canyon, the temp read 42 degrees, though I imagine the wind chill of going 17 mph made it slightly colder. By the time I hit the office around 8ish, my bike was telling me it was 60 degrees out. (Sorry mom, but today is supposed to hit 82. How's Connecticut?)