Winter rides at the end of the year are often some of the best rides I have.
A few days ago, I had some time to ride and the weather had warmed up considerably from the cold snap of the last couple of weeks. So I headed out for an afternoon spin. Not knowing where I wanted to go, I headed south for a little while, puttering around the neighborhood, and then turned east. I knew I wanted to try and ride up Rocky Butte at least once, and I had not been there since late last winter. I also had not ridden as much or as hard this year, and I could feel it in my legs. So when I found myself at the base of the hill there was really only one thing to do: go up.
It was harder than I thought, and easier. Harder because I did have to stop and walk my bike a couple of times. Easier because once I got into a groove, I managed to stay on the bike and keep pedaling. I was rewarded at the top with spectacular views, and a brief encounter with an enormous hawk.
This morning, I enjoyed another cold-weather ride, this time with more sun, in and around a great deal of inner N/NE Portland. This was my annual Christmas Morning Ride, a tradition I've maintained since Jr. high school when I realized that I could ride like an idiot on streets that were virtually deserted, and there'd be no one around to stop me. (Well, one year a policemen pulled me over after watching me weave back and forth across four empty lanes on East Burnside in Gresham, Oregon; I was sixteen and he wanted to know why I wasn't home opening Christmas gifts. Once I explained my rationale -- and that I was Jewish -- he let me off with a warning and told me to get my butt home before I froze to death -- it was below freezing that morning.)
As in years past, I enjoyed a mellow ride on nearly-empty streets, hard winter sunshine and dry weather, with a high of around 40F. Home how, and basking in the afterglow of a cold winter ride. May all your rides in 2014 be as satisfying and enjoyable as these.