Is it that this little guy doesn’t know any better, staying in full bloom on a cold wet night in late November, or is it simply more brave, more daring, unwilling to accept as assumed fate?
I salute this Sunflower because it dares to run counter to the norm. It sees opportunity continuing. Perhaps it’s adapting to its environment. Perhaps I see something of myself in this Sunflower. My refusal to see winter as an excuse to hibernate, but rather get out there and continue to ride, despite the cold, despite the wet, despite even the opportunity to actually get in a good workout on an indoor trainer (made tolerable only because you can imagine, using a copious amount of computer hardware and a connection to the internet, that you’re actually riding outside).
We are made to be outdoors. Some of us anyway. Which brings me to that Sunflower. Why can’t our customers be more like that Sunflower? Why do so many either stop or seriously curtail their riding as if they’ve been programmed to since birth, like a plant that can’t possibly survive the winter? Well, if that Sunflower can do it, so can we!
I wasn’t planning on a solo ride today, but Kevin came down with his bi-annual kidney stone gig, putting him in Kaiser ER for most of the day. I was a bit concerned I’d end up missing the worst of the rain as several “orange” cells came over the house and moved on, but I still got to enjoy some fairly significant rain while out riding.
Some would think it’s nuts to look forward to heavy rain & strong winds, but truth is, if you’re going to get wet at all, you might as well go the distance. Light rain makes just as much a mess of your bike as the heavy stuff, and more than once I was thinking yeah, bring it on, I’ve only seen one other guy on a bike out here; everybody else stayed home.
The ride itself was nothing epic, just the usual Tuesday/Thursday ride, done backwards. It took me a while to get into it; about halfway up Old LaHonda before I felt like I had legs. From that point on, it was fun. I even gave brief thought to the original ride plan, heading out to the coast and up Tunitas, but I had gotten off to a pretty late start waiting to see if Kevin would be feeling better, so it was pretty easy to rationalize not heading out quite that far.
I hadn’t thought about doing the ride backward until I started heading back up to Skyline on 84, after descending west-side Old LaHonda. I was thinking, all this rain, that small waterfall at the edge of Skyline in-between Sky Londa and Kings must really be going. And, as you can see in the video at the top of the page, it was.
Descending Kings had me wondering why I waited so long to get a rain bike with disc brakes. The rain & wind should have rattled me, but the predictability of disc brakes makes such a huge difference in handling and sure-footedness that descending and maneuvering in general feels really good. I even checked after the ride to compare my descending time against my normal dry times, but Strava didn’t pick up the start & end points quite right, probably do to cloud cover. Whatever, if you ride no matter what and can spring for a second bike for bad conditions, make sure it’s got disc brakes! –Mike–