January is one of those black and white months in the Northwest, when the skies cloud over most days and occasionally spit rain down on Seattle. Up in the mountains, snow is usually falling, making cycling the second best thing to do in lycra. [Nordic, yo.] Down in the valley, we ride, because racing starts in like two months, which is completely ridiculous, but in any event we ride.
For me, December is a non-starter and January is time to begin the long road back to feeling like I'm someone who should feel OK about carrying on conversations about biking, like this. Each year, the road gets a little longer, like one of those nightmares where the room suddenly stretches to infinity. Against this backdrop, I went out for a spin Sunday.
I still don't have any clear ambitions for the season. At some point, this might be a problem, but I do know that racing is looking good, since my schedule will now allow me to do the weekly training crit, which is better than nothing (and a good tuneup for 'Cross). In any event, nobody was around so I was free to do whatever ride I wanted. My heart said "Samamish Ardennes," a set of 2km-ish climbs along the Samamish River that I have renamed from their inappropriate nordic tags. But when it comes to training, if your every instinct for a program is wrong, then the opposite must be right. So I went for flat tempo.
It was a glorious day, and after an hour or so I officially stopped caring about anything except for the fact that I was out riding. It's weird to have California weather up here. Rain is our lifeblood. Snowpack solves most of our problems for the rest of the year. When the sun shines in winter we appreciate it, for a couple days, but after that most of the people I know, including me, start getting a little antsy. We love the sun (we miss the rain). We appreciate variety (we need the snowpack at normal). We just want to ride our bike (or ski some powder at Crystal).
I am praying for rain/snow, starting tomorrow, but for one day I can say I just enjoyed riding my bike. I enjoyed doing the kind of tempo that I'm actually OK at, as opposed to the climbing that doesn't suit me. I enjoyed the sun, the lightness of my simple layers, and the lack of fenders. I guess I should just go with that. Biking is really just supposed to be fun.
Oh, and the trail was infested with birds. As a chicken owner, I try not to get sucked into the bird world any more than necessary. They're amusing, but there's a lot of unnecessary drama and bullshit. Anyway, I only saw one of these:
And a couple of these (sorry Broerie):
And finally, I saw these guys mentioned on practically every sign:
But for all the attention they're receiving, I didn't see a single actual Seahawk. Apparently they've flown east, of all places. Oh well, maybe next Sunday.
Seahawk flag by Steve Dykes, Getty Images Sport