Fifty miles today, with 3,800 feet of climbing overall. I'm slowly getting my climbing legs back; it's taking longer than I thought, but slowly the piernas are recalling that they really can scale a 15% wall, on two wheels, in the middle of a six-mile uphill stretch. Mostly they only give snarky commentary like, "Are you joking? We do hope you are joking."
It was CRAZY windy today down in the valley. I mean one of those days when the wind seems to come from every direction, all the time, to batter and bruise you relentlessly. Persistence, cruelty; the winds of the river valley know no limit in these qualities.
'S'why I climbed up into the sheltering hills as quickly as possible -- in fact, the hills of Wendell State Forest, a preserve I hadn't explored enough to this point. There was a long stretch, close to an hour, when I was way up high over the trees, on a dark, smooth ribbon of road, not a sign of civilization, good tunes fueling my climbing legs and the impossibly clean wind gassing up my lungs with each searing gasp. That is a good setting for climbing, with no head-shaking homeowners out weed-whipping their roadside lawn. I like to keep my true, deep, self-inflicted suffering between me and the vast sky. Sometimes it's the only thing big enough to absorb it all.
Two great sightings: Leaning against someone's barn just south of Miller's Falls on Route 63 was a lovely old upright steel tandem. I could tell it's still being used, because it sported a dandy oilcloth handlebar bag, the old-fashioned kind that are so much back in vogue these days with randonneurs. Then, at the end of the ride, as I turned off the main road near our house, I caught something coming the other way out of the corner of my eye. Before I even looked straight at it, I knew it was out of the ordinary. It just felt weird, the speed of its movement and the weird shape and color of the object. It turned out to be one of those recumbents covered with a hard shell; sort of like this one...
... except a) I'm pretty sure it featured only two wheels, and b) it was electric blue. I gave the rider (driver?) a friendly wave, and he waved back. So much for a UFO sighting -- piloted by a human.
All in all, a satisfying Sunday's work.