Some things felt right again after I rode to St. Augustine and Daytona Beach from my parents’ house. The cobwebs fell off, so to speak, after days without riding and sunlight.
Today was even better: I did my first long (100K plus) ride on my home turf, if you will. And I did it on Tosca, my fixed gear bike, no less. Because she’s so responsive, about the only thing that hindered me was the wind. But at least I had it with me on most of my way back after pedaling into it on my way out.
It was all but impossible for me not to ride today. Not that I would have tried not to: The sky was brighter than it’s been in a long, long time up this way. Now, some days this winter were clearer—or, at least, some things could be seen more clearly, including the sorts of reflections and images that come to some of us from within.
If you live in a place where winters are long and full of short days, you might know what I mean. Some things are never more striking—or, at least, stark—than they are against an alabaster landscape, bare branches and an ashen sky. It’s sort of like a photographic negative of a chiaroscuro painting.
But today was all light and color. I might be the “extroverted introvert” that someone called me, but even at my most introspective, I can stand a dark night (Is there any other kind?) of the soul for only so long.
Even against the blue, sunny skies, and among the budding flowers and trees, there are still signs of the old season.
And there are signs of other seasons further past: to be more precise, the one of Superstorm Sandy. Dunes are being fortified along the Rockaway shore; there’s even been talk about building a sea wall. I wonder if this is the scaffolding for it.
If it is, it’s certainly wasn’t necessary today. The tide was out everywhere I rode all the way to Point Lookout.
Also, although the air temperature reached 27C (80F) in my neighborhood, it was—or at least felt—about 10C cooler along the shoreline. That’s because the ocean temperature is still only about 7C (45F). It will warm up fairly rapidly during the next two months. But for now, I think there’s more danger of freezing than drowning from that water.
Tomorrow—or, perhaps, later tonight—I will see the effects of the sun and wind on my skin. One good thing about having ridden in Florida the week before last is that, as a result, I remembered to use sunscreen today. Often, I forget it on my first warm-day ride and feel the burning and fatigue the following day, if not that night.
But all in all, this ride lifted my spirits. That’s all I ever wanted, really.