The Ride: Ah, September!

Whenever I talk about DC weather with people who aren’t don’t live here, we inevitably get stuck on the summers:  Why on earth would anyone consciously choose to live in a place where you regularly get temperatures in the upper 90s with 85 percent (or higher) humidity?  What a swamp! 

Yes, DC was built on a swamp,  And yes, there are plenty of summer days feel like you’re sitting inside a dog’s mouth.  But setting aside for a moment the possibility that someone might actually like that feeling (okay, not the dog part, but that intense feeling of heat and humidity — I love it), let’s remember that there are other seasons.  Such as autumn. 

Last week-end the summer heat broke and we’ve settled into that long, gorgeous stretch of mid-Atlantic autumn that will continue roughly unbroken (unless we get a hurricane) until probably sometime in late October or early November.  It’s sunny, daily highs are normally around 80 and the lows in the mid-60s.  It’ll gradually get cooler (sweater weather!) but we’ll never get those drastic temperature swings that characterize mountain autumns; nor are we likely to get any surprise early snowstorms that rip off all the branches because the leaves haven’t had a chance to fall.

It’s perfect weather for riding.  I went out on Saturday intending to do a long-ish ride.  It was a beautiful day, but I just didn’t feel up for a ride.  I was tired and a little moody and just felt sluggish.  The first five miles were drastically slower than my normal average speed, and I was tempted to turn around.  It seemed a shame to waste such a lovely day, though, so I stopped trying to “train” and just went along appreciating the fact that I live in a place where everything is still green and lush in mid-September, and where people value fitness and outdoor recreation enough to provide bike paths and wooded parks throughout the metropolitan area.  Before long I forgot my tiredness, and my sluggishness fell away. 

I ended up having a great ride.  After that slow start, I averaged speeds on par with my best days from earlier in the summer, and over the course of the 55 miles that I rode, I even inadvertently set a couple of new standards for myself:  Without really even trying I did one five-mile stretch in 15 minutes (I’ve done fifteenish before, but this time I was only seconds away from breaking into the 14 minute territory), and my overall average moving speed was 17.5 mph.  Not sure how that compares with other cyclists, but it’s a measurable improvement over my performance earlier this summer — which I guess is all I can ask for, given the fact that I’ve had to squeeze in cycling between work and travel this summer.  Makes me feel good. 

One comment

  1. Anonymous · · Reply

    How nice! Lady


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