The last ride of 2020

I’d been hoping for a couple of weeks that the weather on New Year’s Eve would be good for a last outdoor ride for the year. Fortunately, it was sunny and around 30°F at noon, so off I went. Originally, I was hoping to hit exactly 20.20 miles today, but I realized I’d probably have to ride up and down my block several times at the end of the ride to make that happen, so instead I decided to ride at least 20.20 miles, which I did:

The “four cemeteries” are Woodlawn Cemetery in Marine City; Hillside Cemetery in St. Clair; Rose Hill Cemetery in East China Township; and Holy Cross Cemetery, also in Marine City.

That took my mileage total for 2020 to 1,959.12 miles over 144 rides. I was on the bike for a total of 6 days, 3 hours, and 23 minutes. I didn’t quite make it to 2,000 miles, but considering I didn’t start until Memorial Day, I’m happy with that. It also broke my old annual record of 1,043.88 miles (set in 2015) by over 915 miles, or nearly double the old mark.

If I add my walking distance of 82.44 miles (I mostly walk once a week to give my back a break on the bike), I did move over 2,000 miles in 2020 (2,041.56 to be exact).

It starts over tomorrow. It looks like as long as I get out before noon, I can start 2021 with an outdoor ride. Otherwise, I’ll be cycling through the magical virtual roads of Zwift. Ride on!

Breaking records (updated)

During the warmer weather, I plan my cycling routes based on the wind direction, trying to minimize headwinds by putting tree lines or other obstacles on the side the wind is blowing from.

Now that it’s colder out, I’ve been mostly riding indoors (though the eight days from November 3-10 were beautiful so I rode outdoors nearly every day for a total of 92 miles). Checking this week’s forecast, I see that we might get into the 60s on Friday… hopefully I can get outside again.

Wahoo Kickr
Wahoo Kickr bike trainer

My new Wahoo Kickr, along with Zwift, is a lot of fun, though, and I probably work harder riding indoors than I would normally outside. I’m already starting to recognize names in the Zwift world. So far everyone is very supportive and it’s definitely nice to still be able to get a 45 minute to an hour ride in.

I’d never ridden indoors or outdoors during November before this year. Last month, I posted my mileage records for each month, according to Strava, which I’ve been using since 2014. Here’s the updated chart:

MonthMileage recordYear
January672018
February2532018
March0
April852017
May1562017
June3592015
July3722020
August3002020
September3232020
October 216.72020
November154.82020
December0

I started riding this year around Memorial Day and my 2020 total is now 1,612.2 miles (2,594.6 km), with a total of 125 hours and 9 minutes in the saddle over 115 rides.

Including indoor miles, 2000 for the year is still possible.

A lovely day for an election

I took today off from work. I’ve tried to stay offline as much as possible, because the overload of election news might make my head explode. I will watch the results – however preliminary they are – this evening. But during the day I’ve been avoiding the election, with one significant exception, of course.

I’ve moved my regular road bike (my six-year-old Trek 7.2 FX) indoors onto a new smart trainer, but I want to be able to ride outside when the weather permits this late fall and into the winter. Today is a beautiful day in southeastern Michigan with a temperature around 50F and clear, sunny skies, so I thought today would be a good day to get my old Schwinn Frontier mountain bike ready and ride it to the polls. It didn’t take much work, it’s been inside most of the last few years so the tires are good, just needed some air. A little chain lubricant and a check of the brakes and it was good to go.

So I rode off to vote. In Marine City, voting takes place at the fire hall, which is about a mile away. When I arrived, I was surprised to see a line outside of the building at about 10:30 a.m. Not completely surprised, because voter engagement in this election is amazingly high, but somewhat surprised because in 25 years of living here, I’ve never seen a line to vote. Maybe a short line inside, one or two people, but nothing like this.

I locked my bike and joined the line. People were very friendly, even the folks who were complaining about Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, the masks they were having to wear, and the “overreaction” to the coronavirus, which is, after all, “just a mild sinus infection.” The woman in front of me in line was wearing medical scrubs and she never turned around but just shook her head slowly as the infectious disease experts around us continued to explain how COVID isn’t serious, despite two of them knowing someone who’d gotten very ill from it, including one person on a ventilator, and that they didn’t want to get it themselves.

Voting itself was quick and efficient. Kudos to the poll workers, who seemed to be very prepared for today’s vote, as they always are. That’s one of the reassuring things for me: even though the city and township clerks who actually run America’s elections may lean toward a political party or have conservative or liberal beliefs, in the end nearly all of them will run an honest election with no tricks, despite pressure from the national and state party organizations to do so. When they say “all politics is local,” this is a manifestation of that. These people live in the towns they serve, and if something goes wrong, they’ll have to face their neighbors for years afterward. So I’m not worried about widespread nonsense at the polls.

After voting, I got back on the Schwinn and took it on a longer test ride around town, logging just over ten miles on it. It still has a nice ride. I put slicker tires on it a few years ago, replacing the nubby mountain bike tires, so it moves along pretty well despite having a fairly heavy frame. I suppose it helps that I’m putting about 40 or 50 fewer pounds on that frame.

Take a deep breath and try to relax if you can. Whether you voted early or in-person, it’s out of our control now. We’ve done what we needed to do; next it’s up to the counters to do their jobs.

An unexpectedly nice ride on an unseasonably warm day

Had a great ride today on my bike. I didn’t expect to get another nice, warm day to ride outside, but today was in the low 70s and sunny through the ride. Storms came through later and it’s supposed to get chilly again tonight, but for one October Friday, it was summer again.

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Breaking records

Rode 11.95 miles late yesterday afternoon, and it was nice to be able to wear short sleeves and bike shorts again after a few days of insulated gear. Looks like the next few days will be pleasant and unseasonably warm as well so I should be able to get some nice outdoor rides in.

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