#30 Days of Biking Day 21 – Racing the Storm

It’s been twenty-one days! It has really gone by so fast. It’s getting easier to get myself out the door, my mood and sleep have both improved and my stress (at least as measured by my watch) seems to be going down. My fitness also is on the way up. I can definitely feel that. I’m not getting any faster but my legs don’t make me feel like maybe I should take a day off.

On the other hand, my distances have been shorter and in this last week I want to start changing that – maybe by being more strict with myself about commuting to work and just suck it up when it’s cold instead of relaxing on a bus with a good book.

The last time I rode this regularly, albeit with a few days break here and there, Daegan and I made it from Toronto to Ottawa, Montreal and then down through Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, a bit of New Jersey, over the George Washington Bridge and into Central Park. This month, on the other hand, I’ve gone 331 kilometres. 20% of that tour. To be fair to myself, I’m not on vacation so knocking out 100 kilometres *and* going to work is not something I’ve figured out how to do. Believe me, I’ve tried – the idea of finding a way to go on a long bike tour and telecommute at the same time is incredibly attractive albeit not very practical. I still need that job as intrepid bicycle tourist. So far no job postings for that yet.

On my second day of “If you think it, ride it.” which coincided with a work day I did a short ride on one of my favourite loops. The Evergreen Brickworks used to be a quarry and brick factory many years back. Now, though, it’s been restored. The quarry is filled in with water and marsh plants, the buildings with art galleries and businesses. On weekends a farmers market happens where you can get local produce and delicious treats.

I head outside and the wind is still there though a bit lighter. The skies are grey and a little threatening. It was raining earlier in the day and promises to rain again later. This is my window to stay dry. In my optimism I’m wearing no rain gear, just shorts and a jersey. I do bring lights, though. It’s closing in on sunset and because of the cloudy weather everyone has their headlights on – and so I turn mine on also. When I head off down the road I’m not disappointed. It’s warm enough to be comfortable and soon I’m down in the park again.

The weather seems to have everyone confused. Though today was rainy earlier, it’s warm and dry now but folks are having none of it. The trails are almost empty and with the wind at my back I zoom down to the brickworks. I’m really surprised to see so few people here. The brickworks is on a major road and has lots of parking. While some might think it risky to get out for a bike ride, it’s a short walk from the park to your car if the rain starts. I appreciate having the place to myself again, though.

I stop for a few minutes to appreciate the space. It’s beautiful as always, and I notice something really welcome: the birds are back and they’re as happy as I am at spring’s (alleged) arrival.

Also you can even see a few leaves coming in on some of the trees. Another few weeks and it’ll look gorgeous. And a few weeks after that the weather will be too.

My usual route goes up the Beltline trail – a former railway used for passengers within the city many years ago. Now the rails have been removed and the space turned over for cyclists and pedestrians to enjoy.

As you can see, there’s a bit of water on the trail – left over from the rain earlier in the day.

When I get to what is usually the end, I notice that an additional bit has finally opened that had been under construction for some time. This brings me back on to my new “western connector” route through Leaside.

When I come out of the trees I can feel the wind is picking up and getting more blustery. As I get closer to home the skies start to darken, and I wonder if I will be dry when I get home.

Fortunately, it’s only about a 15 minute ride home from here. Even if it starts raining now it is manageable. But luck is on my side and I arrive home before the rain starts a few minutes after I get in. A few hours after that thunder and lightning come in. By the time I am back outside at 5:30 AM for my volunteer shift, there’s a steady light rain and the city is soaked. But I’m glad for it. The trees and flowers will be glad and if we get a bit more warm weather it should soon be looking gorgeous for my longer spring rides.

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