And we’ll have fun, fun, fun…

The first club ride of the year! It started on my side of town so I could ride to the meet-up spot. That would only add 13 miles (21 km) to the ride…except that I took a detour on the way home, so the 27 mile (43 km) club ride turned into 47 (75 km) for me.

Some of the stalwarts of the half-fast cycling club made it, including Rollie Fingers; Alfred, Lord Tennyson; and Sirius Black.

The club bought coffee for everyone at a cafe at the halfway point. I’m still not ready for maskless indoor crowds (if that seems extreme, see this), so I skipped the coffee and had a caffeinated Clif Shot Blok or two instead, stopping just long enough to shed some surplus clothes and eat a bar. (I’m a fan of the Clif Nut Butter Bars, which don’t taste like cardboard like the regular Clif Bars, or melt in your pocket like Luna Bars. I still miss Powerbars.)

The spring peepers are out and loud as usual, crocus are blooming and, if I wasn’t mistaken, the roadside grass is beginning to show a bit of green.

The thermometer read 33 degrees as I headed out (0.5 C) and my phone claimed a wind velocity of 1 mph. Silk t-shirt, fleece jersey, and jacket; fleece tights, shoe covers, hat, and full gloves were the order of the day – especially when I realized the wind velocity had a 2 in front of it (21 mph – 34 km/h) and it was a headwind for the first 25 miles (40 km). At the halfway point I was able to lose the shoe covers, the fleece jersey, and switch to fingerless gloves. About ¾ of the way, I ditched the hat. By the time I got home it was a balmy 57 degrees (14 C).

The coots are back

(Sat) I saw a flock of about 100 on the water on the way home from work. I watched a car stop to let two Sandhill Cranes stroll across the street. Despite that fact that it is 34 degrees (1 C) and sleeting (after snowing all morning), I think that means spring is on the way. The loons should be here soon.

The big lake is the only one with ice left. It is shrouded in fog, which means that, when the fog clears, we should see liquid from shore to shore. Right now I can see only to that flock of coots, with the occasional mallard interloper.

(Mon) As I rode across the tracks (living on the “wrong side of the tracks” I was crossing over) I saw a rabbit dash across the road in front of me, in much more of a hurry than I usually see. I followed it (with my eyes) into the park to my right, then looked back left. A fox was loping along in its path, either having given up, or hoping to lull the rabbit into inattention. Ten blocks from the center of town, at 3:30 PM, a fox was acting like this was no big deal.

Urban wildlife here usually means birds; raccoons and opossums at night; foxes furtively making their way along the lakeshore at dawn – but not in broad daylight in the middle of town.

(Sun) I have ruined the last 9 liters of maple sap (what would have been about 225 ml of syrup) by taking my eye off it at the crucial endpoint. A foaming black mass on the stove said “Oops – have fun cleaning that pan.”

(Tues) I heard, then saw, a loon flying overhead on the ride in to work. The lake is now fully liquid. Crews were busy yesterday. The piers and hoists for the university crew coaches’ boats are in the water. The floating docks for the crew’s shells are in the water and this morning, as daylight broke, the water was filled with every 4 and 8 (person boat) the university owns. The rafts of coots were on the move, as they like the same area near shore the crew likes to row on.

I think I saw crocus shoots poking out through the ground. (9)