It is late November. In these parts, the outdoor recreational riding season is usually over by now. This year is not usual.
With the temperature close to 50 (10 C), the sun shining, and Spain leading Costa Rica 3-0, getting out of town suddenly took precedence over watching the second half of a World Cup match (and the next match as well). It was time to get on the road again.
With an errand slightly to the northeast from home, that seemed to be the direction to head. It was a Choose Your Own Adventure day, with a route that made itself known at each major intersection.
When I saw the “Bridge Closed Ahead” sign, I figured I’d have the road to myself. They were serious about the bridge being closed. I had to lift the bike over a barricade, then climb over it myself, repeating that on the other side. It was an Interstate Highway overpass, closed after a truck ran into the abutment a month or so ago, and awaiting major repairs. If 150 pounds of me and bike in motion over it were enough to cause it to collapse, my death would be small potatoes compared to the other problems, so I figured it would hold me. Don’t tell anyone.
I met a lot of cars with trees on roofs and rode past a Christmas tree farm doing a land office business and it wasn’t even Thanksgiving yet. I hope those trees don’t go up in flames after a month drying out in various living rooms.
A ride on a beautiful sunny day seems to be an invitation to a post-ride beer, so I had one with dinner. It was billed as a Breakfast Beer. Anyone who can drink an Imperial Stout for breakfast is a much more serious drinker than I.
Thanksgiving was a day for the age-old tradition of watching football (after the pie was done), but this year it was the real thing, played with feet, not the mis-named US game. Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal became the first man to score in five different World Cup tournaments – not the first person, who was Marta of Brasil. She was followed by Christine Sinclair of Canada in the same 2019 tournament, so Ronaldo’s record may need an asterisk. Then there’s his attempt to claim credit for a teammate’s goal a few days later, when he tried to head in what looked like a crossing pass, but turned into a goal when he missed it by a hair. That said, he’s still one of the greatest of all time.
Black Friday was a day for more football after baking two more pies for another Thanksgiving dinner that couldn’t be beat. The colonies faced the motherland. As the UK is the world home of football, what is otherwise a single nation has four national football teams, two of which (England and Wales) are in the 32 team tournament. While the US may have gained its independence 238 years ago (it “declared” its independence 7 years earlier, but still had to win a war, and the Treaty Of Paris in 1784 made it a sovereign nation), and beat England in two wars, on the football pitch they played to a scoreless tie.
Anything that’s worth doing is worth doing again (or is it?), so on Saturday we assembled the Eastern Division of the half-fast cycling club for another ride. It was still warm. There were calories to burn after two days of eating. The Eastern Division is down to three riders from a dozen or so a few years ago. Bad heart, bad knees, bad back, bad head have limited several friends. The Bad Knees Bears mostly walk these days. We headed out into a brisk headwind with Alfred, Lord Tennyson leading the way. I stayed in the small chain ring all the way to Paoli. We stopped for coffee and grilled cheese sandwiches and returned with the wind, staying in the big ring all the way back. After a shower and laundry the weather app says it’s still 49º (9.5 C). Is it really late November? We saw the last of the area corn being harvested.
Riding home from the library, a red-tailed hawk flew by a few feet off the ground, landing a meter off the bike path to grab a snack. It turned around and took off back along the same path so that I had to brake hard to avoid it as it crossed my path about knee high (or, in my case, mid-wheel). It tried to land atop two different brushed aluminum lampposts, having trouble with its footing while holding a small rodent. It took off again looking for a place to land to eat in peace.