Perfect day for a ride.
When my buddy RDM found a new winter riding jacket, gloves and booties under his Christmas tree, he suggested we target New Year’s Eve day for a road ride. Absolutely, I said, we’ll just have to see how the weather plays out.
RDM has fully embraced the skinny tires. So much so, he’s riding around on a pretty nifty carbon Cannondale. How he got here is a bit of Kona kismet.
When we bought the condo, I had to severely purge my stable of bikes, as storage room here is in short supply. RDM, looking for a new fitness regime that would be easier on his joints than running and lacrosse, was interested in acquiring my beloved Kona steel frame mountain bike. For an extra 50 buck, I offered to throw in my vintage Italian steel road bike that had been gathering dust on a trainer for a number of years.
He took it on as a project. A bike shop spruced it up and made it road worthy again. RDM was off, going on progressively longer and faster road rides with some buddies. Soon enough, the vintage frame with the old school downtube shifters wasn’t fast enough to keep up. Hence the Cannondale. And the Italian bike is again destined for trainer duty in his basement.
A cold snap settled in around midweek, which around here in the winter means clear skies and dry roads. So we bundled up, oh did we bundle up. Not nearly enough though.
As we pointed our bikes eastward towards the flatlands, there was still an icy sheen in the shaded parts of the roadway. The tips of my gloved fingers tingled from the cold. My cheeks froze. Passing motorists looked at us as if we were crazy.
But once the blood started pumping into the extremities, and we rode into the low December sunshine, we quickly forgot about the cold. Well, maybe not forgot; we just stopped caring.
After all, it was one of those rare perfect west coast days, the air so clear every tree on the distant mountains seemed to stand out sharply from the snow, the sky the same soft blue as the Pittsburgh Penguins’ original jersey. I think even the eagles had to pause to admire their surroundings.
The ride totaled just a nick short of 60 kms. It was my third road ride of December, unprecedented in my cycling annals. It was the perfect way to end the year.
• Movie update: We managed to do achieve some major catching-up over the past couple of day, and the formerly bleak assessment of the year’s movies has improved by two.
Black Swan earns a spot at number three. It’s a dark psychological thriller set in the high-pressure world of ballet, probably the most disturbing movie of the year, with plenty of cringe-worthy moments that actually made me wince. Brilliant performance by Natalie Portman.
The Social Network is right behind at number four. Tight writing and sharp dialogue give this movie about the seemingly snore-inducing development of Facebook a blistering momentum, overcoming the lack of any protagonists worthy of our sympathy.