Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Bike Ride Today

There's a pretty serious wildfire very close to my house. A pre-evacuation warning has been issued, though I don't think it's anything beyond cautionary. Last night, the winds finally died down and stayed calm until about 10 am this morning. The smoke is nonexistent compared to the past few days and I can breathe again!

Last night I took my youngest daughter to Tucson to stay with her grandparents for a few days. The smoke was really bothering her and she was a little freaked out. It was visually impressive, blocking out the sun and turning the sky red, black and white ash falling like snow. At night the moon was red and the mountain was light up like a city, the wind transporting fires everywhere.

Anyhow, here's a short view of what it looked like. This was towards the end when things were markedly improving.

When I returned from Tucson, an hour's drive north, I drove around the loop that skirts the area where the fire is. It's not very far from my house, I run there from here! Anyhow, there were lots of fire fighters and police everywhere. It was unusually dark, as if the power was out. With the ash falling and headlights cutting through smoke like New England fog I certainly felt out of sorts. I had the windows down to better see and hear and suddenly a dog came running down the street towards me, running just past my car in the opposite direction! I felt like I was in a Stephen King story.

I finally returned home and stayed up late reading a book before finally going to sleep way past my normal time.

I got up this morning and felt exhausted. I had done a core workout the day before and was sore from that. For me, that soreness just feels unnatural, like I've been ill or something. I never seem to get used to it hurting in weird places like that!

My sprained foot still hurt so I figured I should go on a bicycle ride for exercise. I checked the forecast and the wind wasn't supposed to pick up until 1 pm. It was 9:30. The wind was supposed to be 22 mph with gusts up to, who really cares. 22mph wind sucks. Think running in wind is tough, try riding a bike in it. It's infinitely worse. But I have to tell you, the weather prophets were wrong! By 10:30 the wind was swirling and warming up. By 11 it was head on as I was making the final climb of the ride.

I ended up riding 20 miles in about 1:10. At the turn around the time was 37 minutes, so I did as I like to do when riding, I did the second half faster than the first, though not by much! But wow, am I NOT in riding shape anymore. That same ride used to be super easy. I'd like to blame it on fatigue, breathing in heavy smoke for days and the combination of wind and heat. But the truth is, I've gone from riding 250 miles a week to 20. I like running more, what can I say?

Here are some various pictures of the fire.

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