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A Change of Weather

I don’t know exactly why, but sometimes I get a strong desire to ride my bike pretty much as far as I possibly can in a day, preferably on new roads or routes, and ideally not alone. Last Sunday, those three things met in one good, crazy, challenging, and insanely hot bike ride from Berkeley to Winters. This happened because my friend Paul is riding his bike from California to Illinois, and he was looking for people to ride with him on his first day. I wasn’t quite as sane as the other three riders who also showed up at 8am but joined him for only the first 4 miles before returning to enjoy a nice, cool day in the east bay. The breadth of my reduced sanity became clear to me only at the end of the 72-mile, 2,900-foot-elevation-gain ride.

After sitting in the shade for 15 minutes at a lonely market in Winters, CA, a slight breeze came up and I felt a bit chilly and got goosebumps. Later, after standing inside the market in the air conditioning and then venturing back outside, I noticed that what had originally seemed to me to be a cool breeze was actually a stifling dry wind in solid 102 degree heat. I have no idea how hot my body had to be to feel cold in that, but, well, wow.

The great thing about going on rides like this is that the accompanying fatigue, soreness, exhaustion, etc. makes things like going to work and keeping up with the general minutiae of life rather less painful than they typically seem. Oh, and I also get to see interesting things like abandoned scooters on a bridge (and the driver walking the path, before you assume the worst), ship graveyards, and vineyards in what I previously assumed was one of the most sub-everything suburbs.

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