It’s been a mixed week. I’m lucky to live in a place where I have the expectation of any riding through the winter, much less the expectation that I have a good shot at riding 200 miles frequently through the winter. But, I’m bummed that the cold fronts are when the skies are crystal clear and the warm fronts bring rain, but not usually enough warmth to avoid hypothermia if you end up getting caught in the rain.
So, I have rules I follow. They haven’t let me down so far. I have a max riding temp in the summer that shifts with my fitness level. Basically, if it feels like I’m triggering a migraine, I end the ride as soon as possible and drop the “it’s a go” temp down for a bit. In the winter there is less shifting. At certain temperatures, I don’t care if it rains on me. At other temperatures, I will get hypothermia if I get wet, and riding 15 MPH puts a wind chill on that temperature. Humidity matters too. I have a slide rule in my head. The colder it is, the lower the chance of rain has to be for me to ride. I don’t adjust that much. It seems to be working pretty well. Of course these rain predictions and the high and low temps apply to the entire ride, so the favorable forecast has to last at least as long as the ride will. The last ride I got in this week was in a small window. It wasn’t a great ride, but it made the difference between feeling good about my miles this week and not.
One of our rides this week was on the Greenway. There was a lot of flooding last year, 2020. I was noticing how some areas of the trail are showing the damage with a lot of felled trees and moved earth. When stormwater from the surrounding urban areas flows down to the stream bed, silt builds up on the trail. Little dozers come in and push it off in rows. That happened several times last year and some parts of the trail have rows of banked earth. They look a little like the war trench earthworks on Kennesaw Mountain, except that they are smaller. I wondered about the habitat disturbance.
There is Chinese Privet in some areas. It’s an invasive that was imported intentionally to make English style hedges, but it took over in the understory of edge habitats like beside a trail and/or a stream. It’s sprawling when not cut into hedges. Birds do like the berries. That is how the seeds get spread far and wide, but Privet crowds out native plants that would provide food for a more diverse number of animals. The berries on these bushes are gone and some of the privet has been covered in mud, so instead of being the year round green foliage that the plant was imported to be, it’s this mud grey color that would prompt some farm boys to crank up the tractor to pull a bush hog across it. As I rode along looking at some of the places, I thought that they looked worse than I had ever noticed, even during some of our more infamous droughts. This was where I was when I decided that filming through the seasons and changing conditions was the thing to do. I wondered how long it would be before these spots looked better. Don’t get me wrong, there are still pretty stretches, and they will look better in the spring, but if you are recording a smaller run, the less desirable spots matter more. Of course, capturing change over time is the plan, and I may not even end up working one of the scenarios that has me recording on this trail. All of the trails have less desirable spots, I’m just hoping that the less desirable changes don’t stick or increase