The sun lured me and my bike out today and I rode 61 miles in three hours. It was basically flat, aero and easy, along Marine Drive by the airport and out to Troutdale and back a few times, but I’m still taking that 20 miles per hour average speed as a sign of excellent early-season fitness. I’d guess I'm six weeks ahead of last year. Woo-hoo. But I’ve got to add something: When I returned, a neighbor, chipper in the way a Portlander becomes on a sunny Saturday in the winter, said, “Great February day for a ride!” I nodded in agreement but in fact I did not agree. It was not a great day for a ride. A great February day for a ride would have started in the 50s (it was 39 when I hit the road at 9:15 a.m.) before quickly working its way into the 60s, possibly even nudging 70. Today, here, it was 46 on my home weather station when I returned. My toes were numb. My nose was running from the cold. Yes, there had been times during the ride when it was exhilarating to be zipping along under a bright blue sky. But the sun was too weak to cut through the wind that, at 20 mph, drives the chill into your bones. Maybe if I'd been out for an hour it would have been fine. But three hours? Cold. Sunny and cold: a cruel joke, a hoax, classic bait-and-switch. Now, some might say, “What a wimpy Californian!” an allusion to the fact that I called the bankrupt but toastier state to the south home for 37 of my 46 and counting years. Fine. If that is the way it works, if expressing a little displeasure at the fraud that a sunny Oregon winter day perpetrates on a cyclist makes me a wimp, I plead guilty. Still, not a bad ride.

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