We spent two weeks cross-country skiing at Mount Saint Anne, Quebec and a total of four weeks away from Japan. Our stay in the US got extended by the snowstorms that closed the Northeast airports January 7,8,9.
We started commuting by tandem immediately, figuring it was a good way to help overcome jet lag and to guarantee that we would stay awake on the way home from work. Oh, how we missed those headwinds for the ride home. Not! We got a quick reminder when we had to work hard to go 10-12 miles per hour on the flat ride home. We (mostly me) were reminded how even though we maintained our aerobic levels by skiing, the seat needed some toughening up to be able to ride every day again.
This past weekend we planned our rides based on the winds. On Saturday we headed west so as to have the tailwind for the ride home. It's amazing how you can struggle to go 14 kph (9 mph) in one direction, then turn around and easily pedal 30 kph (19 mph)! The bike path along the ocean was virtually empty so we were able to ride along leisurely just having to dodge the barricades that prevent cars from going on the path. If it weren't for these barricades it would be a really great path to ride. As it is, having to guide the bike through consecutive sets of vertical poles a little more than handlebar width apart definitely disrupts the rhythm.
We did manage to do our first intentional off road riding. We went past the end of the bike path to where it turned into a pair of tire tracks. The path was right along the ocean so it was really pretty, or so I was told. Ah, the stokers life, to be able to look at all the scenery and not have to avoid, or at try to avoid, the rocks, holes, mud puddles, etc. This was one really bumpy ride! My hands got a little bit bruised and they were definitely sore from the "death-grip" on the handlebars. When we got back we had to hose off the bike. I must say, I like the anodized aluminum Santana, just hose it off and it looks like new!
We were surprised that some of our Japanese acquaintances actually missed us. I'm not talking about friends, but people at the bakery, neighbors, etc. They noticed that we were gone for a few weeks. The women at the bakery asked us if we had been back to America. I'm also amazed that we were able to understand and answer the question. Of course the answer was just "Hai" (yes) but at least we communicated.
We have also started to do some cold (at least for us) riding. Over the first weekend we were back, we rode in shorts and short sleeved shirts. On the following Tuesday, it was 26F in the morning and we were completely bundled up. What a quick change in weather. Also amazing is how with a tail wind the same temperature seems much warmer than when you return into the headwind!
We've started to keep a bike log this year and expect to do about 10,000 kilometers for the year. That would be a record for us. We used to keep a log, but stopped when we moved here. We are looking forward to April when the winds die down and the daylight lasts longer. Night riding home on calm nights is really nice, but daylight would be a little bit less of a hassle (no lights to worry about).
We've sent in our registrations for the Eastern Tandem Rally and the Southern Tier Tandem Rally. We expect to be the furthest traveling tandem team to attend! If we see you at the ETR, be nice. We will have arrived from Japan the day before and will be suffering from major jet lag. Hope to see some of you at these rallies.
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