It's okay, it was my best riding summer ever, and it's time to scale it back. I found entirely new roads, just miles from my home, that I'd never tried before. I found fresh pavement on some old roads that I'd given up as too rough to ride anymore. I made up a number of new circuits, and where in previous years I had gotten bored by riding the same course with any frequency, this year I learned to love the freedom of not really having to think about where I was going -- just to pick a distance and a general compass direction, whether I wanted some hills or a lot of hills, and then just let my mind go because my legs knew the way.
I got in some nice distances, and climbed up some substantial new hills -- Taborton Road up to Dutch Church Road is a fantastic climb, steep and long and hard, with a rewarding but fleeting trip back down. I got over an early bout of flats, though I later felt the wrath of hail twice. It didn't feel good either time. I got out of the habit of carrying a map, and as a result I got lost -- the best way to find a new route -- a lot. I found pleasant cycling in the unlikeliest of suburbs, and found some new ways through the urbs, but mostly I bombed around the hills of Rensselaer County at an average speed that was always touching 27-28kph, and I pushed my normal distance up from 50K to 70K.
So now it's time to grab the days when they're pleasant, to launch rides while the kids are in ballet, to work up a few more major hills while trying to stay warm in sleeves and tights. Once the temperature gets below 50, it's hard to be comfortable for a couple of hours, but if the sun is out, it's possible. I generally ride regularly right up until Thanksgiving, and then put it on rollers until St. Patrick's Day or so.
So, it's the beginning of farewell to the bike season I always hoped I'd have.