The good news about dreary days is that the trail is uncrowded. I finished my meeting at noon and headed out to ride. As soon as I walked outside I wanted to go back in and crawl under the covers. Knowing that I have an event tomorrow though and might not get a chance to ride, I persevered.
I had three layers on, and long tights so the only part that got cold was my ears. Once I got on the trail and started moving I felt great. It didn’t smell so great though. The air was so damp that every rotting piece of vegetation was discernible to the nose. I was wishing I hadn’t taken my allergy meds.
It never actually rained, but the air was so very heavy. In my last stretch back to the parking area I could, as usual, hear the airplanes on short final going into Dulles Airport but I couldn’t see them! When they cross the trail there, they are minutes from landing — about 400 feet up. Their gear is down, and the warning to stay in your seat applies to the flight attendants as well. Part of my entertainment in this stretch is usually to look at the landing gear and details of their livery. Today though — none of that was visible. It was eerie.
I did have some sweet moments though. I see bright red male cardinals every day as they dart across the trail at an altitude level with my hubs. They seem to be playing chicken with the bike. On a gray day like today, they seem extra bright as they cross the trail. Then, as I came back over the Loudoun County Parkway bridge, I saw a flash of bright yellow as a goldfinch went winging down the trail away from me, fleeing for its life or in pursuit of a particularly tempting flying bug. It made me smile. So, 15 miles, no whining.