As they always say, “If you don’t like the weather in New Orleans, just stick around. It’ll change.” Change it did indeed. Thursday morning the temperature was back above 60. Since I seem to have a hard time adjusting to these fluctuations, and knowing that all that water coming down the Mississippi was still just as cold as it had been on Tuesday, I pulled on the knee-warmers anyway. Why risk a winter bout of tendonitis just for one freak ride in shorts? The Thursday ride had a pretty goo As they always say, “If you don’t like the weather in New Orleans, just stick around. It’ll change.” Change it did indeed. Thursday morning the temperature was back above 60. Since I seem to have a hard time adjusting to these fluctuations, and knowing that all that water coming down the Mississippi was still just as cold as it had been on Tuesday, I pulled on the knee-warmers anyway. Why risk a winter bout of tendonitis just for one freak ride in shorts? The Thursday ride had a pretty good turnout, especially considering how low the turnouts have been lately, and as the group made its way up the river that little bit of tailwind kept nudging the pace higher and higher. With Brady and Woody and a few others taking long pulls at the front, we had a nice fast ride out to the turnaround that was still manageable by everyone. By then people were pretty warmed up and so there was a bit of a break for some ”wardrobe adjustments.” The light headwind on the return trip kept things pretty much under control, so all-in-all it was a good training ride, as I rode with Brady back down Oak Street toward home he said something about Zotz as we went past, at which point my bike suddenly made a u-turn and, next thing I knew, I was enjoying a cup of dark roast. As I sat there I indulged in a little guilt trip about the current status of my fitness and the blatantly obvious reasons for its recent decline. It seems I’ve been taking an inordinate number of “rest days” lately, and that, combined with the usual holiday surplus of ad libitum chocolate, cookies and wine, are already taking a toll. It’s just so damned easy to skip a ride this time of year, and it doesn’t help that so many neo-coaches keep writing about how riders are always overtraining and need more recovery time. I mean, really. Recovery from what? Old age? At the level that most of us train this time of year, the risk of true overtraining is pretty damned low. It sure makes for a good excuse, though. In fact, I kind of employed it just this morning. Today I awoke to grey skies, a temperature in the low 60s, and a disturbingly low level of motivation. It would be a perfect day for yet another “recovery ride.” Somehow, though, I felt chilled from the get-go. I got dressed, got on the bike, rode a few blocks, and said — out loud — “this is crazy.” It was just one of those days when I didn’t want to ride. I even convinced myself that my legs felt sore from Thursday. I’m sure part of it was the depressing weather, and perhaps the lingering depressive effects from the shopping coma induced last night by an unwanted trip to Wal-Mart and Pier One and some other place like that. Whatever, I certainly can’t blame overtraining for this one. Anyway, after aborting the morning ride I loaded up the bike with four bottles of wine (office Christmas gifts) and headed off to work a little earlier than usual by way of Starbucks. As I rode cautiously down Lowerline, listening to the rattle of glass wine bottles in my bike’s “grocery pannier.” I suddenly noticed that the street below me was littered with those pretty bright yellow leaves of a Ginkgo tree. There’s nothing more spectacular than a Ginkgo tree in the fall, but those bright yellow leaves only last a little while. I looked up and just had to stop to take a picture. I’ll bet the big Ginkgo back on campus next to the Architecture building is pretty impressive right now. When I got to work I saw that Mark had picked up the nice PA system that I’d found yesterday on Craigs List. It looks like it was a really good deal for the club. The last couple of years we’d been renting a PA system for our races. This one should pay for itself after two events. We can also rent it to other clubs in the area if they need it.