Friday, May 10, 2013

In Which Small Yellow Birds Are Chased North

Goldfinch by the trail, at extreme magnification. They did not let me get very close.

The state bird of Iowa—the goldfinch—put in many guest appearances in your correspondent’s biking adventures today.

I left campus around 4:30, knowing that I would take a somewhat longer ride home. I toyed with the idea of heading home and doing the Boyson Trail, and, as fate would have it, that would have been a good idea. Instead, after a trip around Cedar Lake, I decided to head north on the Cedar River Trail until it turned into the Cedar Valley Trail, just to see if it was still closed by utility work.

The signs were not good when I crossed Boyson road headed north. The “trail closed ahead” warning signs were still in place. I was riding up a slight “wind hill,” the chill breeze actually fairly welcome, but I would prefer a nice cooling side wind to a headwind, just in case you’re wondering, universe.

Anyway, despite the clouds and chill, it was a fine day for riding. I think perhaps because I commuted most of the winter, and maybe due to some small training rides I’ve done already, but I felt like I was really moving along (although other bikers still mostly pass me).

There were plenty of birds-lots of robins and cardinals, but also some small crowds of goldfinches, pretty little yellow birds that complained and scattered and fled north before me.

I wasn’t sure where I was going. When I crossed Robbins Road, the fence for the construction zone was open, and I kept going north. I had just passed the 4-mile mark, when my phone signaled a text.

Would I like to go over to Katy’s for supper and see the grandkids? Why, yes I would, except I’m 4 ½ miles north of Hiawatha and 2 ½ miles from home once I get there …

I figured it would take me until 7 to get home. I was wrong—the north wind I’d been battling was a helper on the way back and I made it home around 6:45. After a quick break, I climbed Bowman Woods Hill, and headed over to Katy’s. The ride home was cool and required lights, but still nice.

The grandkids wanted to get their bikes out of the garage at their new house, which we briefly did, but I’ll have to take over some tools and tighten a few seats and wheels up for them. I wish I had put on my toddler seat while at home—but there will be more chances in the future to give grandchildren rides, I’m sure.

So this afternoon was close to a 3 hour training ride. I’m not sure how far I went in that time, but at least I did climb The Hill and also herded yellow birds.
The trail, 3 miles north of Hiawatha. A cool, cloudy, pretty spring evening for a ride.

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