Sunday, February 19, 2017

All-Time Highs

What a great weekend to round up some buds and get outside!

In West Bend, there was never a February 17-19 like this before! On Friday we reached 50° for the first time since November 29, then hit 60° for the first time since November 18! Our high for the day was 61° and, though we were at that level only for a few minutes, it’s the new all-time high for February 17. The old record was 57°, set in 1981. Saturday was great too: 59° for a high, beating the old record of 52°, also set in 1981. Today we topped out at 63°, tying the record set in 1981.

It goes without saying that I hopped on the bike. Friday’s ride was short: just 20 miles to test the new chainrings on my BMC. The old ones were worn out, causing a really frustrating auto-shift issue. On Saturday I did my fastest ride so far this year: 40 miles at an average speed of 17.4 mph. Today I did my hilliest ride so far this year: 44 miles with 1,936 feet of climbing … at an average speed of 17.1 mph. I had company on each ride, including 5 other riders today. Ego made me push harder than I would have otherwise, and as I write this I am a little fried. It was a big block of training for this time of year.

But I’m not quite done. Rain is coming tomorrow, but I probably can get out for a short recovery ride late in the morning. I need just 7 more miles to set a new personal record for miles in February. Then it looks like we’ll have back-to-back sunny days in the 60s on Tuesday and Wednesday before falling into the 40s on Thursday and back to more February-like temperatures next weekend. February 21st is noteworthy for being the date on which West Bend’s average daytime high finally creeps above freezing, signaling the end of a long winter. But this year is breaking all the historical trends. With no measurable snowfall in the forecast, southeastern Wisconsin could escape February with its second-lowest total ever. Eleven weeks from the start of the mountain bike racing season, I’m hoping for a dry remainder to our winter and an early opening of the trails.

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