Yes, tomorrow the worlds favorite and most famous weather forecaster Punxsutawny Phil will take a quick peek outside his hole, and decide if we're to have 6 more weeks of winter or an early spring. I'm voting he will NOT see his shadow, promising nice weather in the VERY near future. Of course, I choose this decision just like I choose the outcome of sporting events (such as football, volleyball, and yes, even cycling). I choose by what I WANT, not by what I necessarily BELIEVE will happen. And thus, my fortune-telling has VERY low percentage of being right.
But I REALLY DO want an early spring, and I'm betting you do too. I mean, who doesn't? (ok, maybe that little girl who doesn't want 50% more cash back, but THAT'S IT!)
Over the last week or so here in California we've had a rather strange weather pattern: a low pressure system had sucked the jet-stream to the west, and it was driving the cold arctic air right down over our entire area. Of course, we weren't cold like SOME of you were (are)...and I grew up in Wyoming and Montana, so have some idea of what COLD weather is like. And after I got out of the Navy I did 2 years in North Chicago (which I thought was even colder than Montana...however I had just moved from Hawaii, so my idea of REALLY COLD might have been skewed just a tiny bit).
ANYWAY, as I was saying...we had quite cold weather lately. Nights were in the 20's and low 30's, days barely into the 40's...THAT is quite cold for us California folk (especially those who who've lived in Hawaii for 10 years).
I rode 4 times during this last week up in Sunnyvale (all road rides) and I FROZE on 3 of them. It was only by Weds that it had climbed into the 50's (which is pretty still chilly but not FREEZING COLD). Now I see we have a high pressure blob off the coast and it has pushed the jet stream back east where it belongs...and the REST of the country is now freezing as is normal. And I'm ok with that (in case you haven't figured it out yet, it's ALL about ME!)
I'm back home now from my work-trip up north, and today we had a high probably in the mid 60's which isn't too bad, and not too shabby at all for the beginning of February. Tomorrow is supposed to be a few degrees cooler, but I'm hoping to get out for a long road ride. It will be my first real barometer of fitness this year...my usual weekend 61 miler. I've done this ride MANY MANY times, and based on my overall time I can tell where I'm at....which is determined by how much I whimper/whine and make lame excuses during the ride due to my poor condition...I call it my Suck Factor (SF). It's very much like sunscreen numbers, only backwards...an SF25 is TWICE as good as a SF50. I strive for a very low number, but haven't been below an SF15 in about 2 years now. I'm not really expecting great things this early in the year, overall I'm just hoping my SF has dropped a few points from the last two times I did this ride (on both of those I set new records for slow). Seriously. My SF number was off the charts. I'm hoping to knock off at least 10 minutes or more..but maybe that's just wishful thinking (much like my choosing for Phil to NOT see his shadow tomorrow).
And so....by the time you read this we'll know if winter is about to release it's icy grip on the country. Logic and statistics say that Phil will indeed see his shadow and we are doomed for more winter. I just can't choose that...ever. I'm rooting for a blind groundhog.
The good news (no matter what Phil decides) is that it's getting a bit lighter every day as we move way from the evil Winter Solstice. We're now over a month past, and we've regained around another half hour of light in the afternoon...and before we know it March will be here and we'll be moving the clocks forward, which is the REAL indication that spring is here.
I'll leave you with a quote from the movie (one of my favorites):
Television really fails to capture the true excitement...of a large squirrel
predicting the weather. I, for one, am very grateful to have been here. From Punxsutawney, this is Phil Connors. So long.