January 5, 2012

Unbelievable weather

While I'm sure by posting this I'm looking weather-death in the face and spitting, I simply can't believe the weather we've been having lately here in eastern Kansas.  It's making me a little uneasy heading into yet another weekend where temperatures are set nearly 20 degrees above normal for this time of year -- and strangely, it's not that windy... which is usually a partner to unseasonable temps in this part of the country.  I keep waiting for winters "other shoe" to drop.  Diving into weather-geek mode for a moment - despite the low sun angle and the shorter period of daylight, we're looking at mid-60's today.  In January.  In Kansas.  That's 30 degrees above normal.  I mean ... I can't remember the last time...(which is why NOAA has climate data, so I don't HAVE to remember).  Checking climatalogical data, the record for this date was set at 68ºF in 1956... and we have a slim chance of beating that today.  Shorts and short sleeves in January for the commute home? 
As much as I like to say "back in aught-three....", I'm compelled to here for contrast -- because back in '03 I recorded my coldest commute EVER, at minus-9ºF, on a dark January 23rd night.  To think that I'd be riding home THIS evening without so much as something to cover my ears is amazing... but I'm certainly not complaining!  That's Kansas, however -- the state of extremes:  that SAME YEAR, only two weeks earlier on January 8th, 2003, we broke the HIGH record of 71ºF.  Anything is possible...and as they say, if you don't like the weather, wait. 
I really should have scheduled January's R-12 ride for THIS week... dangit...  Instead, I'm on for the 14th, which is still a week away.  Quite a bit can and will happen in that coming week, so I'm keeping my fingeres fully crossed.  What may instead be on tap is a proper January 200k, however, complete with icy wind and snow -- and to that I say, "bring it".  I think the only thing negative about this long run of above-normal temperatures is that it really screws with acclimation.  If a cold-snap... even a seasonal return ...awaits for the coming 200k, it'll be tough to get out of the van.  It could be WAY, WAY worse... thinking to the last couple of years when we were still crusted over in ice and had snowbanks at every intersection, I need to be cautious what I complain about when it comes to R-12 pursuits in this part of the nation.  I still have a project on my list that involves a true "do-it-all" winter brevet machine -- easy-ratio fixed gear, 26" wheels, big-volume tires with studs, fenders, front and rear racks, wide drop bars with Bar Mitts.  While I'm certain the current steed will handle just about anything once the roads are treated, the prospect of having a world-beater, no-excuses machine at the ready is exciting, even if it's only for commutes.  Right now, a poorly-timed winter storm would put a few nails in the R-12 coffin.  I really don't want to have to road-trip south to finish this one... but I suppose I would.
For now, I have to figure out how to store all the layers I wore this morning on the way in, when temps were just above freezing.  It's not easy planning for days with 45º temperature swings!!
Roll on, and smile!

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