Shorts! T-shirts! It’s been unseasonably warm in Montreal, so on Christmas Eve I took the opportunity to get out for a quick shake the bugs out ride. There’s 8 hours of daylight this time of year so any opportunity to play in those hours is welcome.

Mt Royal continues to be my favorite place to play – it’s on my doorstep, and today it’s littered with random families and large groups of club riders all making faces, secret gestures and nods, clicks and whirs to each other, like we recognize the childish liberation that comes with being able to play on a day when nobody in their right mind would expect to be on their bike.

The kicker is that it’s howling windy at 2pm when I head out – I swear it’s gusting 80km/hr. I make a nice easy loop on my favorite trail, now muddy and slick, but no match for my 2.2. Coming around the C-H side of the mount, I hit the brakes hard, because there is fresh kill on the trail – that’s right this monster of a tree has fallen sometime since my last lap and now, which is not more than 15 minutes.

I feel kind of humbled and looking up see it’s friends are swaying and bending just like this one must have been doing before it crashed to earth. I feel like it’s a good time to head out and seek safety on the streets. Call me chicken, but something tells me to go play somewhere else.

So now it’s Christmas Day, and we’re one movie into the Star Wars original triology on Blue-ray and I’m thinking about Stagecoach 400 and looking forward to getting some long miles in. Somehow, I think they’ll be on the stationary bike real soon, and not on the hill…