Off to Zube again this morning, a bit warmer than last weekend but pretty thick fog on the way out. I park up, unload, pump up my tires, put on my gear, stretch - where the hell is everyone? It's 7.30 and I'm all alone. I head out rather grumpily and then remember that yesterday was the company Xmas party (Susan and I didn't go, it's usually a dud). Paddy, Jason, Gregor and the rest are all probably sleeping off their hangovers.
One advantage of being a lone wolf is that you can pick my route and set your own pace. Obvious disadvantages include being much less visible in the fog, and there's no-one to drag you along when you get tired. Anyhoo, I opted for the route that goes north on Hegar road, then follows the regular route, for a total of about 43 miles. I felt a bit exposed in the fog but the few vehicles that passed were very considerate.
Turning off Kickapoo and onto Castle, I passed four Muscovy ducks who were splashing about in the ditch. I spooked them and they decided to run for it. Unfortunately ducks aren't the best fliers and I was keeping pace with them quite well. It occurred to me that if they veered across the road in front of me I'd be looking at a rare case of a duck strike - probably less painful than the more common deer strike. They managed to get enough speed and elevation to leave me behind but we were quite cosy for a while. Apparently any duck with this much white is almost certainly domesticated, which is probably why I couldn't find this dude in my bird book.
My encounter with the waterfowl was probably the most exciting part of the ride. I got a tail-wind for the run in down Business 290 and got back to my car pretty comfortably. As I pulled out of the lot I imagined Paddy rolling over in bed for another hour's doze - he hasn't heard the last of this.