Friday, February 5, 2010
Cycling Through the Seasons
Just when you think things are looking gray, Mother Nature covers our little world in snow, making everything look clean and new again. Two inches of snow may just have been a tease, but it renewed my spirit enough to get me out on the road bike once again. Yes, I know many may think that riding a bike in winter is nuts, but winter riding can be quite beautiful and an enlightening experience. I think it has less to do with any immediate training goals, but has more to do with feeling alive through the long haul of life. If you can imagine having the cold take your breath away and still be breathing hard, being chilled while sweating, and loving the sun and hating the wind all in the same time. It makes me feel alive in a way that only a few take the time to experience.
As I neared the lee side of the mountains, I was surprised to see so little snow. I noticed water running down ice-lined crevices in the hillside. One particular branch lay suspended across a stream, draped with a curtain of ice. The higher I climbed, the more the snow there was. By the time I climbed up to the lake, snow covered the ground and the frozen lake. The sun was almost blinding as it reflected off the lake. It was a whole new world up there, well worth the effort of climbing. The effort may have actually made it better.
I enjoyed the accomplishment of the climb, but descending down out of the park was quite cold. I ended up riding my brakes in hopes to avoid any extra wind chill, which allowed for some extra sight seeing along the way. Everything looks different in winter. There are longer sight lines, animals are easily visible, and the landscape takes on a less cluttered and honest look. Throughout most of the descent, I was just bracing myself against the cold that had crept into the sweaty nooks and crannies in my under layers.
Finally, I reached a little uphill to pedal myself warm again. It was just a matter of time before muscle memory kicked in and it was business as usual pedaling home. Just like in summer, the sun was getting low in the sky on my return. Whether I dreamed of summer, or embraced the cold, it felt good to be outside taking it all in. It is good to ride a bike in any season.
homemade soup of the week: chicken, potato, leek