As I pulled into the parking lot at 8am I knew something was amiss. It was nearly full. What the hell?! Thanksgiving was still a week away. Didn't folks realize that? And then it hit me. The first winter storm of the year was on its way into the Midwest and would hit Wisconsin at 5pm dumping, oh my god, 6-8 inches of snow *gasp* (this all written in a sarcastic tone).
You see each year, Wisconsinites act like the sky is falling (I guess it sort of is) during the first snow. What will they do if they don't have their pantries and coolers completely stocked since everything could possibly shut down for *again gasp* 12 hours?
As I waited in the checkout line, which snaked down the grocery isles, I felt the queasiness begin to swell. If I got all my chores done in a couple hours, I could manage a quick 30 miler in the hills on my road bike--most likely my last time on it until late March. The tightening in my chest increased and I began to panic. No, no, no. Winter couldn't be here already. I'm not ready. I don't have my new winter steed completely built yet and I don't want to deal with icy street conditions not to mention the 20 minutes it takes to get ready for my 3.5 mile commute into work. I started to go through the ridiculous 5 stages (with mother nature in mind) that will get you nowhere. Denial (as mentioned above), anger (oh let me tell you about the anger--at the weather and myself for living in Wisconsin), bargaining (I had plenty of time to bargain while in line), depression, and finally acceptance. I could hear her laughing almost instantly.
Around 5pm the snow began to fall. I refused to look outside and when forced to drive to a friend's place, I pretended it was all just a dream. I woke sometime in the middle of the night to that brightness only fresh snow can bring. No, the lights weren't on, it was only the reflection of street lamps on the new white blanket covering my world. I hid until I had to face it in the morning.
Still in denial but now armed with my new winter steed (thank you Johnnymac!!!). I still refused to go out other than to drive home. Instead of doing what all of my other winter cycling friends were doing (riding and enjoying the new snow), I chose to nap and eat and nap some more. We will all just pretend that day didn't exist.
Forced to go out in the now bitterly cold temps (we'll call this a heat wave come January), I met up with my friends for the annual Freezaroo ride. 26 miles, 17 degrees, 13 mph South wind, hills, and a new bike. I'm happy to say not only did I survive, but I had fun....shhhhh, don't tell mother nature. It really was pretty, and layered up in my balaclava, winter boots and expedition mitts I was fairly comfortable.
Each year I have to switch my mindset from "fun" being an urban spin in a sundress or a century with sweat dripping off my limbs to it being "hot damn, I survived another ride with all of my fingers and toes!" I think I've made that switch but only time will tell. I'm sure I'll be pissy and moany many more times in the next three months.
Sunday's winter riding festivities ended with the fifth annual Madison Bike Winter Fashion Show. It was the first year I wasn't a model and so I got the pleasure of socializing and heckling the other models. A couple beers made my ride home seem easy--it's amazing what liquid courage does for the first few winter rides.
And so here I sit now, three days of winter riding under my belt with only one jackknife maneuver in my neighborhood that has now become a giant ice rink. Life is good...or at least not as bad as I thought it was on Friday!
|Heading out on the Freezaroo ride (notice my new winter steed)|
|Taken from the Freezaroo ride|
|5th Madison Bike Winter Fashion Show at Machinery Row|