Sunday, February 28, 2016

A light (a giant glowing, yellow light) at the end of the tunnel...

40 degrees at the start of a February ride? I'll take it!
Why is it that the so called "easiest" winters are sometimes the most difficult to get through? Is it because we northerners get soft when the temps rarely dip below zero and we're not having to burrow through drifts of snow to get out of our houses? This winter (I'm completely jinxing us all since it's not over yet) has been hands-down one of the easiest I ever remember having--weather wise that is. As the Arctic warmed at alarming rates, and tornadoes ripped through the South in January and February, I sat drinking copious amounts of coffee—trying to get myself motivated to head out for blustery winter rides under heavy clouds. This whole coffee thing helped me succeed about 75% of the time. The other 25% my laziness won over—as did beer and pizza.

When the sun would poke out to say a quick "hello", it felt like angels were singing and I could accomplish anything. Sadly, warm temps in the winter usually also mean oppressive clouds. And so what should have been an easy winter, turned into one where I was just trying to keep the effects of SAD to a minimum. But yesterday and last Saturday gave me hope. The sun was shining from early morning on, the winds were brutal, but out of the SW which meant the temps were in the 40's-50's, and I got to ride with a great group of friends.

Shedding layers on the four mile climb up Blue Mound

The snow at the top of Blue Mound is a gentle reminder that winter isn't over yet

As I write this, I should be out once again with a different group, but I chickened out and opted to ride early and solo in hopes of not being blown off the roads in 25 mph winds and allowing my legs to go at their own pace after the earliest accent I've ever done up Blue Mound. Sure...there's a pang of guilt, but not enough to make me feel that bad as I watch every tree top sway in the gusts.

This week is supposed to bring a dose of reality. A little slap in the face telling us "you idiots, you didn't think you were getting off that easy--you live in Wisconsin after all". But March is just around the corner, and the spring gravel events are knocking at my door. I may have to set my gravel bike aside for a bit and haul out my winter steed for a few more weeks, but the light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter...I can feel it.

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