Monday, November 15, 2010

benefits of riding in the snow

two things come immediately to mind:
  • the dermabrasion for my face from the sleet on the downhill, and
  • the time and energy savings from not having to wave at any of those silly cyclists who expect you to wave back at them
now there are a few drawbacks, namely the wet feet (through neoprene booties and wool socks), the frozen fingers (which eventually thawed after 15 minutes in the HOT shower), and the fact that I had to clean my bike of all the wet, muddy yuck when the ride was over.
and, okay, it wasn't really snowing. it really never got much past an icy sleet.

it began as a gentle mist.
I left my house when the road was dry and the air was thick with hanging moisture. within a mile, the moisture began to break through the weight barrier and settle upon the world as a fine, ultralight, cool mist. I could see the cloud hanging over my canyon, and decided that I would ride until it became unbearable, then turn around and head south below the cloud line.
remember that story of how you can boil a frog? that if you put him in a pot of lukewarm water, then slowly, slowly turn the heat up he'll stay there, not figuring out that soon the water will reach a boiling temperature and he'll be . . . well, no longer living.
this is what the mist did to me yesterday.
all the way up the canyon it intensified, but at such a slow, gradual pace that it wasn't until I headed downhill that I realized the road was truly wet and what was coming at me was sleet. thus the dermabrasion. does it hurt in a spa or clinic? it sure hurt out on the road.
and the sole cyclist who was out while I was looked every bit as cold and wet as me, and the grins we exchanged were almost identical. there's just something inexplicable about the joy of riding your bike when everyone in their right mind is doing something else.

my uphill ride was quiet, my toes and fingers were warm, I was filled with peace and gratitude.
my downhill ride was wet and wicked, my body temperature dropped and my extremities clamored for crackling fires and down comforters, and I couldn't wait to get home.
but I returned home thrilled that I had left, that I had ridden, that I'd braved the elements and felt the joy of being at one with the world.

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