Meanwhile, on the slush-covered roads amid the evening rush-hour I carefully make my way.
In the residential maze, in relative seclusion, I slowly make my way past driveway after driveway of amazed citizens, some waving, some just staring with confused looks, snow shovels in-hand, watching as I pass. I offer a quick quip to a mother watching her child play in the new snow near the road -- "Don't try THIS at home, kids" - she laughs, and retorts with a friendly "be safe!" It's a nice evening ride in the snow, no biggie. Miles tick away, twice as slowly as normal, but it's all good. The steady pelting of snow has slowed, and the winds are barely worth mentioning as the sun finally is hidden behind the horizon. I've been on the road over and hour, and still many miles to go -- my average speed must be horrible!
With each passing mile, I try my luck - using a careful ear, I ensure there is no-one coming up behind me and then I guide the front wheel into the thicker snow nearer the shoulder/curb line -- hmmm... seems to stick better here. I abandon the slushy soup for the fresh powder, and suddenly my attempts to stay "as far to the right" are more productive. Passing cars still give a wide berth, likely helped along by the steady and intense flash of my taillights. I make the final turn homeward and enjoy the last of the snow, turning confidently into my driveway without even putting a foot down for insurance -- a good lesson, while probably not as intense in the cardio or hill-climbing department, but still a good time on the bike for a lot of reasons.
More than that, a big smile across my frozen face lights up -- I've done it, I've arrived at the settlement, a warm fire awaits, and supplies for the weary traveler across this frozen wasteland. Romantic, indeed -- Yes, spring, summer and fall are favorites, of course -- but winter, especially episodes like today, are simply unmatched.
On many a training ride LAST late-winter/early-spring, I remember riding along with Ort(of Texas, ya'll) and talking about how miserable the conditions were -- one ride, rain and about 40 degrees, we were passing the miles by tossing back and forth sardonic remarks about the conditions, etc., and a "certain kind of misery", and I remember myself saying something to the effect of "I've never been on a ride in July or August and said to myself "man, I'm sure glad I did all those horrible rides back in February".
I take that back.
Front derailluer logged with snowpack, and spokes, tubes and fenders hanging onto a little, too.
It was a messy commute!