January 17, 2014

The Tolls of the Twenty-Ninth

Man, I've wimped-out HARD since the last 200km winter-epic-slaughterfest-horrorshow that had been the December 2013 edition of R-1,000,000.  (riiight...)

A recent email exchange with my coordinator nailed it... it's not so much the temperatures, it's just that wind.  I do reside in Kansas, and - arguably - it's always windy here to some degree.  Various weather systems are either coming up from the gulf, sliding down the front range of the Rockies, or barreling down from Saskatoon.  

Saskatoon is in the room... 

Last night, laying in bed - pretending to sleep as I tried to crystal-ball whether or not I was wasting a perfectly good, potentially sunny day-off from work and associated ride - well, there wasn't much discussion.  The house creaked, tree screamed "uncle", and tormented howls wafted across the peaks of neighboring roofs as Canada delivered its latest helping of misery to the midwest.  I could see in my head images of a lone figure locked in battle once again with sub-freezing temps and crystalizing gales... teetering between heroism and futility.  A moment later, I became that lone figure astride, once again, a bicycle without enough gearing to endure the constant
virtual-mountain of a windstorm, frozen bottles and the associated dehydration, and chilled muscles struggling to fire against the onslaught of demand.

That December ride tapped into the "I've had worse" files pretty deep, it seems.  Short of one commute on the Warbird-reprise stud-shod fixxie, I've been a complete, quivering, hopeless mess of a winter-time fair-weather-cyclist.  It will pass.  Yet, today is satisfying me:  it's finally 20ºF outside, nearing the noon hour - so it won't get much better, despite full sunshine.  Even the mighty rays can't fight the buckets of icy air blowing in, still gusting above 20mph, though forecast to subside.  Sounds familiar.  I don't have another one of those in me.  Not yet.  

However, there is no "quit" button.  Not after what my friends and I have endured these last ten months or so.  As weird as my timing has been, plopping me straight into nature's path, it's helped me to further realize who I am - deep down.  For now, I suppose I just needed a little mental break.  That's typical of winter cycling for ANYone... which is where the whole "off-season" approach comes from.  It's not so much for the muscles as it is for the brain.  Indeed.

Plans are good things.  I have many.  For January, right after the new year's first dawn broke across my dusty keyboard the email had been sent.  Plan A, today... January 17th.  Plan B, the 26th.  Watch forecast carefully.  Stare at maps of North America on various weather websites, and see if I can outwit the professionals.  Repeat.  This streak is not going down without a fight --- but, today, realizing my choice did land feet-down, feels good.  The thoughts of fighting that frigid headwind 70 miles back home on the exposed expanse of old US-69...

No.  Thank.  You.

(keep it fun... keep it fun... keep it fun...)

Today instead, some literal fence-mending (thank you, windstorm.  grrr.), some bicycle TLC, some treadmill (or, my favorite substitute moniker borrowed from Noah: the dreadmill), some coffee, some household chores, some reading... brain-time.  The ride will come... relax...

Eyes on the 26th.  

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