A New Definition of Fun

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Soft sand handles similarly to powdery snow. Cool beans.

I spent my morning gallivanting about the countryside. At one point my journey had an actual destination but I got sidetracked along the way.

I found a sandy trail to bike on, which then turned into a weird form of downhill cyclocross through the woods. Once my bike and I made it safely down the hill, we came across a trail of ice. Nice.

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I don’t think this was ever intended to be a trail of any sort.

It was great to be out in the backwoods of my county, exploring to my heart’s content. There were whitetail deer calmly grazing, American kestrels looking for prey and turkey vultures feasting on some dead animal. Racing down twisting country lanes, with no idea what will be around the next corner, that is where it’s at. (I use the term “racing” very loosely, of course.) DSC00082DSC00080

39 miles of fun.
And just as I got back into town, sleet/snow started to fall. What can I say? I have good timing!

After my ride I was out walking my dogs and it struck me how much my definition of “fun” has expanded.

Fun used to mean watching a movie, reading a book, cooking food and hanging out with my friends and family. Those things are still fun.

But now fun also includes spending hours on the saddle in below freezing temperatures.

Upper Body Update (week 18)

I still couldn’t get to 40 pushups again today. Maybe I miscounted before!

I can’t be too disappointed though. Muscles are popping out all over my arms and it is the weirdest experience ever to look at your own arms and not recognize them. Yesterday I grabbed a potato at work and noticed a bump near my wrist. Is it a growth? A swelling? Nope, just a muscle.

I just assumed if I worked on my upper body, my biceps would get bigger but oddly that one of the only places that I don’t see a difference. All the change is in my hands and lower arms and triceps. Now, I should clarify that while I can see a huge difference in the contours of my arms, I doubt the change is visible to anyone else. I could care less, it is just fun to look at my arms and realize that, yup, I am getting stronger. It is for real.

Note: I won’t be including the planking chart anymore because planking has evolved into simply being two fifty second holds to give me a “rest” before going into the last set of pushups in my routine.

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“But you must be so tired…”

I have been a busy little chicken the past week. Leaving work, I was exhausted.

That condition disappeared once I started pedaling, however. Biking home is a great way to perk up after my work day no matter the season. But Biking Home (The Spring Edition)? It more than perked me up, it gave me so much energy I might not sleep tonight.

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First.
I went down another abandoned snowmobile trail which happened to be covered by melting ice. It was the largest sheet of ice my bike and I have been on so far. In the spirit of experimentation, I stopped abruptly several times and took a few fast corners. Nope. Those studs would not give an inch of ground. Good going, little tires!

DSC00049Then.
I spotted Canadian geese returning from their southern journey. (I think the proper name is Canada geese but around here we call them Canadian geese.)

Also.
I saw pygmy goats frolicking around outside, I am guessing it was their first day out of the barn this year. I didn’t take any pictures though because their owners were outside with them.

DSC00060AND!!!!!
Flowers!!!!! Spring flowers are coming up! Beautiful crocuses are here. I saw them with my own two eyes.

When people talk to me about my bike commuting they often say, “But you must be so tired after working all day!” Yup, sometimes I am. That’s why I need to bike home.

Happy Easter!

I got to bike under the light of a full moon early this morning. Then the sky brightened and the sun started to peek over the horizon just as I pulled into church. The whole way I was singing, probably off-key, this Easter song.

“…and Death itself would start working backward.”
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

Not Without a Fight

DSC00025Yesterday, I stated that “spring is getting serious” and I stand by what I said.

However, winter is a fierce old warrior and dumped two inches of snow on us today in the early morning hours. At work people were complaining that, “It is April 4th, winter should be over by now”.

But winter is over, spring has already won. It has conquered the rivers. It has awakened the animals: birds, insects and mammals. It has helped the grass to begin growing again.

Now it would be perfectly acceptable for winter to save its pride and concede with dignity at this point. After all, winter had a good run this year. It draped the land in a thick layer of snow and held it there, unflinching for months. Now the power it once had wanes steadily every day, while spring continues to grow in might.

Winter, though, never surrenders. Today it summoned all the strength it could to cover the countryside in snow, knowing that the effort is in vain.DSC00029

Everywhere spring is taunting.
The river roars with victory.
The birds twitter in laughter at its feeble attempts.
The grass grows steadily greener.

People are grumbling as they trudge quickly through the melting snow.

Every instinct, every bit of common sense screams at winter to stop the fight, to move on, to rest and regain its power to use in full force at the end of autumn.

But winter battles on despite the taunts, the grumbling and the date on the calendar. While it has any strength left, it will fight.

And that is why I admire winter more than any other season.
It never gives up.

Spring is getting serious

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The river has melted!

It is warm enough for fog to exist again! I got to bike through some nice, dense patches this morning.

I have always liked the feeling of being swallowed by fog, with its air of mystery. The only downside to fog is the lack of visibility and prior to this winter I was always a little fearful biking in such conditions.

This morning, however, I was as confident as could be. Winter has taught me how to be cautious but fearless.

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The grass is getting greener every day!

This afternoon the temperature soared to 55 degrees! I left work wearing a t-shirt and pants. With the sun shining brightly I felt warm from something other than my body heat. So weird. A cool wind blew over my arms and around my ears, man that felt great! I pedaled home faster then I have since the beginning of November.

 

First spring cyclist sighting! On the ride home I passed two cyclists going in the opposite direction.

Gotta admit, when I see a cyclist decked out in an official looking jersey on a nice road bike I get just a tiny bit star struck.

Have they actually won races?
I have no idea but they look like they have which is good enough for me!

But how do I know for sure that spring is for real?DSC00020
A bug flew into my eye.
Yup, spring is officially a thing.

The Best of Both Worlds

30 Days of Biking has officially begun!

I woke up a little before 6am and after checking the weather I had a decision to make. Should I go on a bike ride to watch the sunrise while the temperature was at 15 degrees or should I wait until late morning when above freezing temperatures were predicted?

I decided to be a wimp and wait for the sun to warm things up a bit. A bit is right because the temperature choose to only get up to 24 degrees. Oh well, better cool than scorching hot.

I was eager to rid myself of my jacket, however, so I chose a road that climbed a plateau. Once my body warmed up I shed the jacket, excited to feel the cool air sweep over my bare arms. Yeah, it stung a little and my arms soon reddened from the chill but it was so worth it.

The road I was on was new to me and all of a sudden I found myself in a large barnyard, wondering if I had come to the end of the road.

Then I saw it. A snow covered path that went beyond the end of the pavement. I yelped with joy. Winter hadn’t surrendered completely yet.

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Begging to be explored.

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I love winter. I really love winter.

The snow was perfect. Hard enough so that I didn’t sink like a rock and soft enough to give me the “plowing through snow” feeling that I love. My grin was so wide that I am surprised my teeth didn’t fall out. Then I felt a quiet whisper, “Are you having fun yet?”. In times like these I feel God’s presence in such an overwhelming way that I don’t know if I should shout the glory of it or weep from joy.

I ended up doing a mixture of both.

I saw all sorts of animal tracks. Do turkeys eat cockleburs? Because the evidence I saw today sure made it seem that way. Tough stomached birds.

After a while the snow became too soft and I turned back. When I did the entirety of the river valley was spread out before me framed by the Adirondacks.

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Once I regained the pavement I flew down that road (after replacing my jacket of course) laughing. I met up with the main road and I had to ask myself the all-important question, to continue or go home. Too pumped to turn back I choose a different road to climb the same plateau again.

There were signs of spring everywhere; robins, trees tapped for sap and bare patches of earth. But more than that spring was in me. In my legs. In my heart. Deep down in my soul.

For the entirety of the ride home I could not wipe the dopey grin off of my face. How could I? I had just experienced the delight of winter and spring in one glorious ride.