Winter is done

DSC00346Even though it is still fall, I have decided to retire my summer bike, Winter, until spring. Though there is no snow on the ground, the roads are getting nastier each day. The amount of glass shards, grit and debris is increasing and I want to keep my road bike in good shape-I need her ready and raring to go for next year!

So she and I went for our last ride of the season today.  I rode knowing that it will probably be five months, maybe more before we ride together again.

I will miss the crisp click of clipping into the pedals. And sprinting down the road in the highest gear. And riding in the drops to fly down hills.

But we did have a great last day of riding together. The first nine miles there was a vicious headwind to fight, one of the strongest winds I have ever rode against. At times, when a particularly fierce gust would strike I was forced to drop into my second-lowest gear to maintain my cadence. To my right, a flock of geese was struggling to maintain their formation in the air.

Finally, I reached my destination, my brother and sister-in-law’s house. For a few wonderful hours I was able to hang out with my sister-in-law and play with my four adorable nieces and nephews. We sang lots of songs and played lots of games. Before I knew it, it was time to leave.

I knew exactly what I was in for on the way back to my parents’ house. Tailwind time! My bike and I went crazy. With the help of the wind, I was able to do something I have never done before on the flat-I was able to sustain 32-34 mph for minutes at a time. It felt insane. Someday I want to be able to do that without the need to exploit powerful gusts of wind.

I arrived at my parents’ house feeling like I was on top on the world. I made supper for my family, to celebrate my mom’s birthday. Afterward I left to head home to my apartment. Four miles, with a strong tailwind and two large downhill sections. They were the last four miles of the season for my road bike and I. And also the fastest. Winter wanted to go out on a high note, I guess.

That means it is up to me and the big guy to get through the next five months together.

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Are you ready, big guy?

There is really only one thing left to say. But I am not brave enough to say it out loud because for some reason, whenever I do, I get really dirty looks thrown in my direction. So all I will say is that it rhymes with…Stickerline-elsa-let-it-go

 

 

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This time, Fall is fun.

DSC01429On my ride home today, I reflected how different Fall was last year.

I was…
Spending every spare second reading articles about winter biking.
Scouring forums to learn from as many winter bikers as I could.
Analyzing winter gear like every decision could make or break me.
Thinking, “Can I really do this?” on every commute.
Hearing, “You are gonna die!”, from concerned family and friends.
Wondering, “Are snowplows going to see me?”
Hoping I hadn’t lost my mind.
Feeling scared.

I was so concerned about winter, the wonder of Autumn was completely lost on me. I missed out on enjoying the crops being harvested, the pumpkins, the squirrels storing acorns. The colorful leaves held no delight, every falling leaf was a signal that winter would come soon. Was I ready? I didn’t think so.DSC01450

But this year, Fall is fun. I enjoy seeing the animals scurrying around gathering food for the winter. The drop in temperature makes me smile instead of filling me with dread. The colorful leaves are splendid and delightful. And every falling leaf tells me, “Winter is coming!” This time, I know enough to be excited.