3 Great Things About Spring

berries

I loved seeing this little cluster at the park.

It is possible that by reading this blog you have observed that I am fan of winter. Snow makes me happy, it is as simple as that. But I can’t really be sad at the end of winter when the snow melts and disappears into the rivers and streams, because the end of winter means the beginning of spring.

And spring is awesome.

In the past three days I have experienced three great things about spring.

Biking Buddies
On Tuesday, after months of biking all by my little lonesome, my brother agreed to join me for a ride. I love biking by myself, in my own little world, but biking with a buddy is completely fabulous.

We went to a state park to hang out and take some pictures, I rode home with a huge smile on my face. Thanks man!

thawed river

This is the river I cross every time I ride to work, by Wednesday all the ice had completely melted.

Bare Arms
The past three days I have been riding in short sleeves, it feels great! One thing I adore about wearing short sleeves in the 40-60F zone is that I can really pick up what the air around me feels like. I love the cool pockets of air beside the melting rivers and dark forests, the warmth that comes from passing by a barn and how in every twist and turn in the road the air can be a different temperature. It is especially noticeable at night when I only have the road ahead to focus on.

Then today, I was able to bike in the rain. It felt so great to feel the rain pelt my arms after a winter with multiple cold rains where I had to be bundled up.

foggy day

It was rainy and foggy today.

The Road Bike
I took the road bike out for the first time today. I should have waited until tomorrow when the roads will be dry and clean from today’s rain, but I couldn’t help myself. My road bike was right there, all ready to go and the temptation overcame me.

The first few miles I was a newborn foal, stumbling around on its brand new legs but then muscle memory clicked into place and it was smooth sailing. Oh man, I forgot how fast and quiet this bike is! Since most of my riding (especially in winter) is for transportation purposes, I ride the same routes over and over again. But today biking the familiar route up to my nephew’s and nieces suddenly felt bizarrely short. I feel like the world has shrunk!

When I finally had my “riding no-handed” breakthrough this winter, Jim told me it would be even easier on a road bike. After ten miles of getting reacquainted with my bike, I was ready to try it out. The first couple times I was too timid, I brought my hands up into the air for a second but quickly replaced them when I felt the bike wobble. Seeing the unfamiliar skinny tire in front of me did nothing to build my confidence. But on the third try I took a deep breath, told myself that I could do it and sat completely upright.

Oh my goodness! It felt so stable and smooth and natural that I may never want to ride no-handed on a mountain bike again.

dirty bike

It needed a good cleaning when I got back home.

Three great things and spring has only just begun.

Errand 5
Park Visit with my brother
Category: Wild Card (I am putting this in the Wild card category because it took me by surprise, I wasn’t expecting anyone to ride with me!)
Distance: 18 Miles
Biking with real, living people is awesome.

Errand 6
Commuting
Category: Work
Distance: 20 Miles
When it is so warm out that you have to put ice cubes in your water bottle, you know it’s spring.

Errand 7
Visiting My Sister-in-Law
Category: Social Call
Distance: 26 Miles
How do my nephews and nieces get cuter every time I see them?

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When it rains, it pours.

I arrived back home from work a little while ago and I must admit, I am all tuckered out. The weekend up in Maine combined with sleep deprivation and 15+ hours of riding in the back of a car smushed between two of my brothers took its toll. It was worth it though! The wedding was simple and sweet, the reception was fun and seeing my cousins, aunts and uncles again made my heart happy.

My mom and dad spent the first years of their married life in Maine so every time we visit, they point out different places they worked or houses they lived in. This trip though I found out my dad has been holding on to a secret. He was a bike racer! (It may have been one race but I am pretty sure that still counts.) He took us on the loop the course was on, around Lake Auburn. So beautiful. I didn’t have my camera on me of course, because I make foolish decisions in life.

DSC00438

I am going to pretend that this is Lake Auburn but it is actually a lake in New York. But maybe no one will notice.

And even though I rode in between my 15 and 18 year old brothers for over 800 miles and we were all pretty squished, the trip up and back was its own brand of fun. We fought over Swedish fish (and named them all), convinced our mom that we had various health problems, planned out a future of petty crime for our 15 year old brother involving tomatoes and cliffs, made faces at cars (that was all them), I sang the educational songs I listened to on car rides in days of yore (they threatened violence so I ended without singing the States and their capital’s song, which made me sad), ate junk food and tried to sleep. It was great.

I was able to crawl into bed at a fairly decent hour last night and when I woke up the first thing I heard (after my alarm clock) was rain pounding on the roof. We have had a dry spring, with a light rain here and there, so this was our first real downpour of the season. At 4:15 I decided it was time to face the storm.

There is something to be said for biking in pouring rain. It makes me feel so vulnerable to be exposed to the weather, but also so strong because I can conquer it. It is similar to the feeling I get biking in a snowstorm, but during the winter I am all covered up in layers of protective clothing. In a spring rain, I get to feel it all, there are no barriers. Water covering my arms and face, soaking through my clothes, dripping into my shoes. It feels like being a kid again, I get to splash through puddles!

And then I arrive at work and I have become the puddle, a walking puddle. I spread the rainwater all over the floors, so much water that once I have changed I grab a mop to clean up my tracks.

“It is nasty out, you should have called someone to pick you up.” My boss tells me.

“But rain is fun, and there are puddles.” I reply.

“Then more power to you, I guess.” She says.

But there is one part of biking in the rain that isn’t fun. That part happens after my shift when I take off my oily, food-scented clothes and replace them with my still wet biking clothes for the ride home. I hopped on my bike as soon as possible to warm up. And all the way home it rained.

After all, if my clothes are wet they might as well get dripping wet, right?