Thursday, November 30, 2006

It's quiet. Too quiet...

This morning's fog and low clouds made the hour seem earlier than it was. I was reluctant to charge out before sunrise because of the bad visibility. And anyone who has ever seen the locals drive a country road knows that fast, innacurate driving is not just an urban problem.

Even though we moved our opening time to a more genteel late hour until business picks up at the northern outpost, I missed even that. But I got the ride.

Here at the shop, not a single customer has interrupted my quiet vigil. But two golf carts just whizzed by on the course that should be frozen solid and beginning to support our snowpack for the coming season. I should bring the 'cross bike to ride laps on the cart paths. With the building on its little knoll, I could set up a few challenges to make short outings interesting. Every few minutes I can duck in and see if anyone is waiting. The cordless phone might work quite a distance out from its base.

The gray light reflecting off the road this morning made it look dry, so I took the road bike instead of the fixed gear. It wasn't too bad, especially since I was in a hurry, but the tires stayed black and shiny for the whole ride, while wet grit accumulated on my backside. Now the sun is sort of out and the temperature is around 60. It's not natural.

No one can say for sure if this warmth is a bad sign for ski season. I've seen conditions turn from this to blizzards in previous years. I've also seen it just continue like this, pummelling the economy mercilessly. Sad to say, that is the more common scenario. But absolutely nothing is guaranteed. Is the snow cloud half full or half empty?

I'd rather ski in ski season, but I'll do whatever conditions require. Off-season cycling has a nice lunatic feel to it. Even when I dabbled in racing I got more out of challenging training conditions than from most of the races I entered. Those stolen rides in winter were a sweet taste of spring, a hint of the promise that faith would be rewarded. In a place where winter was more likely just a raw, wet interruption of the riding season there was no point in getting hooked on snow sports. As the north acts more and more like the south, I fall back on southern methods.

Economically, it's tough. Many more people will play on the snow than will defy gray, wet chill just to give the weather gods the finger and keep riding. I am doubtless more fond of the finger than is good for me, but the attitude keeps me going, mile after mile. There's glory in victory, but there can be deep satisfaction in persistence. Wax up the skis or pump up the tires, I'll see you out there.

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