Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Warmth Alone Does Not Make Spring

Even with a day or two on which local riders went out in shorts, the bizarre warmth and lack of snow gets us no closer to the real easy-living weather of true springtime.

In what we had called normal seasons, we would slide out of the melting glacier in early or mid-April. More intrepid riders would have taken any opportunity that came up during the entire winter. We might have been keeping a somewhat regular schedule since late March. But the last blows of winter would assure that we had to go back indoors or switch back to our favorite cold-weather pursuits several times before we could go out for our spring classics and hypothermic epics on the sandy roads of April.

The biggest swarms of riders wouldn't hit the roads until the much warmer weather arrived in late May. They come out with the bugs.

In early April, the trees still stand bare. Close inspection shows the buds are swelling, but from a distance the forest looks gray and desolate. It's nice, if you happen to like gray desolation. But it gets old.

Cold winds sweep down from the mountains. The snow retreats up them. The heights go from white to dappled. Squalls of mixed rain, sleet and snow challenge the early-season rider. We dress in layers and dream of shorts, short-sleeved jerseys and sunny days. It gets us through the month or six weeks of grinding through the grayness.

Warm winter makes the gray grind longer. Daylight is short. Drivers are sealed in their sensory deprivation tanks, unprepared to deal with us.

After a few more years of this we will get used to it. It just seems weird now.

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