Sunday, November 18, 2018

Robbed of the last of autumn

After a genuine winter-style snowstorm late night Thursday through a good bit of Friday, the roads cleared enough for me to snatch a ride before the next set of snowstorms. The snow has trashed the trail conditions, so my park and rides have become inconvenient. The next stage is to park and walk, which requires a longer drive to get within efficient walking distance. And I'll be walking back out in the dark. I would be riding in the dark anyway.

Some people just submit to the inevitable and ride the trainer in these conditions. I'm not sure what would give me sufficient incentive to ride the trainer or rollers on a regular basis. I would always prefer to be doing something real, outdoors. Not to disrespect the trainer riders. I salute them. The poor bastards.

Just over a month ago it was nice enough to stop for photo ops along Lake Wentworth.

New England says, "You knew what I was like when you moved in with me." It's true. And for the most part I just roll with it. Only after the park and ride became a realistic option did I get used to it and come to rely on it. And, every year, the park and ride season gets interrupted by some amount of snow. Early snow has tended to go away quickly enough to let the season continue, but the current storm pattern may blow that average.

Winter riding is best when conditions are "freeze dried." Dirt roads are firm and fast. The brine stays locked in the roadside snowbanks. It evaporates on the pavement to leave the classic white dust.

We're looking at a high of 19 and single-digit lows on Thursday. This follows snow chances starting tonight and running through Wednesday. With the sun approaching its lowest angle, it has no strength to attack even a small accumulation, and it's not up for very long anyway.

This time of year reminds me of my early years out of college, training and commuting in all weather in Maryland and northern Virginia. The winters are milder down there, but it's all relative: I was reacclimatizing after eight years in Florida. Beyond mere meteorological reminiscence, I can also tap into the blend of hope and desolation that permeated the period. There were roads, but no clear path. I was gathering information, while others in my peer group charged forward with learned certainties. The system works for those who do not question its validity.

That's not necessarily a good thing.

A raven spread its wings and wheeled above Route 25 as I rode toward the Ossipee River. A mountain rose to my right. Woods and fields dominate the scenery there. The cadence connected to every spin through every cold landscape in the same gear, year after year.


RANTWICK said...

I like it when you wax poetic; you're good at it. Having ridden a trainer a little bit for rehab purposes, I'm with you: Give me a bike outside please! I just sold mine.

cafiend said...

Thanks, man! I have tried to keep my poeticism well waxed. A little affirmation feels good.