Sunday, January 23, 2005

Lessons

Lessons I spent this afternoon learning at the feet of one of the masters, Old Man Winter. And what did I learn, you ask? Well, for one thing, I learned that when riding mountain bikes in sub 30 degree temperatures with a blustery wind, clothing layers are good. I also learned that keeping my ears and core warm is vital. I learned that my husband is an amazing person - if you glance at my photo gallery from today's ride, you'll notice that he managed to take most of the pictures while riding one-handed, holding his glove in his mouth, and using his free hand to snap the photos! Finally, I learned that I'm apparently not as tough as I used to be. The cold just cut right through me today, despite multiple layers of very appropriate dress for the ride, and I found that even the simplest stretch of trail taxed every fiber of my being, both mentally and physically. Perhaps it was the very thick bulky windproof gloves or the fact that the rubber tread on my tires had frozen during the ride - yes it happens, test it yourself - but I had a very difficult time "feeling" the bike and I felt very disconnected, more like a hapless passenger than the driver. Regardless, it was good to be back out on the trail, especially after being away from it for a while, what with the uncooperative weather we've been having as of late, as well as my own necessary preoccupation with physical therapy and my job which have been pretty much consuming most of my time for the past couple of weeks. We even ran across a couple of other foolhardy souls out braving the stinging chill of the bitter icy wind, just to feel the crunch of the frozen ground under equally frozen tires. Despite all the difficulties of riding when it's so cold though, it was a gorgeous sunny day, and even a few birds were out and about chirping and foraging, along with the couple of deer I was fortunate enough to spot at the opportune moment when I had my camera available. Now that I'm thawed again and in the comfort of my own home sitting by the warmth of the fireplace, the beauty and joy of just being out in the woods with all of nature on today's ride is much move vivid to me than the icy wind or how my toes seemed to burn with cold when I clipped in to my pedals. Funny how the mind works, isn't it?

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