Springmageddon II

Another day of snowstorm meant another good ride in the snowstorm, this time a ramble with my friend Michael on the gravel roads south of town. The ride was marvelous: two hours and 20 miles of extremely variable conditions, including a stiff headwind on the way back home. We encountered a bit of everything, from snowy descents and icy climbs

and greasy mud under the snow

to gorgeous tree-lined “trails”

and wildlife oddities like a woodcock in the roadside scrub. What a day.

Blizzard Ride

Expectation, or dread, had built for days here about a big spring blizzard due to arrive on Friday – my birthday – with wind, ice, sleet, and snow. The storm showed up a little late, but by late morning today had started fulfilling the forecast: horizontal snow, clattering ice pellets, a mounting drift in our backyard, a roaring wind, cancelled social plans, and above all gnashing of teeth on Facebook.

It’s been a while – at least a year – since I’ve been able to ride in a real blizzard, so I wasn’t about to waste the opportunity, and luckily both girls had engagements with friends. At one, shivering with excitement, I kitted up and headed over to the Carleton Arboretum (off-limits to fatbikers all winter) for an easy, fun ride in the snow and wind.

And, it turned out, some sleet, which fell for the first half of the ride. But the temperature was comfortable and the wind really only mattered in the open spots. I went slow, taking time to study the treetops for owls, which I am longing to see. I didn’t see any owls, but I did see several red-tailed hawks, including one stalking a red squirrel. I stood and watched for a few minutes, but the hawk couldn’t quite time a swoop to successful nab the squirrel, which eventually scampered into an impenetrable thicket.

Riding on, I admired the gorgeous wintry trees,

looked down at the oxbow in Spring Creek as well as numerous ducks, geese, and two herons

did a little hike-a-bike where the drifted snow was too heavy to pedal

and saw almost no humans – some college kids wandering around, a family sledding, another fatbiker, and a few people downtown at the brewery (including, impressively, a couple who had skied over with their baby and dog!). If this is the last ride of the winter, it might also have been the best one.

Birthday Resolutions

New Year’s 2018 arrived at a bad time to make resolutions; I unexpectedly stayed overnight on New Year’s Eve in Rice Lake, Wisconsin, after taking far too long to finish the Tuscobia 160 fatbike race. I was too tired to drive back home on 12/31, as planned, and far too worn out to write up any resolutions, either that day or the next, after getting home in the new year.

Turning 45 today seems, though, like a suitable moment to come up with some resolutions for the next orbit of the sun. So:

  • Waste less time in the evenings and at night on my phone and iPad.
  • Spend more time writing stuff that really matters, especially my “book” on fatbike racing, which is slowly coming together but could use some serious attention.
  • Practice some daily habits that make me happier when I do them but that I often make excuses not to do: it’s too late, I’m too tired, I don’t have time, etc.
  • Keep up my journal on a more regular basis, ideally at least daily.
  • Write at least a short blog post – maybe centered on a photo – each day.
  • Learn how to do two physical things that have eluded me for years:
    • riding a wheelie on my bike
    • doing double-unders with a jump rope at the gym.
  • Go on more rides that are just fun: to see a sight, to visit friends, to simply tool around town.
  • Read at least two books a month. (I’m within a few pages of finishing two different books right now, and I sure am going to count them for April!)
  • Text with my sister and mom more often!
  • Eat more goddamn fruit and vegetables!