Fire in Ice

Today I came to several groundbreaking realizations:

1. If you are wearing a down coat, no one suspects you could be shirtless underneath. This feels very sneaky and fun.
2. A cornered possum does not have that much it can do to defend itself from predators.
3. If you have not raced in several months, it’s tough to tell how you will do in your first race despite hard days on the bike.

angry possum


Perhaps these things don’t have much in common; such are thoughts as they cascade on a cold winter day.

Yesterday’s jaunt in the snow was (I hope) one of my last nasty winter rides for the year. Next week I line up with the rest of the probably-more-tan-than-me pros at Mellow Johnny’s Pro XCT for a test of who’s done their homework.

The sky today was in conflict: snow one minute, and the curiously warm rays of the golden afternoon sun the next. I was content just to get anything in today – the last week has been miserable. Two days of trainer rides; a cold windy motor-pace day; and today seemed to have me in pajama-mode not wanting to ride bikes. I found motivation in that I will be in sunny Texas soon and the winter is nearing an end here in Virginia – the warmer conditions to come are the rewards for the hard winters days.

I was SO glad I made it out to the mountains because it was beautiful. There was some exploration to be had and I even got in some tempo climbing on one of my remote go-to training grounds. The sky swirled one minute with snow curtains and ink colored clouds. Then as if by script I ascended a south-facing climb of shale and long gold grass and the heat was twice what I expected – my own personal desert. The fire in the sky has come back and it was not to be denied.

gold grass

I enjoyed the rest of the ride; the rain sprinkles, a new logging track I have never seen before, and the general feeling of working outdoors is invigorating especially given how busy the coming month will be. After the ride, I changed out of my clothes and realized I’d forgot a shirt. So, jeans and a parka it was. As I went in to pick up some spicy Indian carryout, I smiled knowingly.

The pre-season has been a good one; with a lot of tough training, good times with friends and family over the holidays, and camps in Cali and SC.

It is always better out there than you think it will be and you’ll be glad to be outside feeling alive. So, when in doubt: get out!

Perhaps no one else knows what’s under the parka, but I do and it’s a lot of bike rides and some solid good times outside.


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