Friday, February 15, 2008

Heat wave

Date: Feb. 14
Mileage: 40.2
February mileage: 199.5
Hours: 4:00
Temperature: 39

I set out today under drizzly skies and my very best slush suit. The weather forecast called for 42 degrees.

I shimmied the handlebars over what after three solid days of rain has finally returned to bare pavement. The studded tires crackled and I tried to remember the last time I rode this mountain bike; before I moved - two weeks, at least, maybe three. The last time I rode this mountain bike, the hub froze. Today it darted across the pavement, light and fast. A cool 35 pounds lighter than my fully-loaded Pugsley. I felt an invisible burden lift away.

The rain started to dry up just as the sweat started to flow. I stopped to peel off my layers - balaclava and gloves stuffed in pockets. The fleece hoodie tied around my waist. Bare skin and a 15 mph tailwind. Only the decimated snowpack betrayed an exciting sensation of summer.

I arrived at the glacier in what seemed like record time - something more akin to summertime mileage. My fitness goals behind me, I pulled the bike up to the edge of the lake and made myself a comfortable seat in the snow. I pulled a Clif Bar out of my handlebar bag, soft as a freshly baked cookie. I took tiny bites as I gazed at the skyline of the surrounding mountains, the way the glacier curved downward like a shattered S, the reflections in overflow across a plane of rotting ice. I wondered if I had ever lingered in one spot at the glacier this long. I've always been on the verge of rushing off somewhere else ... the pursuit of mileage; the urgency to stay moving and stay warm. Today even my wet feet felt toasty in their cocoon of Neoprene as I sat, still, for a while, soaking it all in.

I thought this may be a nothing ride. Junk mileage. And everything I needed.