Thursday, March 6, 2014

How to Survive Late Winter

Even the squirrels and sparrows -- stalwarts of the New England outdoor scene -- are muttering that it's been a long, long winter.

Folks around here are prone to complaining about the weather even when it's nice ("It won't last.")  Myself, I've been cheerier about winter than ever this year, because when it first snows, I can cross-country ski, and when it gets icy and packed, it's perfect for fat biking. I'm set. And... even I'm ready for temps in the 30s.

Still, Will and I got out for a crazy-good ride early Monday morning, taking the twin Mukluks into a trail network right in my 'hood. I scouted them out over the last few years with my Vaya, but bouncing around on them on a dirt-road touring bike isn't nearly as fun as this was. We started with a long, twisty, downhill thrill ride on snow and ice and then were shot out at the bottom onto fast-moving snowmo tracks across a farm field. Exhilirating, especially in 10-degree weather. We then poked around down by the Connecticut River on sled trails. I'm finally finding my legs on that beastly-heavy thing; I was able to scoot up some seriously steep, icy ramps. "Take that, 50!" I cried out, having turned half a century just last week, and look: I'm climbing stupid, slippery steeps. Ha!

Also fueling the inner late-winter stove is the process of planning a 50th birthday celebration this summer: A boys' bike camp in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. Should be a blast; road rides with killer alpine views, and Mukluk jaunts in the famed Kingdom Trails, 100 miles (you read that right) of curvy, giggle-inducing singletrack way out back of beyond. Combine that with camping out on a lake where we can hear the shivery call of the loons as we sit around the fire recounting our bravery and stupidity, and you have the perfect cocktail for March daydreams.

There's still winter fun to be had, but breathing through damp wool and losing feeling in my fingertips is losing its charm. Maybe I should order a pair of fat bike fenders for mud season, just to rev myself up a it?


New England Bicyclist said...

Nice 50th plans. Way more involved than mine but you should make sure it happens.

Velosopher said...

Thanks! Mine is harder to plan, but yours was harder to do.