Friday, January 25, 2008

wouldn't want to overdo it

The optimism at the beginning of the week turned into a quest to not catch the bug that was going around at work. Two people, including Jon, each spent their two days off sleeping. Yes, sleeping! So, with the bug going around (& I usually catch whatever is going around), I decided to be on the safe side and not overdo it.

Maybe I can blame January because I slept extra, ate more and drank lots of fluids. And watched the conditions outdoors freeze and the snow pile up again. I think I missed the worst of that bug so I'm hoping next week will be better with more commuting days.

We're also gaining around 5 minutes of daylight each day. I notice the upswing every day around 4:30 in the afternoon when there's more light outside. Upswing, indeed.

Since I don't have a new picture this week and I've been reminiscing about our trip to New Zealand this time 4 years ago (oh, to return to NZ!), I'll leave with a picture from that trip.

This is in Havelock, on the South Island.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Pugs or studs?

That is the question
Whether it is best to have fat
Or to have grip
to plow through the deep,
Or lean into a corner.

Will it snow today,
Or will the Chinook blow in?

Each day in the winter begins with a question:
Riding or Driving?
This year, the second question is:
Which bike?

For me, the riding or driving question depends on the temperature. Which bike is a little more complex. Now that we have the Pugsleys along with our commuters - rigid Raleigh frames with SnowCat rims & 2.3 studded tires - sometimes it's just not obvious.

I didn't know the Pugs would handle as well as it does on the intermittent ice. Mostly it handles well. So well, in fact, that I've been riding it more than my studded bike. But yesterday, with the thermometer reading 30 degrees by 9am, we figured it was a good day for the studs. You don't always know which direction the weather will take, but safe to expect it to get warmer. And more slick.

The rain made it more than just a wet ride home. The streets and paths were glazed with a hard layer of ice that sounded like popcorn under our tires. After being on the Pugs, the Raleigh rode fast and I had to remind myself that I could lean into the corners a bit. Pushing higher gears on the Raleigh made me think about that first time on the road bike in the spring - how light it feels after pedaling all that extra weight around all winter.

Rain and sleet hit my exposed cheeks and nose, needle-like darts stinging while I pulled up my neck gaitor. One gust nearly stopped me from turning over my pedals as we made our way up Abbott Road. Not so easy now.

Once in the park, we hopped onto Moose Track Trail. The heavy use followed by the rain caused the trail to set up hard and fast - bomber. And, unlike many rides home at the end of the day, I had great energy. While I'm sure others were sad at the first Chinook of the new year, (not to mention mourning the Green Bay loss) it was a fun ride home.

Sometimes my friends (and even strangers) ask me how many bikes I have. I feel a little embarrassed counting them on my fingers. But, in the last week, I rode 3 of them. Granted, one was my road bike on the trainer. But I use bikes the way others use a car and a gym membership. Sure, I even drive a few times a week. But having the right bikes in the stable ups my commuting days, especially this winter. Can't feel too embarrassed about that.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

I see polar bears

I see shapes in clouds. In leaning, intertwined twigs. In snow-covered branches. I see a polar bear sniffing her cub.

I don't know what that means, but I wish it meant I was more creative. Maybe it means I'm a dreamer or that I see in people what others don't; in someone's actions; in the world around me. Maybe I'm an optimist who sees the potential in a shifting shape. Its ability to delight as it morphs from one form to the next like a Trickster. What form will it possess next?

Jon and I rang in 2008 on the multi-use trail above the Hillside Trailhead. Watching fireworks sent into the night by area residents, we were half-way into our bike ride when we stopped to watch the skies light up. A snack of chocolate to take us back across the park to home, then a glass of Port to welcome the year. Stood in the kitchen and wondered when we decided 20 degrees was perfect.

Today, while doing chores, I noticed the blue sky out the window so we took off for a hike. Only a few other cars at the Gorge Trailhead (you'll have to ask me where it is). We hiked into the state park on a somewhat trampled route, finishing our loop as the skies once again became dark. Not many days when we can get out during the daylight and explore. Lately, seems I always have a headlamp. But, we're on the upswing. Today, Anchorage gained two minutes of light. I'll count the minutes until I'm once again on a trail at midnight, sans headlamp.