Today in FoCo, I woke up to a temp of -9. The super cold temp and recent snow are not conditions I prefer to ride in. Busses don’t run on Sunday so getting around in environmental conditions like this are challenging when a bike is your primary option. Could I UBER? Sure. Could I ask a neighbor if I could borrow his truck? Of course. I don’t want to. I decided to wait it out until the temperature was at least 20 before heading outside and attempting to go the grocery store.
The most difficult thing for me about riding in winter is riding through soft snow mixed with and over ice. It’s slow going. However, again, I realized that these kind of conditions get me into the zone. I’ve written about this previously ~ describing the “zen” of winter riding. It’s a psychological and physical space of complete peace.
My typical 10 minute ride to the grocery store took about 30 minutes one way today. I had to go slow as I was riding over ice and am learning you’ve got to ride loose. If you can do that, and when you do, something magical happens.
This kind of riding reminds me of a very similar feeling I’ve experienced before. I lived in Hawaii for a short time many years ago and started to learn how to surf. I skateboarded as a child so this felt similar but the power and force of waves and the unpredictable nature of water made surfing all the more challenging yet awesome when I was finally able to ride a wave for awhile.
Riding on ice covered by a semi-frozen slush of soft snow with hard packed snow got me into that same place today. I lost track of time, my mind was free, and everything felt connected and beautiful.
I think a lot of being able to ride in more extreme weather conditions is as much a mental endeavor as it is being prepared physically. This was another day that reinforced my opinion that winter riding is not such a bad thing and in fact, can be very enjoyable and transformative.