You Know it’s Cold When…

I hardly have reason to complain in this year’s gee-I-wish-winter-was-over rant. My in-law’s from the Boston area are increasing their snow total from 82 to 96 inches this weekend, and it’s all come in two weeks. By comparison, we’ve had very little snow…15 inches, to be exact. The nordic trails opened just last week, but with our snow came bitter cold. Along with big boots and parkas that look like sleeping bags with sleeves, you know it’s cold in Northern Minnesota when you see people opening doors without removing their hands from pockets. This calls for a little explaining.

It’s a technique whereby we lean into a door leading into a retail establishment, for example, so as to open it. [Leaning into an automatic door can be embarrassing and dangerous, and the reader is encouraged to know the difference] With hands tucked into jacket pockets and elbows at the sides, you use your shoulder to push said door open. It avoids both touching bare metal and having to mess with putting on your gloves. This strategy is only effective with doors that open inward.

You’ve been warned.

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The Grey Goose Before the Bits Were Added

Several of my cycling friends have purchased fat bikes so they can better cope during the winter months. You must ride slowly because the huge tires will set to bouncing if you put much effort into pedaling, and besides, if you rode very fast you’d be frostbitten in no time…or at least severely hypothermic. To me this seems like a losing proposition: a lot to ask for a few minutes outdoors. I’d rather put money into my road bike.

My wife has grown skeptical of my line of reasoning when she hears me say that I’ll just take the money I would’ve spent if I had bought [insert item], and spend it on [insert item]. So when I told her the good news that I’m not going to waste money on one of those stupid fat bikes, but instead upgrade my road frame, she rolled her eyes. The cold makes us say and do desperate things, I guess.

After I explained that I had sold some bike parts and a few other things, she graciously gave her approval. I reckon, though, that I best find a replacement for the word UPGRADE. Whenever that word leaves my mouth I almost always get THE LOOK over the top of the glasses: Oh, I see. No explanation of weight saved or aerodynamic drag reduced cuts the mustard. The word hangs in the air between us as if the cheese, rather than the mustard, had been cut.

But she is a good sport – immensely supportive of my riding. She proved it again by coming up with a name for the new bike: the Grey Goose.  It’s a poetic nod to avian migratory habits in this part of the country and the soft and flowing lines of an aero frame.

014And so, I dwell in the basement during these cold months…grunting and sweating on my trainer, albeit on a new frame. I have plenty of time to adapt to a lower, more aggressive position while I prepare for the coming season. With my hands out of my pockets, clad in bib shorts, and with Elmer Fudd hat and jacket hanging in the upstairs closet, I spin and weave my bicycle dreams. The hours go by fast enough – even by indoor standards. The added benefit is that I can conveniently atone for my nutritional sins…including tonight’s double helping of creme brule.

On this Valentine’s day, thanks sweetie. I couldn’t have done it without you. Can I tell you about the reduced aerodynamic drag coefficient sometime?

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The Cycling Man Cave of the Basement Dweller

 

 

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