Springtime in the Arctic

bernard-hinaults-springSpringtime in Northern Minnesota is a dream interrupted by the nightmare of winter in a frozen swamp. Twice I’ve ridden only in a long sleeve jersey and leg warmers – followed by 35 degree temps and icy winds the next day. It didn’t help that I bumped into some friends yesterday who’d just gotten back from a road trip to points south. They were sure to tell me about all the green grass they saw in Oklahoma.

I could not find it in my heart to share in their excitement.

I don’t think I’d want to ride there, anyway. Too many tornadoes and such.

I’m supposed to do a 2 hour indoor ride today, but I’m procrastinating. I’m running out of strategies to trick myself into getting motivated for another workout on the trainer. I have videos of beautiful places. I have coaches yelling at me from the TV screen. I have structured workouts, Turner Classic Movies, and the Waking Dead. But it’s a sign of the season when the only thing that can make me turn the cranks with purpose is Aerosmith at excessive volume.

Don’t get me wrong. I mean, I’ve had my share of 35 degree rides this spring. I’m sure it’s improved my moral fiber, hardened me up and made me a better person. So if you’re from SoCal and you consider 50 degrees a cold wave, try and cut me some slack. All of us up here are doing the best we can.
badgerIt takes one moderately sunny, somewhat-not-cold outdoor ride, and I start pacing the cage. I find myself scanning Weather Underground four times a day, looking for that elusive next break in the frozen shenanigans. I cross reference other weather websites looking for the most hopeful forecast…and then curse them for being mistaken.

BUT IT WILL COME. The signs are there. The glacier on the driveway has receded. Long lost dog toys are no longer entombed in the snowbanks – much to the delight of our two cohabiting German Shepherds. Sometimes the heat switches off for an hour or two in the afternoon…

It must come, because it always does. The days are longer, and filled with the soon to be realized promise of  mud, mosquitoes and the gaseous fragrance of thawing wetlands. In not too long us pasty Minnesotans will emerge from hibernation and stand blinking in the sunlight. We’ll undo the top two buttons of our flannel shirts and smile.

It will be springtime in the arctic.



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