Sunday, April 14, 2013

Almost Too Cold for Pictures

Almost too cold to ride, in fact. After a dark and cloudy week of rain and sleet and snow and ice, today is grey (surprise surprise!), windy, and rainy. Thunderstorms are hovering in the forecast. Temps are in the 30s and wind chills in the 20s. I resign myself to another indoor ride on the trainer...


...but late in the afternoon, the sky lightens a bit. The sun deigns to glance through the cloudy ceiling at intervals - though each time he immediately withdraws to his warm room upstairs. The temp has climbed to over 40º and the wind chills are now into the tolerable 30s. What the heck, I think. I ask Tallulah if she's game for a ride. She is, and we decide to go for it.

I plan a route that will take us into the wind on the way out, giving us a tailwind on the way home. Just as well; today's wind is icy, insistent, unrelenting -  around 20 miles per hour, gusting to 29. Every so often it pauses for breath so it can blow even harder. I think about turning around, but Tallulah reminds me of the many people with MS who can't ride at all. She tells me how lucky I am to be out cycling. We think of Calvin and Hobbes, and how Calvin's dad would probably say that a wind like this builds character. (My character seems rather to be shrinking - probably from the cold.)

We pass horses who look at us and snicker at our lack of protective fur coats:


...and others who, very sensibly, have turned their backs to the wind:


(We are heading straight into it.)

Our course eventually turns to the right, and for a blessed mile or two the headwind becomes a crosswind. We stop to catch our breath, and Tallulah gazes intently over the wintry countryside.


"What are you looking for, Tallulah?"

"Spring," she replies. "But I can't see it anywhere. Shouldn't there be leaves? And flowers? Why is there still so much ice on the ground?"

"Well, this is Wisconsin." (I can't think of anything else to say.) The wind blows even colder, and we begin to wonder if all this talk of spring is nothing but a hoax.

Just then, a blackbird sings from a nearby tree: "It's here, it's here, it's just sleeping late. Wait, wait, wait. It'll get better, it will." We heave a sigh of relief and get back on the bike.


Our road turns again, back into the wind. We're climbing now - only a gentle grade - but it feels like a mountain. Another turn, and we're out on the high prairie. The wind screams, trying to push us off the road. Just a couple more miles of this and our course will turn away from the wind. Just a couple more miles. We turn another corner....

And suddenly, we're riding. Not struggling, not freezing, not pushing against an invisible wall. Just riding. The world and our minds have become quieter places. We see fresh grass growing at the side of the road. A long valley opens out before us; cows walk calmly across a field. A hill looms up and we take it in our stride.

(Headwinds may build character, but there's nothing like a tailwind for lifting the spirits.)

We fly down the wintry road, stopping only once at my favourite willowy curve, where the winding stream, swollen by rain, is now a young lake:


"Look!" says Tallulah. "There's some more grass!"

"I see it too!" I reply. (Neither of us mentions the ice at the edge of the water.)

Tallulah closes her eyes and imagines what it will look like here when the weather warms up. "Just think," she says in a dreamy voice. "Sunshine ... blue skies ... won't it be wonderful?"

"Wonderful," I say. We get back in the saddle and head home.

Dreaming of spring

~ ~ ~

P.S. Don't tell Tallulah, but here's our forecast for the coming week:

(sigh)

Spring is certainly taking its time this year.

How is your weather?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

33 comments:

  1. Poor you and everyone in Wisconsin. The ride was beautiful from here, but I bet you were so glad to get back home into the warmth and have some hot chocolate.
    Hugs to you,
    Meredith

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was wonderful to get inside. I cranked up the oven and made a huge pan of roasted veggies for dinner. And leaned on the oven while they baked. :)

      Hot chocolate ... why didn't I think of that?

      Delete
  2. glad you both enjoyed my book suggestion... i have another, for you. "Food Inc.: A Participant Guide: How Industrial Food is Making Us Sicker, Fatter, and Poorer-And What You Can Do About It"...

    and you can search for the video of "Food Inc." on uTube. or rent it from your library.

    then there is The Omnivore's Dilemma....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Auntie. I have read Fast Food Nation which was depressing enough for one decade ... perhaps I'll do Food Inc. in five years or so when I feel I can take it. ;)

      Haven't read Omnivore's Dilemma, but I did read Michael Pollan's "In Defense of Food" and enjoyed it.

      Delete
  3. You and Tallulah are quite a pair! We're having rain too, but temps in the 70's and 80's.
    You're lucky your French teacher liked you, my Spanish teacher didn't much like me and I was ALWAYS in trouble there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My French teacher was very nice and a pretty cool guy. Probably my favourite teacher through all of high school.

      Enjoy your WARM rain! :)

      Delete
  4. Brrrrr. You and your little companion are made of much sterner stuff than I am.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks ellen - if we didn't have Bike MS to train for I'd have stayed inside for sure. Plus the weather website said the wind was only 15 mph before I left. It jumped up about the time I got on the road (dang it). :)

      Delete
  5. I don't wish to gloat, but here in the UK we have had sun and warmth, today we got to 17 Centigrade.

    You are brave to ride in those conditions!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am so glad you guys got some sunshine and warmth! You need it after the last month or two of rain and snow and snow again. :)

      I live for the day we hit 17 centigrade here.

      Delete
  6. YOu have the cutest posts...Yes it is here, just sleeping late is right!!


    Spring...please we cannot wait much longer this is beginning to feel like GROUND HOG day the movie in Chicago

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    Replies
    1. Oh my gosh, yes - it's EXACTLY like Groundhog Day! I swear if it hadn't been for the blackbirds yesterday I would have thought it was winter. Still.

      A few leaves on the trees would be a great encouragement. :)

      Delete
  7. I love reading about your adventures Sue, our weather has turned a bit warmer thank goodness, very windy and a lot of showers I can out up with those it's the bitter cold I find hard to bear, hope your weather improves very soon. xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We don't mind the bitter cold as much as the damp cold....

      So glad you have some warmth across the pond! Send it here when you've had enough, please. :)

      Delete
  8. Well done for going out. It is horribly windy here too, but actually beginning to feel warm. Yay! Juliex

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    Replies
    1. Hooray for warmth - we had a few hours of it today (Monday). Then the clouds moved back in and it rained. Ah well. :)

      Delete
  9. Well you certainly had a lovely outing on your bike! It looks as if you may be in for more showers, but it's good to remember the phrase:
    "March winds and April showers bring forth May flowers!"

    Have a great week, whatever the weather!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Sandra - it didn't feel lovely at the time (she says querulously). :) But it was very good exercise!

      We'd better get LOTS of May flowers at this rate.

      Delete
  10. Yesterday was a beautiful day, the sun came out, the temps went up, and the wind died down. Of course today we are back to dark, cold, and generally ugly.
    I think spring took a wrong turn. Or a long winter's nap. LOL Maybe if we ll chant she will wake up.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What shall we chant? Obviously pouring cold water on her hasn't worked....

      :)

      Delete
  11. You are brave. I have not yet dared a ride. Still waiting for spring and the temperature to rise above freezing.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I am desperate. :)

      I have to get ready for a 146-mile weekend ride at the end of June ... otherwise I'd be hunkered down indoors sipping hot drinks and eating chocolate!

      Thanks for commenting!

      Delete
  12. I was just watching the weather channel report of another major snow storm in Colorado and we are supposed to get down to 36degrees tonight.....I better go cover the plants I just bought...but perhaps the tulip pictures I just posted will give you hope, Sue.
    xx,
    Gracie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yikes! 36 degrees is cold for you guys. Will have to check out those tulips.... :)

      Delete
  13. My goodness, you are inspiring. And Grayseasailor is right. A low of 7 tomorrow night! Already three new inches on the ground with up to seven more coming before it's over. I so admire you for getting out there when the weather isn't perfect! Keep inspiring me!!!

    (The mountain bike's going to get a spin tomorrow if we have a snow day...)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You guys are tough cookies. I wouldn't ride in the snow unless my life depended on it. :) Well, maybe if I had the right gear....

      Low of 7 sounds very nasty for April. Poor hyacinths!

      Delete
  14. Love coming out on your bike rides with Tallulah as I'm stuck inside on my crutches. Can't wait to get out on my bike again!

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    1. I'll bet ... and vicarious riding is but a poor substitute. I hope the time goes quickly for you, Paul.

      :)

      Delete
  15. Oh poor Tallulah, she will have to just hang in there waiting for this elusive Spring! I don't think I'm ever going to forget my freezing cycling experience back in February, you are brave Sue. We had the most glorious sunshine on Sunday but its been grey and chilly since. I did go for a quick half hour cycle last night as the sun appeared for about 1 hour and I ceased the moment! xxx Penny

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    1. I think we got that glorious sunshine on Monday morning and Tuesday. It was a lifesaver ... and now we are really seeing grass all over the place. Next, leaves!

      Thanks Penny. :)

      Delete
  16. Seriously, there is nothing like finally getting to turn into that tailwind! We had a crazy windy late winter/early spring here in the DC area, but it has finally died down. The wind blew downhill in pretty fierce gusts for about 2 1/2 months straight. Going home uphill is vastly more pleasant now!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. It was wonderful to finally get the tailwind. Honestly the ride was more or less miserable up to that point....

      Glad your wind has finally changed! :)

      Delete
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