As a kid I always loved snowstorms. Snuggled in bed, listening for the “Arlington: no school, all schools, all day” announcement on WHDH, I felt the excitement of a break in routine, a day of play, a missed Latin vocabulary test. No matter the passing years, I still feel the same anarchic thrill.
But now it’s mitigated by the fact that my play is cycling. Snow is death to cycling. There are no special tread designs, studs, or tire chains that will make a bike go in the snow. Even Andy Hampsten, on his epic Giro d’Italia ride on the Gavia in 1988, was only dealing with a slushy inch or two, and he had the support of a team car. So the expected one to two inches that became in fact five or six inches on Saturday (the snowfall that exceeds predicted amounts is a bonus thrill) inspired in me a sense of resignation as well as the joy of a winter wonderland.
In Virginia snow usually melts so quickly that the average snowfall is half gone by the next day. But this year we’ve had sustained periods of relative arctic cold. Yesterday the high was 23.6 degrees, the low 19.6. The snow was fluffy, and it crunched underfoot the way real snow is supposed to. But around here there’s no hope of playing hockey on natural ice, as such snow would inspire me to in Massachusetts. The geology of Virginia results in only two natural lakes or ponds in the entire state, while every Massachusetts town has several ready-made natural ice rinks. So around here cold air does not mean more skating, only more waiting to be back on the bike. Our house has a southern exposure, so the neighborhood shared snow blower and my shovel let yesterday’s solar radiation do its work. My driveway and sidewalk are clear and dry. But unless I just want to ride back and forth up and down the block, I have a lot more waiting to do.
Put me back on my mag trainer.
©Arnold J. Bradford, 2010