Yesterday was the first day of the year that felt a bit spring-like. Snow was rapidly melting, including the big iceberg left by the VDOT front loaders across our sidewalk and lawn. It had a little help on the way out, thanks to Jane’s stomping and my using the garden spade’s blade like a gem-cutter’s tool to break off chunks and consign them to the gutter. It was warm enough for me to get out the hose and wash two cars and two bikes. For the cars, the mission was to ascertain that they are still Metallic Maroon and Hunter Green respectively, despite their generally Road Grime Grey color scheme since mid-December. For the bikes, it was a mission to get off the grit, spray the sand particles out of the drive train, and re-oil the chains and cables. Though the sun was out, and the vestigial snow mounds quickly shrinking, the northeast wind that cut through my Clyde’s sweatshirt was still biting.
Today, on the other hand, was the first day of the year that really was spring-like. So I mounted up my spick-and-span Trek, my main ride, and took a routine spin. I could have done this yesterday had it not been for the need to wash vehicles, plus the fact that my legs were really tight after a previous three days of hard riding in winter mode, on the Fuji, with a session on the mag trainer thrown in.
I guess you’d say that I committed to the reality of spring’s approach Saturday, when I took the Coda off the mag trainer and set out on a 28-mile ride. That ride felt so great, even though I had to “portage” over the snow bank at the junction or the right-of-way, both going out and coming back. In between, I verified that snow is melting all the way out to the western reaches of Herndon, but also that there’s a winter’s worth of debris, salt, sand, and road detritus in the so-called bike lanes of Fairfax County roads. Not that I want to whine; I’m still grateful that the Northern Virginia Park Authority plowed the Trail. They did a much better job of it than VDOT did on the roads. None of the plow-induced gouges, pits, and potholes that have made Rockbridge Street a prime candidate for repaving.
But today the wind actually felt warm, or at least cool rather than biting and frigid. The Trek felt practically weightless, and I was really grooving on the whole route down to Shirlington. No idiot trail-hogging dog walkers or mass walking groups clogging things–another reason I did not go out yesterday (Sunday) was the understandable clogged Trail I found Saturday, when everybody and her sister was out for the first time in seven weeks. But today, Monday, most of them were working and their dogs and kids were holding it until somebody comes home from work. So the Trek flew, until I had to turn around to head for home and hit a stronger-than-expected headwind. Even that was OK. The Trek felt fast, and even though my average speed wasn’t great, I knew that I was on the way back to in-season conditioning. It’s hard not to smile at everybody along the trail when you’re feeling so into it, drunk with the winds of spring and the joy of the sun.
©Arnold J. Bradford, 2010.