Rides We Like: An Early Season Snowfall
(2018) Whenever I am asked my favorite kind of day, it certainly deviates from the average response. I love autumn days where the skies are clouded from sunrise to sunset. I love seeing pedestrians, hands in pockets, hustling to the nearest coffee shop for warmth in environment and beverage. I always notice blazing orange leaves more on days like this.
It was this type of day that saw me gear up and roll over familiar tarmac for one of my first long rides since ending my racing career. Comparatively speaking it was hardly notable with regards to those shorter summer loops. But hardly anything about the ride matched the high point of the season. There was an accumulation of snow from one of the earliest storms I can remember. Numerous grain carts were still in the farm fields as if waiting for some confused combine harvester to transfer its stores. Piles of leaves were now piles of snow frustrating neighbors awaiting community collection.
I love these days for so many reasons. As I rolled on still-mounted race tires that smoothed the cold asphalt, the cloudy weather quieted down the noise. Fewer cars were going places. Not many people were out doing yard work. The aforementioned farms were hibernating for a spell on account of the now muddy fields being too damaged from machines. On only two accounts did I see another cyclist riding. The encounters were as peaceful as the conditions.
I was mindful of my lost conditioning. Back issues had forced me off the bike for two months and I didn’t want to undo the progress. But there were those peaceful conditions enticing me to consider going for a bit longer. I know I’ve matured as a rider when the preservation voice has become louder than my performance voice. I pointed the handlebars home and enjoyed the ride simply.
When I returned I noticed the temperature was just above 40 degrees. It felt warmer than a handful of degrees above freezing. I made my way to the coffee machine and started a pot. This made me very excited on account of the coffee shops around the area were just a bit out of reach for my fitness and daylight. I did yearn for those old days when the embrocation was still simmering to put me in a trance on the couch post-ride. That late season daze was second to none with regards to relaxation.
I felt as though I was welcomed back to the cycling routes on this day. There was no staring at the rear cassette of a speedy paceline nor was there any hard effort, but the views were taken in at each opportunity. It is strange to return to cycling at the end of the year. It’s akin to arriving to a wedding reception an hour before conclusion, but to continue the metaphor, at least I am in good company. The Rapha Festive 500 is coming up, and it’s time to gear up for it. I love that I can say this again: I’ll see you out there.