Friday, December 17, 2010

Yeah I Know Its Cold!!

Last winter I made a covenant with myself that I would ride in all types of weather. Not to prove that I was tough but mostly to keep my level of fitness that I had attained that summer with much sweat, pain, and tears.  Okay maybe not tears, but the rest is true.  As the snowy winter of 09-10 progressed my reasons for riding slowly changed.  I did start out just wanting to get in some base miles for the winter but it slowly turned into a contest, (as almost everything I do eventually does). I was not competing with another biker or even myself. Instead it was me against Mr. Winter; internal dialogue soon ensued.  "Think you can stop me with a piddling 40 degrees! If you do you have another thing coming!" (Me) (Mr. Winter, henceforth referred to as Mr. W) "I think I can, here is a little slush to make you wreck whenever you go around a corner." (Me)  Yeah you did get me that time but I am now riding my mountain bike; try and stop this full suspension icy road eating machine!" (Mr. W) "Lets see how you like 50 feet of snow! Mwahahahahaha!!!!!!"  I could go on like this for pages but I will humor your short attention spans and cut to the chase.  Through December and January Mr. W and myself played a cat and mouse game. I would force myself outside in a certain temperature and might even enjoy myself. He would then make it ten degrees colder then stand back looking at this handiwork, sure that I would not brave the cold.  I didn't get mad, I just bought heavier clothing!  I ended the winter having gotten outside on my bikes almost every week, except for a stretch in January.  When the buds started coming out on the trees I had gained a respect for Mr. W but also had a slew of weapons in my arsenal to defeat him.  I plan to use this knowledge to defeat him again this winter.

It is very hard to describe exactly why I like biking in the cold and snow. If you want a longer and better reason for braving the elements than I can possibly can come up with, visit the Adventure Monkey's site here.  I just love how I feel when I am outside in inclement weather. A combination of beauty, triumphing over adversity, and endorphins makes it a unique experience.  Knowing that most people are cooped up at home getting fat off of Christmas cookies and cocoa while I am outside gives me a sense of satisfaction.  I am not saying that staying inside is bad and that freezing your toes off outside is good; it just feels like life is fuller and richer when you are outside reveling in God's awesome Creation.

Biking when there is snow is on the ground and the mercury is below freezing is also just plain fun.  Remember when you were a child and all you could do each winter is pray for enough snow to cancel school? When that happened I would get my brothers and we would go exploring.  I remember one day we broke a path through what felt like 10 feet of snow, but was probably only 18 inches, to get to the back side of our property. We were pretending we were the valiant explorers of the American West who had to brave monstrous conditions to settle all the way to the West Coast. By the time we got back home, shook mountains of snow off of our coats, boots, and pants, and went inside to some piping hot cocoa and cookies; our toes and fingers were icicles and our faces were red from the cold. If you would have asked us at that moment we couldn't have imagined a better way to spend a snow day.  What happens to us when we get older? Do we become wimps or winter grinches? Or have we just lost touch with what can produce pure happiness? When I am biking through the snow and cold I am not thinking of my job, my future or even my ice cubes for toes; I am a young boy again exploring and seeing God's Creation in a way that bring a smile to my face and warms my heart. Only the present exists, and the present is indescribably beautiful.

So the next time you see or hear of me out in the snow biking don't feel pity or think I'm crazy.   If you had any idea what experiences you were missing out on, you actually should be green with envy.

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