In a perfect world I’d never have to spend more than 2 minutes getting dressed for a bike ride. Getting frostbite on exposed skin would never cross my mind and the thought of road salt corroding my precious ride would be laughable. But living in Wisconsin these are all things I’ve learned to deal with. And, I must admit that I have recently come to find Midwest winters to be extraordinary.
I haven’t always been in love with winter. The endless days of biting cold can really play with your emotions. I’ve spent many days wishing for warmer weather; questioning my choice to live in Wisconsin. A few years ago, I made a conscious effort to make the most of winter. I bought a set of Nordic skis and started hitting the corduroy. I dusted off my running shoes for some frosty morning runs. I pulled out my snowshoes and started exploring the wooded areas surrounding my home with my wife. Not only has it made winter bearable but I actually look forward to the snow and cold as fall draws to an end. I love setting out and finding something new (the above image is of a hot spring fed creek I came upon while snowshoeing).
The key for me is to stay active and keep things interesting. Wisconsin winters offer no routine, especially these days. You never know if it’s going to be -5 degrees with sun blazing or 30 degrees and rain. Today is a perfect example. I check the weather this morning to see that the mercury was topping at 31 degrees. Too warm to ride my fat bike on trails so I quickly set my road bike up for a morning ride through the countryside. Within the first 5 minutes I nearly crashed two times. 31 degrees and a light drizzle created some hidden ice patches. It was enough to convince me to cut it short and head to work. Rolling with the punches is necessary on days like today. I’m harboring hope that I can squeeze in a ride on the way home but I’ve learned to never count on it.