I weary of winter in her grayness, silver tendrils of ice encompassing the earth, thrusting themselves through cracks and crevices in sides of hills, holding color at bay.....almost as if life pauses. Even water with all its fluidity is stopped dead in her tracks, at least temporarily. Good intentions fade in the sternness of her argentate gaze, laziness becomes a norm rather than an aberration. Scant relief is found in the rare sunny day, pallid and forlorn, a mockery of summer warmth, a shadow upon Plato's wall. It always strikes me as odd how something that is so beautiful when it is new soon loses it beauty when it impacts action.
It is on days like this, when I am mentally imprisoned by snow and ice, that I begin to long for Texas and Hell Week. It is on days like this that I despair of ever being able to ride the normal 600-700 miles that we ride while we are there. Yet somehow, it always works out. For those who don't know, Hell Week is a week long bicycle ride that takes place in the spring in Fredericksburg, Texas.
My friends are more dedicated than I using trainers or being retired and getting in miles during the week, but they make adjustments for me. I have quit vowing to use the trainer knowing that I am lying to myself for I will not,or will not very often. It is on days like this that I long for a fat bike that would allow me to get out safely despite the snow. It is just hard to justify the expense, and despite his support, to explain to my husband why I would need yet another bike. But bikes are like children, each is different and has her own charm and talents. It is just too hard to explain to someone who does not ride.
I think of how each year Hell Week is a bit different, but each year it has enriched my life. In my memory, the time shimmers with laughter and warmth, and I would not take back and re-do the time, even the year I rode with the broken rib chasing Greg and Joe up hillson the brevet after Steve turned back due to a mechanical, unable to stand to climb as the pain became too great. I think of tacos and steak nights and vistas that take my breath away with their stern beauty. I think of being out of breath as I do my best to pedal fast enough to keep up or to climb a hill that challenges me to persevere. And somehow, in these thoughts, knowing I will most likely be going again, I am renewed. I realize that Chekhov was right when he said: "Let us learn to appreciate that there will be times when the trees will be bare, and look forward to the time when we may pick the fruit."
This wintry day will pass, and it would serve me well to thank her and appreciate her beauty, for it is the contrast that makes Hell Week and the other seasons shine like diamonds. Snow on! I will clean my house and curl up with a cat, a book, and a cup of tea. I will dream of Hell Week.