April 7, 2011

It's April, it's snowing. Spring in Bend.

Bright light filtered through my window this morning. It was early, too early, but the light reflecting off the snow-covered front garden wouldn’t let me find slumber again this morning. The day had begun. I was grabbing hold.

It is April in Bend. Spring in my beloved Central Oregon is finicky, fabulous, and requires constant positive self-talk.

I love the winter. The feeling of fast snow sliding beneath my skis. Early morning dawn-patrols; the way lit only by headlamp. Snow-covered trail runs that take me along the icy Deschutes River. Warm yoga studios offering protection from the elements of a snow and ice and cold.  But I am ready for a change.

It is April. It is Spring, and I love riding my bike. More than skiing. More than running. More than yoga.

But, it is still snowing. It is cold; at least the sun reveals itself on occasion. And the days are longer. Sunset is at 7:37pm.

My schedule says 2.5 hours. I am over the trainer. At 4:50pm, I bust out of the office, dressed more like a ninja than a cyclist – black, wind-proof fabric covers my limbs. My green beanie is my only hint of color. At least I have reflective striping. With an emergency lighting system in my jersey pocket, I clip in and head out.

Freedom. Cold, clarifying, fantastic. For the third time this week, I race the clock. I ride, legs spinning, fast even during my rest periods, just to stay warm. At the end of my last interval, I look at my computer.  It reads 30.1 degrees. No wonder I can see my breath; and now I have to descend back to town, to home, to hot showers, and over-sized hooded sweatshirts.

As I ride home, fingers just about frozen, lungs trying hard to take in the oxygen of the cold air; I dream of summer, when I can ride long into the evening without fear of darkness or frostbite, and I ask myself why I am doing this; why I am racing the sun and the storm and the snow.

I am doing this because I love it. And because next January, in Madison, it will be very cold.