This winter I get the distinct feeling that nature is playing games with me. Constantly changing rhythm, it refuses to let me get comfortable, to allow me to settle down into a season-specific "mode" of cycling. With temperatures below 20°F one day and above 45°F the next, I feel as if I am trying to dance while the DJ alternates between the oldies and thrash metal. My movements are awkward and a migraine is just around the corner.
But if that's how nature wants to play it, so be it, and there is always a silver lining to be found. For instance, my familiarity with mud has certainly grown. There are so many different kinds: liquid mud, viscous mud, mud that looks like packed dirt but behaves like quicksand, mud with a thin crust of ice over it, mud of a slushy-like frozen consistency throughout, and mud that has frozen in big solid ripples. I've been trying to ride on mud in all of these different conditions as part of a radical campaign to improve my balance, and thanks to the freeze/thaw weather I can experience a complete mud menu over the course of a single week.
Much less endearing is the unpredictable appearance of ice patches that the changes in weather are causing. The last time I went out on my roadbike, I saw black ice on the country roads that pretty much convinced me it was trainer time despite the lack of snow. Going downhill and hitting a patch like that, I am pretty sure there is nothing I could do to prevent a fall.
With February under way, at least the winter season is more than half over. My ideal conditions for the rest of it would be a couple of beautiful snowfalls (my birthday is later this month and I love snow on my birthday), followed by a swift and complete thaw in the first week of March. Well, I can dream. In the meantime, nature continues the freeze / thaw game and I do my best to keep up. Every winter is different, and I am glad to have a record of this one as I do of the previous two.