That strange stinging sensation on your face? That’s fresh air.

The bike time trial for today was canceled.  Again.  Bummer, particularly when you get up and find that it is a gorgeous day with sun and a bright winter-blue sky.  Still, can’t fault Coach Ed for calling it; forecasts weren’t good and I don’t have the responsibility for other people’s wellbeing, only my own.  However, I had made a vow that neither hell nor high water (and the way things have been going there was a better than even chance that one or both would show up) would keep me from biking outside this weekend.

Besides, it was either that or sit at home and watch the melting snow reveal the shattered remnants of our garden.  At this stage it is hard to tell what if anything will be coming back.  One thing that won’t be coming back is the euonymous hedge we were growing to try and hide the poop patch: the entire thing has been snapped off at ankle height by the weight of the snow.  This could be an expensive winter.

So I dug out my outside biking gear, and hauled the Cannondale out of what had begun to seem like permanent storage.  It was a couple of hours before I felt comfortable removing the training wheels, but finally I started to get the hang of it again, and as I set off down the street I felt what can only be described as pure joy.  The bike was filthy from the crappy weather we’d been having prior to the “I’m Snow Over It” period but I was thankful that I’d at least had the presence of mind to clean and lube the drivetrain and derailleurs before the snow had arrived.  The bike was almost silent, humming down the road, the sun was shining, and sure, there was a little wind but it was nothing like the gale force winds we’ve had in recent days.

This is a recovery week so I had planned a light ride to check out the trail and see if I could bike to work on Monday.  And it looks as if I might just be able to do it.  Mind you, I didn’t get into the District itself, and many of the streets in the city, as in our area, still have huge ramparts of snow everywhere.  It is like a Christmas Special version of Les Miserables.  You know, the one where Eponine is rescued at the last minute by Rudolph and they join the Little Drummer Boy aboard the Polar Express as they bring a Red Ryder BB gun to the infant Frosty the Snowman.  It is very tasteful, very Focus on the Family appropriate.

Anyway, there are a few slushy bits still but most of those should be gone after this weekend.  I went up as far as Roosevelt Island and then back down into Alexandria.  One thing that is very evident is how badly all the conifers have suffered.  Many of them have huge piles of snapped limbs lying by the base of their trunks and some have collapsed completely.

I didn’t see many bikers, but there were a lot of runners trying to work out their cabin fever.  Plus the usual number of idiots wearing headphones or enough North Face gear to outfit a good size mountaineering expedition.  Still, it was good to see so many people outside enjoying themselves even though the temperature wasn’t exactly tropical.  I thought the couple running in shorts might have been over-estimating the proximity of spring, however.

In the end, nothing epic.  A bit of tootling around in Alexandria (not desolate, but not exactly bustling, even on a Saturday morning), about an hour and a half of easy biking (and a bike that now looks as if it has been ridden through a muddy river), but the beginnings, I hope, of the mental calm necessary to start on the next week’s training as I look toward Shamrock.

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