I must be cautious in my choice of words. You see, in the UP, spring doesn’t come just once a year. Oh, no. Typically, spring comes, and we get all excited because we can bike outside, run on roads without Yaktraks, and even (dare I say it?) sunbathe on our back porches.
And then we get a mid-April blizzard that layers a few feet of snow on the ground.
But never you mind. Spring is one of my four favorite times of year! Ok, maybe five.
Today I celebrated Spring #1 with a two-hour ride on 203. Nothing puts a winter’s worth of training on an indoor trainer into perspective than actually climbing 700ft elevation gain in about six miles. Anyway, I am getting ahead of myself.
I haven’t had the opportunity to take my Jamis Xenith Race road bike out on the roads yet, and the trainer just doesn’t do it the justice it deserves. The bike is fast. Responsive. It transfers power so efficiently. I felt like I was floating over bumps in the road. And it is even a little twitchy (ok, its a lot twitchy, but that’s good, it’s a race bike!). I even careened down the hill going practically an order of magnitude faster, and I actually felt in control (sort of).
I wore my Icebreaker GT 260 Rapid Leggings (merino wool), and a moderately-thick pair of Icebreaker Hike Mid-Crew socks (merino wool). My feet didn’t get cold, even without shoe covers, and my legs felt great with a single layer of clothing (and my knees were happy). The leggings are not cumbersome at all, and they are actually more like running tights than pants. Even still, I felt warm and toasty even on the descents. Three long sleeve tops, including my Icebreaker GT long-sleeve Chase Zip, a Mountain Hardwear Transition (windbreaker-type shirt), and my Honey Stinger jersey kept my temperature cool, even in the wind (and boy, was it windy).
I also got to test out my new shades on the bike (note the Trakkers green). They are actually called “team green” and they are custom made sunglasses (the HalfJackets by Oakley). I like ’em. They stay put on my face, keep me from squinting outta control, and I barely feel them.
Luckily, my buddy Erik has been out on the roads and he knew how clear 203 would be. It was perfect. There was very little gravel, and the traffic was minimal. It was fun riding past snowbanks, although it may have been better earlier this week when the snowbanks were a few feet taller. I guess that is what 50F weather will do.
Before the ride, Erik and I met up at the pool for a little swim swam swum. I wasn’t too motivated, so I did a few 100s and dinked around with my video camera. Note to self: don’t forget your swim cap in your locker next time. I could have easily got out of the pool to grab it, but its always that much colder walking into the locker room, and I would have probably not returned.
Speaking of swimming- My personal version of Swim Week is coming up in T-minus ten days. Hold on to your goggle straps as I attempt something I am not really looking forward to trying.
Along with biking and running, Erik and I (along with Marg) have been hammering out hill repeats once a week up Ingot in Hancock. Our stretch is nearly a mile exactly, and it is quite a humbling feat. Nothing screams “Do more hills” than actually running up more hills. And to think, I used to be fast up them. I need to focus on attacking the hills, cuz that’s the way I was raised.
So I leave you with a tired sack of sitbones, and the knowledge that my bike is back on its rack (my trainer, of course). The forecast for the rest of the week here in Houghton calls for 40F and rain, rain, rain. Goodbye snow. For now.