|Road Warrior - Photo take 1/2/11|
Sunday, January 2, 2011
Baby, It's Cold Outside!
Baby, It’s Cold Outside!
I made a vow this winter that I would not be deterred from riding my bicycle merely because it’s cold outside. I generally hunker down each winter, maybe go to some yoga classes, but generally stay out of the cold as much as possible. I don’t like to be cold. My fingertips start feeling frostbitten just thinking about cold weather. Thoughts of curling up in an afghan with a good book and a cup of hot chocolate bring delight.
But you see there’s this thing called SAD (seasonal affective disorder) that affects about 5% to 20% of the population and I’m pretty sure I have it to some degree. Staying out of the sunlight is not a good formula for getting through the winter with a healthy mental outlook. So what to do, what to do?
I really, really love to bicycle. In the summer, I ride miles on the bicycle trail or through the neighborhood and find release, enjoyment, exhilaration and fitness. But then it gets cold, I put the bicycle away, start eating more carbs and sweets and slowly feel the lethargy creeping into my bones - a formula for disaster.
But not this year. I bought myself enough gear to handle the cold. Granted, I feel a bit like Randy in A Christmas Story, when his mom bundles him up for the snowy weather, but that’s okay, I’ll do whatever is necessary.
I have ridden at least five days a week since the weather turned cold. We had a spate of snow that slowed me down for a few days, but once the streets were plowed and the major ice patches melted, I was off again. My family has started tossing around labels like: hard core, tough and snow queen. I have to admit I like the edginess of those monikers and have added my own. I feel like a warrior out battling the elements. Yes, a warrior. There is an exhilaration and tough-mindedness that occurs after a 12 mile ride in freezing weather that can’t be achieved in any other way. I’ll take whatever label you want to throw at me.
I rode today with a westerly wind smacking me in the face, and the temperature hovering around 30°. It was seriously cold and I began muttering to myself, ‘you’re a masochist,’ and ‘you’re crazy you know?’ I smiled as I kept pedaling furiously and thought it just might be true, but hey, I’m out here doing this and there ain’t no stopping me.
I like the person who can take on the elements, face the wind, endure cold fingers and toes and fearlessly do it again day after day. It says something about who I am and I like what it says. I have a feeling I’m going to make it through this winter just fine. SAD can go find somebody else to drag down. I’m not available.