Thursday, January 20

Snow Day Musings

I sit wrapped around a steaming mug of Kona and The Bean munches on a bagel with cream cheese. The only thing that would make the scene better would be the ambiance of a coffee shop. But alas! We were up at 4am this morning and are lacking adequate rest to be out cavorting in the snow. And if we had gotten the appropriate amount of sleep last night I'd be at work and Lily would be at the babysitter's.

As it is- she's winding up, and I'm winding down. I hate to say it, but I may need a nap before lunch. And I'm mostly useless now, with only the ambition to switch on Netflix, but I know it will lull me to sleep like a ball-peen hammer to the occipital lobe.

What is more interesting to me is that through my sleepy fog I'm still scheming a bike ride. I keep thinking I could hitch up the InStep to the Cannonball, wrap Silly Bean in a couple blankets and strike out on the open (but snow-covered) trail.

Our last cycling adventure is too far away. We need another to get the old heart pumping. Warm weather is too far off to pin a goal there. We need an adventure NOW. I've camped in winter many times, so that prospect doesn't dissuade my ambitions.

As a Boy Scout I slept in a sagging pup tent and Kmart sleeping bag in four inches of water on a "winter" campout in southwestern Ohio. The only thing that kept us from a snowy versus a rainy campout was about three degrees. We had many other winter campouts through my years in Scouts. In fact, I don't remember very many summer campouts. My sleeping bag nostalgia revolves around shivering, frosty coke-bottle glasses and the smell of dirty woodsmoke in everything I owned. I remember being cold a lot.

Maybe that's why I like cold weather. I think my adolescence desensitized me to the adverse effects of winter weather. I actually enjoy cold mud, bone-bare tree branches under gray skies and the promise of significant frozen precipitation.

I'm getting the hang of this winter riding too. Like I said previously- I'm not sure why I've waited so long to embrace winter riding, especially commuting. I like physical challenges, especially those that involve snow and ice.

One of the highlights of each winter we lived in Ohio was the Klondike Derby. Each patrol in our troop had a derby team and the race involved pushing an 80 pound sled from station to station along a course laid out around the local Scout camp, tackling challenges to gain points while racing against the clock. Most years we pushed, pulled and wrestled the sleds through mud, though occasionally we were fortunate enough to have snow on the ground to ease our passage.

Talk about human powered transportation! The big challenge every year was a massive (by Buckeye standards) steep hill at the end of the course. It was basically a dirt cliff that each team had to surmount with their laden sleds.

I remember getting into an inter-team tuffle one year, and the picture that stands out in my mind is of Dennis W., tossing a mudball from hand to hand, tears streaming down filthy cheeks as he threatened retribution against the teammate (can't remember who) that had blasted him in the face with a frozen mudball. Somehow we managed to de-escalate the situation and wrangle the sled to the top of the hill.

Our mothers must have dreaded the heroic, if somewhat mudcaked, return each year.

Because I endured the trials of Boy Scouts in the context of dreary Midwestern winters I think I really am suited, and perhaps predisposed, to winter adventures. The only thing holding me back today is that my children are four (IN THREE DAYS!) and seven. They're really not old enough yet to truly enjoy the suffering I fully intend to subject them to in just a few short years.

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