The royal...anyway, about three quarters of the way in to work this morning I gave up. In my mind I stopped enjoying the car-lite lifestyle. I was hating.
In the past two days I've spent five hours slogging through snow, teeth rattling as I've bounced over frozen footprints, doing my best to avoid the street surfaces to keep the corrosives off my bike frame and components, and I've gotten chilled down to the very marrow of my bones three times.
My body is over-sensitized more than usual. I'm exhausted from pedaling through a frozen hell and my brain is just done. For some strange reason people are more idiotic behind the wheel when the conditions mandate more maturity. The very few spots where I had to interact with traffic were more stressful the past two days than they have been in the past.
And then I stopped forward motion for a few moments as I approached NREL. I took off my face mask. I got the blood flowing again to my hands, and feet and just as I was ready to push off for the final slog in to work an NREL shuttle bus rolled to a stop beside me (I was on the sidewalk) and the driver asked me: "Do you want a ride on in?"
I couldn't help but grin, and I thanked her, but no, I was not headed for NREL but beyond. She smiled and drove on and my attitude improved dramatically. Of course I was still ready to get back in a heated passenger compartment. I'd buy a mid-90s model Jeep Cherokee in a heartbeat if I had the cash.
The ride offer, and the fact that I could finally use the showers in the locker room at work again today made the morning somewhat bright. Also, the sun had returned to the earth again.
Instead of my usual text (and occasional accidental tweet) to my wife: "Made it. Love you!" I instead texted (not tweeted): "Made it to work. I'm exhausted."
Mandy replied a little while later: "Can I pick u up tonight?"
I almost wept. I replied: "Please! If it's not too much trouble..."
I really am exhausted. I could lay down and go to sleep right now. I've expended so much energy in this weather. Of course I should be happy, I'm burning loads of calories and I need to be burning loads of calories.
The ride in was pretty amazing. I rode through frozen fog. I saw beaver tracks in the snow. I saw many rabbits. I inhaled car exhaust. I saw the sunrise. I dodged moto-fascists. I marveled at the fact that my body was warm but my extremities were blocks of ice. It was a good ride.
If I can stick it out for a couple more days the temperature should inch back up and the snow should mostly go away. A short reprieve would help me sort it all out, reload and fire back at the injuns of bicycle commuting adversity (to be totally non-PC*).
*I am, in fact, part Cherokee myself