Sunday, January 20, 2013

When a Brief Ray of Sunshine Comes in the Window of Opportunity

We knew when we moved back to Tennessee from Florida that we would be giving up some good things. The beach. Great seafood. 

And, yeah, perfect cycling weather in the winter.

Sure, it would rain down there some times ... for, like, a couple of hours in the afternoon. And it was the kind of warm rain that you didn't really mind riding your bike in. Otherwise, it was 75 degrees by 9 am and never got over 85. Early morning rides rarely required more than light arm warmers.

Of course, that was the deal. We gave all of that up to come back to all of our friends, great jobs, and meandering roads in quiet countryside with painful climbs followed by thrilling descents. We also got more tolerable summers, where temperatures sometimes drop out of the 90s. Frankly, I think that we got the better end of the bargain.

But that doesn't mean that a weekend like last -- constant cold and heavy rains, followed by another three days of intermittent rain, sleet, and snow -- doesn't hurt.

Fortunately, I had lots of work to do. Unfortunately, the work kept me from slipping out during brief instances when the weather turned almost tolerable. Six days passed without me getting on a bike.

And then came sunny Friday, and I found myself wrapping up my morning meeting about 11 am. A quick check of the calendar showed that I was free until 1 pm.

It took less than 15 minutes to change, top off a bottle, pump up my tires, and get on the road. The day was chilly but dry, and the roads had only a few puddles. It was good enough.

Our new house is in one of the great cycling areas of middle Tennessee, but I needed to eat so I headed over to go north on Boyd Mill Road. Half an hour later I was in downtown Franklin, leaning my bike against a column outside of the new Frothy Monkey there. I got a table on the sunny front porch and enjoyed a tasty corned beef sandwich with sauerkraut on marble rye, topping it off with a delicious large fat-free latte.

I opted for West Main Street back south, rolling past the big old houses there and on towards Old Carter's Creek Pike. A quick mile on (new) Carter's Creek Pike and another on equally busy Southall Road was followed by a more sedate few miles on fiercely rolling Blazer Road. I was back at the house 10 minutes before my meeting -- belly full and the cycling monkey briefly off of my back.

Maybe that's the trick to surviving the winter when you no longer live in Paradise. You've got to be patient, waiting for those rare days that aren't too wet, too cold, or too windy. When one comes along, be prepared and do whatever it takes to get out and enjoy it to the fullest extent possible. Then, get back to work and wait for the next somewhat decent day.

It'll come.

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