Sunday, February 24, 2013

This Winter In Microcosm

I have lived in Wisconsin for more than half of my life and last winter was by far the most pleasant I have ever experienced here.  This winter has been the most indecisive.  It has never been very cold for very long, or very snowy for very long, or very gloomy for very long, or, conversely, very nice for very long.  Just look at this weekend: snow on Friday, overcast but not terribly cold on Saturday, and gorgeous today.

And by gorgeous I mean 34 degrees with brilliant sunshine and no wind.  A couple of years ago, such weather would not have tempted me onto the bike.  I might have gone hiking, but certainly I wouldn’t have gone for a ride.  Today’s ride was a 28-mile celebration on the quiet roads between West Bend and New Fane.  Snow and ice still covered some of the shaded lanes of the northern Kettle Moraine, but I enjoyed even those challenges.  Such a nice day demanded a photo to commemorate it.  Here is the open prairie to the west of the parking lot at the New Fane trailhead:

There are trails under that snow, and it will be weeks before they can be ridden.

Yesterday’s air temperature was nearly as warm, but cloudy skies and occasionally biting wind made the day feel much colder.  I hid in the woods, snowshoeing for 75 minutes at Sandy Knoll County Park.

My afternoons were well-spent, but each morning was a disappointment.  Omloop Het Nieuwsblad kicked off the European pro cycling calendar on Saturday and I watched the live coverage on the Internet, but the video quality was uncharacteristically bad.  Today I expected back-to-back coverage of BPost Bank Trophy Cyclocross from Oostmalle and then another semi-classic road race, Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne.  But the road race was cancelled outright due to a snow storm, and the video feed from the ’cross race was scrapped.  I did, however, follow along with text updates … to the extent that they made any sense after being translated into English:

Oostmalle was the last stop on the professional circuit for 2012-13.  Now I have seven months of road racing to enjoy.  But I’ll be more than ready for a new round of ’cross races in September, probably starting with CrossVegas.  You can bet there won’t be any problems with snow in southern Nevada.

If only we could be so sure of our weather here in southern Wisconsin.

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