Tuesday, February 25, 2014

In Like A Lion

March will arrive on Saturday. Big deal.

We are expecting -20 to -30 wind chill tonight, more snow this weekend and below-freezing daytime highs for at least the first week of the new month. We have had just four days above freezing in February, the same number we had in January.

March will bring the return of Daylight Saving Time and the vernal equinox, which is rumored to be the beginning of “spring” but you’ll be hard-pressed to see any evidence of that here. I wish I could spend the entire month somewhere else. It would be great to visit one of the Top 10 training destinations recommended by Global Cycling Network:
Gran Canaria
Adelaide, Australia
South Africa
Nice, France
All of those are fine suggestions, but I will do something different for my self-directed training camp, March 21-30. That time period coincides with spring break for West Bend schools but my wife and kids are going to stay home while I go in search of cycling adventures. (They would prefer to travel in the summer when there are more things to do, so maybe we’ll arrange a trip for the whole family in July or August.) I will spend some of my spring break visiting my mother in Pennsylvania, but I won’t know my exact itinerary until a day or two before the trip begins. If the weather forecast is favorable, I will make a beeline for the Philadelphia suburbs. If the weather forecast is unfavorable, I may swing south before arriving at Mom’s house for a shorter visit. That trip would look something like this:

If I do take a few extra days to reach Pennsylvania, then I will have a chance to ride the Lincoln Prairie Grass Trail in Charleston IL. It did not yet exist when I lived in Charleston, 1976-1981. I will be able to check out Lexington KY, which on paper appears to be a place where I might like to relocate someday. I could stop in Richmond VA to get a feel for the 2015 UCI World Championships, whose courses were announced earlier today. I could do some cycling in and around Washington DC, a city I have visited many times but never on a bike.

But Pennsylvania will be the main attraction. In addition to some of the places I like to ride near Philadelphia, I plan to tour the countryside around York and Lancaster and to ride part of the Great Allegheny Passage from West Newton, my childhood home. The trip should be an opportunity for me to indulge a few cycling itches that would be impractical to scratch if my family were traveling with me.

It all depends on the weather, though, and most of the eastern US has been hit harder than usual this winter. I’m counting on daytime highs in the mid-50s and assuming that whatever my destinations get will be better than what I leave behind in Wisconsin. And I have to believe in those things, because right now there’s nothing in our forecast to feel good about. I will begin March with just 31 miles of outdoor riding year-to-date, 134 miles behind last year’s pace.

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