Tuesday, January 10, 2017

I Meet And Dull

And this, people, is why we all have to respect the conference room sign-up sheet!

These early days of 2017 have been filled with thoughts of cycling and plans for the future, as our weather has allowed for little else. I did a 25-mile road ride on New Year’s Day, but those are my only miles this year. During the last week we had weather that wasn’t good for anything: very cold and free of any new snow. The cold temperatures kept me off the road. The sparse covering of poor quality snow was unsuitable for the cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and fatbike enthusiasts. As far as I can tell, nobody was happy. We got a little fresh snow last night, but today we soared above the freezing mark for the first time since January 3, eventually hitting a high of 45°, which is 19° above normal. That would have been bad news for snow conditions even without the all-day rain that rode in on the warmer air. But snow conditions don’t trouble me much; I just want access to the roads. Without it, I have too much time on my hands. Talking about cycling goes only so far.

Last Friday I had a meeting with representatives from Bike Friendly West Bend and the Ozaukee Washington Land Trust on a topic in which I have a lot of personal interest: how to connect the Eisenbahn State Trail to the Ozaukee Interurban Trail. There’s no clear winner; every potential corridor has major drawbacks. I think the most attractive option would be a Milwaukee River Trail linking West Bend to Newburg. That would take us to the Ozaukee County line, but from there it’s uncertain how we could get to the Interurban. For a rider like me, it’s easy enough to do on the road, but the goal is to create an off-road route as part of the Route Of The Badger initiative.

Today I attended the January meeting of Bike Friendly West Bend, the big news from which is that a master bike and pedestrian plan is now ready for the consideration of the city council. BFWB will present the plan at City Hall on Monday, January 23. On that same evening, Washington County’s Planning & Parks Department will hold a public input meeting at City Hall as it looks for ways to cut costs and generate revenue. I will be there to advocate greater access for bikes. I don’t know that there’s a lot to be gained by opening county park trails to bikes, but at least it’s an idea. The county seems determined to institute a user fee and that will be a hard sell if new amenities don’t accompany it. Glacier Hills County Park—don’t confuse it with West Bend’s Glacial Blue Hills Recreation Area—has some potential as a mountain biking venue. Whether you would pay to ride there is another matter. The county will hold a second public input meeting on Tuesday, January 24, in Germantown.

But like I said before, talking about cycling goes only so far. Next week might bring a few dry days in the mid-30s. That would get me out on the bike again and I badly need it. Yes, I rode on New Year’s Day and those 25 miles weren’t a strain on my endurance, but I wasn’t sharp. The bike still had 20 speeds but my legs had only 1. Since the end of November I have lost a lot of cycling-specific fitness and gained a lot of weight. Strength workouts in the home gym are going well, but I haven’t committed to the turbo trainer yet. With my mountain bike racing season now less than 17 weeks away, I can’t wait too much longer to return to form.

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