Look Ma, No Gloves!

by NAA

Styrian CountrysideLately I have been sarcastically joking about ‘warm’ days on the bike here in Graz. Perhaps ‘sarcastic’ is not the right word. I was sincerely overjoyed last week to see the following weather predition:

HIGH: 1 degree C
PRECIP: 90% Chance Of Rain

Why overjoyed? Because both “one degree C” and “rain” mean not freezing, and ‘not freezing’ means safe to ride outdoors without threat of hidden ice. Ice is everywhere and must be avoided on the bicycle, even when the temperature is above freezing. However, when the weather is above freezing, the ice lurks in obvious shadows and is much more easily avoided than on days where melted snow that has been re-frozen as stealth ice can bring you down like a ton of bricks at any moment. Thus, one week ago, one degree C and rain was a welcome weather system that meant I could ride outdoors.

This week, however, is not only warm, but also SUNNY. The skies are blue and clear, and the sun is shining over every berg and valley through which I ride. I can attest to the actual warmth by the fact that I didn’t have to wear gloves yesterday on my ride. This is evidence to the fact that it really is warm, and it’s not just that my perception of warmth is so skewed that what I consider warm is still insanely cold (e.g., one degree C and raining). Further proof: the weather prediction for this week is around eight degrees C all week long – and dry!

I am seriously living it up with some epic rides and big volume. It’s amazing what a difference great weather can make in a workout, and I am not taking this week’s weather for granted.

On that note, I don’t mean to rub it in for those of you still stuck in the cold, wet and snow. Trust me, I know how challenging that can be, as that has been my challenge for the past couple of months! Recently, my mantra has been “It’s only January.” Before that, it was, “It’s only November. It’s only December.” Thanks to watching endless TV episodes while on the trainer, I’ve built a good base despite the harsh winter.

It’s also been a great opportunity to branch out into different cross-training sports: alpine skiing, nordic skiing, running and yoga. Having been a swimmer most of my life, I haven’t taken much advantage of winter’s outdoor opportunities until now, and the more I’ve played in the snow, the more I’ve come to really like this season.

In my swimming days, we used to get a “Snow Minute” during workout, which meant we could jump out of the indoor pool, run outside and make snow angels for a minute before we had to start the next set. I loved snow minutes. Now, I have snow days and snow weeks. I don’t always love them, but when I get to ski or hike or sip on hot soup in a log-built ski hut in a snowstorm after a few hours of nordic skiing, I am in heaven!

For now, though, I will gladly take the warm sunshine.