Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Flowing free

What a difference a week makes. The 'Big Freeze', as our prolonged cold spell in the UK became known, ended over the weekend and all the snow melted. It seems like a distant memory now. As the days passed, most debris that collected on the roads has been cleared up and things are getting back to normal. It's only after the event, I realise just how much extra effort the really cold weather required. Everything just took longer. More preparation, slower to do anything, more time to clear up afterwards. Even existing indoors seemed like hibernation as we migrated towards the greatest source of warmth, the fire.

Out on the bike, it is like a veil has been lifted. Flowing movement has returned. I can pedal in a continuous rhythm for more than a few hundred metres and feel joy of power and motion without worrying if that patch ahead is a slick of ice. For readers from colder climes, this may sound a bit wussy, but it was an issue here because many roads, even minor ones, get quite a lot of motorised traffic. This compressed the snow into a wet layer and turned it to ice, which then remained around until the thaw. There was no treatment or clearing of many minor or rural roads. It wasn't so bad when the temperatures were well below freezing but when they increased to near melting point or above, there was no grip on the polished ice.

This week is so different with the mercury hovering in single figures (above freezing). Even the light is better and the days are noticeably longer. A couple of non-commute rides have removed that stir crazy feel and restored a degree of fitness. For those training for competition this must feel like a real release. I'm not, but the sensation is still noticeable. Enjoy, before the excitement of snow returns!

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