Saturday, December 25, 2010

Dreaming and Scheming

As I sit here, full after a huge Christmas dinner, it's 8 degrees out and the ground is covered in 30+ inches of snow. My thoughts turn to possible 2011 trips and adventures, at least one of which will be in what I consider one of, if not the most beautiful places in America -- southern Utah. I have visited a few times in recent years, not even scratching the surface of all that is there.

The trip will most certainly include two wheel travel but may also include the 4 wheel type as well. This trip report provides just a sample of what I have seen there.

Happy holidays all. May 2011 bring you much happiness and joy.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Planet Convergence

At almost every amateur athletic event I have attended, they usually seem to play Eye of The Tiger to inspire the athletes at whatever physical challenge they are attempting. I think they have it all wrong.

Tonight, as I was riding home from dinner with the missus, Handel's Messiah was in play. At the base of the only major climb on the route, the London Philharmonic and Kings College Choir broke into the Hallelujah Chorus and by the time I was at the top, I was singing along. My apologies to the jogger who I am pretty sure I scared half to death. Now that is an inspiring piece of music!!

Minneapolis across the Mississippi

Closing Note: I have received a few emails from folks who tried to link to last night's post, only to find it gone. A person referenced in the post wrote a comment that indicated they had taken it personally. Rather than perpetuate the misunderstanding, and in an effort to minimize the passive-aggressive behavior so rampant here, I deleted it.


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Embracing in progress

The last light. Sunset, Lake Harriet.


Sunday, December 5, 2010

Finding Winter Bliss

  1. great joy or happiness
  2. spiritual joy; heavenly rapture
  3. any cause of bliss

In Italian, it's:
  1. gioia immensa,
  2. felicità perfetta,
  3. beatitudine
Regardless of how you say it, I have never found the winter version of it. With the exception of a few years as a child living in Equatorial West Africa, I have spent most of my life in places that have very defined climates. Winter has always been present to varying degrees and I have usually tried to do whatever possible to embrace it. I am definitely affected by the lack of daylight that prevails this time of year so the combination of cold and dark often feels quite confining.

I'm not a skier -- I've tried downhill and nordic and both seem to take away from the experience of being outdoors -- one's too fast and the other requires too much concentration. I greatly enjoy the pace of hiking, snowshoeing and of course, winter biking.

So far this winter, we have had two big snow storms. The first dumped a few inches of heavy, wet glop all over everything, and riding in it required a wetsuit to survive. The one that arrived this weekend was 5-8 inches of light, fluffy snow combined with cold temperatures. Riding to and from the shop Saturday was not terribly fun as the cars had turned the snow into oatmeal that defied traction, even with 4 inch wide tires.

After a day spent working in the shop on personal projects, and being told by my far more intelligent wife to quit complaining and embrace winter, I ventured out at dusk to see if I could "trovare la felicita" -- find some of that bliss. Both cities had declared snow emergencies and the parks department had cleared the bike paths -- it was like riding on a white carpet. Even the intersections had been cleared, and the riding was as easy as it is on those late summer nights when you know you could ride forever.

I only rode for an hour or so but it was very, very peaceful. The only sounds were my tires crunching on the dry, packed powder and Willie and Waylon saying something about tuned guitars and firm feeling women being the only things that make life worth living. I stuck to the paths along the Mississippi and encountered only a few people in those ten miles.

Minneapolis from Franklin Street


Ford Bridge

Honestly, I'd still rather be sitting in a remote desert someplace, taking in the immense night sky, but as Garrison Keillor so accurately stated -- "I believe in looking reality straight in the eye and denying it".

So, I will ride as many nights as I can, embracing the reality that is winter here in the Northland, and always hoping to get a little closer to finding felicità perfetta.