Confessions of a snowbound cycling sicko
I have a confession to make: I am a cycling junkie. So trying to ride in Truckee, especially when the ground is covered with snow for more months than I care to acknowledge, is akin to a smack addict trying to score on the streets of Vatican City. It ain’t gonna happen. It’s not like I was counting the days during my first winter here in Truckee, but I do have to admit that I’ve never really appreciated spring like I am now.That might have something to do with the fact that way back in the depths of winter when I was suffering from cycling withdrawals, a friend of mine made a persuasive pitch for me to do a 100-mile bicycle ride a century in bike geek parlance with him this spring. Back when he suggested the idea, the May 1 event was a long time away and the hallucinatory visions of me pedaling through the vineyards of Napa Valley were just too intoxicating considering I was surrounded by snow lots of snow.May 1, eh? What’s today’s date?My friend lives in San Francisco, which, other than a little rain, offers year-round riding weather. On the other hand, I was tossing my snow shovel aside and pulling out my wallet to purchase a snowblower. It’s kind of hard to ride a bike in four feet of snow, not to mention that that little capital outlay nixed my fantasy of buying a cyclocross bike.OK, I thought, I’ll just buy one of those stationary resistance trainers for my road bike and get some dopamine pumping through my veins indoors. Yeah, right.After years of living and riding in a place where the only thing that kept me from getting on the road was a hurricane, pedaling away like a hamster on a wheel was about as appealing as getting my wisdom teeth yanked (but that’s another story).So I tried to snowshoe as much as I could and, over the last couple of months, drove west down the mountains with my bike to get miles under my belt or more precisely, my rear on the byways of the valley and foothills in preparation for next weekends big ride.After four or five months of blowing snow, the verdant hills and colorful wildflowers were mesmerizing.But I have to admit, even after my short time living in Truckee I felt like a foreigner down in the flatlands. Even though I was barely a couple of hours away from town, my winter boots and snow-grimed pick-up didn’t make sense in a place were the roads were clear, lawns green and people moved about unencumbered by Old Man Winter. Truckee, compared to those other places, Ive learned, is a special place. And real soon, the green valley will be baked brown by 110 degree weather and shrouded in a yellow haze. And that’s when the cycling addict in me remembers why he chose Truckee as his home: It’s a beautiful place snow or no snow.Yeah, being able to ride down there sated my cycling Jones. And this weekend’s 100-miler in the wine country will be amazing. But as spring teases the Sierra, I’m just as happy zipping up my cold weather gear and riding here in the mountains, where you have to earn your buzz.Jamie Bate is the editor of the Sierra Sun. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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