Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Epic at 2 Degrees
I experienced IT the other day.
We headed out to the local skiin' hole after work. Temps were a bit chilly and the trails were duly slick it's tough to keep a nice corduroy when it's 2 degrees.
It's just durned cold here. Don't get me wrong...we've had one of the best winters in years: good snow cover for cross country skiing, a few single-digit days to keep us humble, and a ton of sunny days with temps in the mid-20s. I like it, really I do. But the bi-polarness of the temps is enough to send me to the prescription bottle some days. The swings make the ski trails hell. Moisture freezes to the street and sidewalk surfaces making running treacherous damn, and I love running SO much.... I know, the Nokians are ready and waiting, but I'm just not wanting to get them out these days. Winter is for skiing, dammit.
It was during one of our previous deep freezes that I reluctantly headed out to the ski trails after a long day at work. Sometimes, exercise is just the thing to do at the end of the day....best not to even think about it, just go. I needed to work off some slog.
I took out the old skate skis, assuming the trails would have dirt and sticks showing through the freeze after the previous meltdown. The trails were clean, but the old skis were like ice on ice. For a good 7 k I skittered around curves and down hillsides. My legs fought for balance. My poles jabbed in random attempts to keep me upright, and my torso lurched from side to side.
Temps were rapidly dropping in that late-afternoon, dark-setting-in kind of way. The cold was taking its toll on my energy level. Once back at the car, though, I wasn't ready to go home.
I took out the new skis this time and decided to hit another loop. I know what makes one bicycle different from another, but I didn't know how one pair of skate skis differs from another and I wanted to see.
Epic. Can a half-hour on freeze-hardened ski trails be epic? Definitions of epic include words like heroic, impressive and surpassing the ordinary.
The skis bit and we set-off flying. At 2 degrees on a 5 k icy trail not 8 miles from home, the experience transformed flailing to grace.
Not a chance.