When I took this picture at Eklutna Lake last week, I knew that the chilly air already gripping the mountains would soon find its way into town. As I headed toward the door to ride to work Monday morning, I stopped at the phone and called 844 to get the temperature: 36 degrees.
After a trip back upstairs to grab the neoprene shoe covers and some glove liners, I hit the road thinking, "Oh, shit. It's almost time to pull the studs out of the shed." Any day now, I'll roll out of the garage and see frost shining in the beam of my headlight. And frost sucks without studs.
A couple of years ago, I was mounting up in front of my house when I noticed all the pretty ice crystals twinkling on the street. One of my neighbors was idling his big SUV to warm it up—which he feels the need to do whenever the temp drops below 50—and I felt smug as I rolled away. While his rig sucked gas in his driveway, I was about to ride to work in the pre-dawn twilight as millions of little lights danced in front of my wheel.
Such ignorant thoughts sometimes come to a brain numbed by several months of ice-free riding conditions. How quickly we (OK, I) forget.
Two blocks from my house, I leaned my commuter slicks into a left turn and instantly found myself slamming into the pavement and sliding across the street. Tim the Human Hockey Puck. My hip felt like I'd been branded. After pulling myself and my bike off the road in the headlights of a waiting car, my ego felt worse.
Ya just don't screw with icy stuff, no matter how thin it is. This weekend, I'm pulling the studs out of the shed and getting my winter bike ready. I'll fire up some tunes and open a beer to help me wrestle the Nokians onto the rims. I'll make the best of it, but it will be a little sad.
Sort of like a wake for summer.