Sunday, March 6, 2011

First Ride of the Season

I'm back!

I had originally planned to put photo of a "Closed for the Winter" sign on a December post -- like one of those signs you'll so often see hanging on the doors of Cape Cod art galleries and ice cream shops. But I couldn't bring myself to do it. Along with the snow, ice, and frigid temperatures that make up a typical New England winter, so too is there always this sense that maybe ... just maybe ... a rare morning will come along when the sun shines bright and the temperatures are just warm enough to squeeze in a bike ride.

I guess didn't have the heart to officially close the blog down for a few months.

And so today that long-awaited morning finally arrived. It was 58 degrees and partly cloudy ... perfect conditions for the first ride of the season.

As you can see, there weren't many boats in the marina...

They were all still lined up on pilings nearby...

But despite the potholes and puddles made from the the 75 inches of snow that fell here this year (the last remnants of which you can still see)... was a great ride. Thrilling, really. About halfway through, the ocean crosswinds really started to howl. It was difficult to ride into, but wonderful -- which is what serious cycling is all about, seeing the beauty in the very things that make your morning ride so challenging.

But that was only the beginning of this magical day! Just a few hours later the European cycling season began, with Versus channel broadcasting Stage 1 of Paris-Nice. It was as if there was some sort of eerie concurrence going on, because the determining factor in that very exciting first stage of Paris-Nice was .... crosswinds!

It really was a beautiful stage, and it definitely had the feel of a early-season race. Despite the green fields surrounding the roads, all the trees were still leafless and grey, making the colors of the peloton look even more vivid ... the subject of a very fast watercolor I did after the race:

It's good to be back.