Monday, January 20, 2014

Which Path on a Snowy Day and Lesson #7

I had not been riding for several days so today I was determined to go, despite the snowy weather.  It was about 23° F and there was lots of fresh snow on the road, but no wind, so I went for a 9 mile ride through the Village of Hilton.  I decided not to head out of town for fear of having to share the road with snow plows, which is not my favorite thing to do.

Lesson #7 - Which Path to Take?
Cycling Lesson - I think one of the things I really like about riding in the snow is that, although I am going much slower than I do on dry roads, I am definitely improving and refining my skills as a cyclist.  Riding in snowy conditions is hard.  I need to really concentrate on what the bike feels like, anticipate what lies ahead and adjust accordingly.  I need to constantly be monitoring and adjusting and learning as I go.  Although I know the route, there are many choices in terms of the tracks to take.  Fresh snow where no car, person or bike has gone? A slushy, brown track from a car?  A packed down snowy track from a car?  The ghost of a track where freshly fallen snow has covered the track from a car?  A track that has footprints?  A track, once packed, that now has lots of loosened snow?  What I've learned is that there is no perfect single answer to this.  I'm constantly adjusting and changing as I ride.  A lot depends on the terrain under the snow, whether I'm coming up to a curve or a hill, going downhill, approaching an intersection where I might need to stop, whether the road dips down toward the shoulder, etc.  Today, I looped back on part of my route and discovered that I didn't even necessarily stay in the track I had chosen previously.  Conditions, weather, time and knowledge change things the second time around.

Life Lesson - The path I take, even if familiar, also has many track choices along the way and it's okay to go more slowly at times, to change tracks, to not go a certain way just because I did previously.  I need to monitor and adjust and learn as I go.  Challenges help me to improve and refine my skills to deal with them.  Sometimes the path well trod, sometimes the one less taken, sometimes one in between.  They all take me to where I want/need to go, just in different ways.

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