Finally! Spring in these parts has been inordinately long and cold this year. Until April 24th, the average high so far this April was +2.8C and we hadn’t exceeded +10C even once. This meant that only the most fervent (i.e. masochistic) road bikers ventured out and, by definition, left me inside continuing to peddle to nowhere on the stationary. The chilly conditions weren’t really the problem, although dressing for an aerobic workout in the cold is always a fine balance. What kept me off the roads were the roads themselves. It has only been the past week or so that the ice patches have melted off the shoulders. But now we are left with the gritty detritus of a particularly icy winter and potholes that could swallow a cow. Skinny tires and sand don’t play well together, so I have avoided riding any of the roads around where I live, waiting for a good rain or the road crews to get to work with their sweepers.
With today’s (Wednesday) forecast high of 13C, a bunch of us decided to break out the road bikes and ride the 50 km return Elk Island National Park – Lamont route. The Elk Island road is a lovely scenic, rolling ride through a National Park. The park is home to a large herd of bison who occasionally like to stare you down when on THEIR road. In past rides, we have had to stop and wait until they moved off or a car came by to lead the blocking, so to speak. Fortunately, this time we didn’t encounter any on the road. Unfortunately, we didn’t see any at all! There are a number of favourite pastures that we frequently see them grazing in but not this time.
The lack of wildlife – we saw no mammals whatsoever – didn’t spoil the ride though. It felt great to finally get out in the fresh air and feel the road under our tires and the wind in our faces. Well, maybe not the wind… I was on my new Trek Madone 5.2 and the inaugural ride went pretty well as expected, finding where I have to tweak the fit to make it more comfortable. Some things just can’t be done adequately in the bike shop. The road was nice and clear, with hardly any traffic, and we cruised along quite nicely while enjoying the scenery. Although the air temp was about 11C, it felt a lot cooler with the wind blowing across fields and forest still abundant with snow. Now to get on with the season!