18 February 2006

Snow, snow, glorious snow...

Our back yard

One week down and already feels like I’ve been here a month or two, and what a week it’s been. Well for all of you at home, sweltering in the heat and humidity, enjoy it, as it’s been pretty damn cold here the last few days. I thought the first couple of days were pretty sweet, even I could handle this sort of weather, then it turned real bad. The temperature drops fairly quick at night, but I am normally at the team house by then, and you kind of forget how cold it is as it’s really warm inside. Step outside for a minute and you really get quite a kick, try riding and then you can certainly be sure that’s is winter here alright.

After getting prepared with as much Merino wool clothes as I could afford, I thought I could head off any bout of winter this place could throw at me. Things were looking good until Tuesday. Getting in the car and setting off, I happened to notice the temp gauge, it was reading cool 0’c, but by the time I was half way to work, it was reading in the minuses. After getting into my workshop and starting the little heater we have up, I noticed a real drop in the temperature. Looking outside I noticed snow falling from the sky. Now you would think a man of my worldly travels and wild experiences that I would have seen snow fall from the sky before, well you are wrong. It was pretty cool (no pun intended, oh ok, it was deliberate) to finally see it falling. Some how, with many trips to the snow I had managed to miss it actually falling. It was always there, waiting for me. I had a theory, one ski trip, that the more I got drunk, the more the snow fell, that year we had a metre of snow fall almost every night. Skiing while drunk is a lot harder than riding a bike in the same state, just in case you are wondering.

Watching the snow fall all day was getting me excited to go riding in the stuff, a new experience for me, I had to do it. It just so happened that the Boss needed the car, and I had my excuse. He was keen to drop me home, as he was worried about how cold I might get, I talked him out of it. I had always wondered what these huge gloves and hats in our cupboards were for, now I have my answers. I put as much warm stuff on as I could and hit the road. Now, call me romantic, or call me stupid, what ever you may think, the ideas that I had about snow falling, changed pretty quickly…. I think it was about three minutes from memory, then I had had enough.

Some facts you might like to know about snow that I discovered in 7km on the bike. Snow is not that fluffy, (yeah there is the odd fluffy stuff) in fact it’s like small blocks of ice. These small blocks of ice hit your eyes with such power every few seconds with such vigour it feels like someone is constantly poking you in the eyes with a stick. Snow is very wet, in fact my jeans (first time in long pants in years) were soaked to the bone in a matter of minutes, oh and did I mention that it was freaking freezing. Wet cold jeans are not my favourite riding attire, but that was sweet compared to my head. Shaving my head in summer was a great idea, shaving my head in winter was pretty damn stupid, even a little hair would have changed things immensely. The hat, that I had never managed to wear (because it was far too hot) in NZ seemed to be very wet, and very cold, so pulling it over the top of my eyes to stop the ice cubes poking me in the eyes seemed to be making even colder. Ah, but all of this seemed bliss compared to my toes, these I forgot about pretty soon as they had lost all the feeling in them soon after they were soaked with frozen ice cube water coming off the road. Oh, I couldn’t even think about the toes for long, as my hands seemed to take precedence over the lot. Wet, freezing cold hands, don’t like to do anything when they are treated this way I found out. Stopping was out of the question, this required you actually moving the hands, which by the 5th km was getting impossible. Man I can’t believe people ride in this shit.

Now you think 7km on a bike is not far, hey it’s not when it’s pleasant outside, put yourself fully clothed, in the bath, get nice and wet then jump in the freezer for a while then give jump on a bike and get someone to throw sand and ice in your face. I have heard of pain, on the bike before, but this was ridiculous. Roll on summer, that’s what I say. Lucky we are leaving for Portugal for two weeks training, a little better at mid twenties, time for a little riding I think…..

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