The really wonderful thing about cycling on a cold winter day is finding one’s self in the middle of nowhere, listening for the lonesome whistle of a train in the far, far off distance, and the shrill cry of a hawk circling above, crying out over and over and over again. Pause for a moment to catch your breath: There’s a wind whipping through the grasses, rustling the bare branches of trees and absolutely no promise of sun whatsoever. The temperature has risen into the 40s but the very high level of humidity means the windchill makes it feel like it’s in the low 30s or upper 20s. The fields are muddy and crisscrossed with the tracks of combines. Snow has already come and gone, but in its wake stand puddles that reflect a grim gray sky hovering up above.
Thirty minutes into my ride and I’ve already peeled out of my jacket and my woolen cap. Despite the cold I’m sweating from the exertion of climbing hills that I have neglected for the past six weeks of evolving weather. An indoor trainer is absolutely no substitute for being on actual roads.