After my epic GRAVEL ride yesterday I decided to take a day off after getting into an argument with my coach. Coach says that if I want to really succeed as a GRAVEL rider I will need to begin incorporating indoor training into my GRAVEL rides. He recommended I start with an inexpensive Wahoo. I asked him how much? He said I can get started for $300. I told him my girlfriend has a Wahoo and she lets me use it for free.
Actually, I wanted to go for a GRAVEL ride today but it was snowing. Not just baby snow, but big fat honking snow things that covered everything with white. I was memorizing some Chaucer at about six-thirty and a giant, fat coyote came wandering across the front yard. He looked in the window and kept sauntering.
I have a lot of experience in snow, but most of it is bad. When I was in college I dropped out of college, and after that went to Colorado from Texas via Oregon. I actually didn’t “go” to Colorado, I ran out of gas there, at Keystone, in the summer, so I went into the lodge and got hired as a dishwasher at La Brasserie. When they told me the name I asked them how come they needed a dishwasher in a women’s underwear shop?
It got very snowy in Keystone in October. Being from Texas and not snowproof I had issues with the snow. One of the things I learned at Keystone is that on the ski slopes it’s not important to be warm, it’s important to be fashionable. I had these L.L. Bean wool guide pants I’d bought in Oregon at a Goodwill for ten bucks and quickly learned why no one at Keystone wore wool pants, i.e. they are snow magnets. I’d tromp around looking like the abominably starved snowman. Only one girl was ever interested. Her name was Sandy, and all I will say is that in life quality almost always makes up for quantity, although as Stalin noted, “Quantity has a quality all its own.”
Anyway, I had to leave Keystone because I almost killed a local by mistake, but I kept the wool pants.
Today I set out for another walk up the forest road that I’d done my GRAVEL ride on yesterday, and although I wasn’t wearing wool pants, I was wearing my wool jacket and wool cap. The snow came down pretty hard, covering my tracks quickly. My house is already at the end of a one-mile climb on a hill that turns into a dirt forest road; yesterday there was a ton of traffic because it was Sunday–I counted three cars.
See? As soon as I show up, the neighborhood goes to shit.
The only car I saw today was a utility truck for the electric company, and after about a mile there were no car tracks at all. It is quiet up here all the time, so quiet that when a couple of kids were out playing in the snow several hundred yards away I could hear their voices clearly through the window, so when you walk up the road it becomes whatever is more quiet than quiet. Your feet crunch the snow, sink in, pull out, crunch, repeat. That and breathing are the only sounds.
I stopped for a minute and listened. The wind kicked up, more snow started falling, and I walked some more.
After a few miles I turned around to come back down. My feet were cold. My hands were cold. The rest of me was warm because, wool.
A lady in a big black pick-them-up came lumbering up the grade. I was covered in snow because, wool. She gave me the biggest smile and waved. I can’t remember anyone in LA waving at me except for when they were using one finger.
A half-hour later a guy came by in his pick-them-up. He stopped and rolled down the window. “Need a ride?” he asked, even though we were going in opposite directions.
It’s kind of a nice feeling to have people offer you a ride even if you don’t need one.
Down at the bottom of the road a guy and his family had parked and hauled out an inner tube. He and the kids were taking turns sledding down the slope. The kids were screaming with joy. Everyone was covered in snow and wearing hardly anything but they didn’t seem cold. They’d dash back up the slope with the huge inner tube and fling themselves back down the hill. I can’t remember when I’ve seen a family have so much fun with nothing but an inner tube, not even any water, much less a boat.
I figured I’d wait until they finished and then give them a friendly lecture about how if they really wanted to have fun they needed to get serious about buying stuff. Maybe GRAVEL bikes for the whole family?