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Infernal vernal

It's the first day of spring but who would know?

The thermometer says minus 5 celsius and the forecast calls for about 10 cm of snow.

This seasonal milestone that promises renewal and birth is just a period of torture for mountain bikers. By comparison, all the other portals to the seasons are something to look forward to.

Take your summer solstice for example. By mid-June, your legs are coming into good form and you've memorized all the deadfalls in the woods. The pesky bugs are on the wane and the mud has firmed up in grand style.

The autumnal equinox is something to anticipate with glee. Finally, we're rid of the heat and the trails are firm, fun and fast. And the leaves have turned to flame, drying out the air and adding a little rustle to the hustle. Except for the hazard of hunting season, it's one of the best times of the year for trail riding.

Even the winter solstice is worth the wait. Those who ride year-round are waiting for that first chance to put on the studded tires and hit the frozen trails. Lakes and ponds become virtual velodromes. And if we're lucky, the snowmobiles have packed down the trails better than any dirt singletrack.

But the vernal equinox is just cruel torture to mountainbikers.

Imagine being still bundled up for winter, and limited to flat and boring road rides. Then a warm day arrives. The sun is high and the birds are singing. Riding the paved road, I peek down my favourite trails looking for patches of brown and grey, but still too much white in there. The trail beckons but I know the slush and muck will swallow the widest of knobbies.

A few more weeks and I'll just have to turn in for a visit. I know I'll regret getting mired in the slop and slime, but I do it every year. Scolding me, the voice of common sense will tell me to wait, to leave the trail to heal a while more.

We're not in spring yet, even though the calendar says so. It's snowing. It's cold. The forecast calls for another week of cold weather.

So until spring has really sprung, I'll keep dreaming of all the other seasons. . .

contributed by:
Rick MacMillan
March 20, 2004

Feature Articles

No more excuses. Get the bike out.
March 19, 2007
It's not been a good winter for riding. Too cold. Too much slush. Too busy. Too many excuses.

Biking in the dark. In the winter. Just asking for trouble . . .
January 1, 2007
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The springtime of your life
March 26, 2006
Why spring riding makes you feel young again.

Studs on Bikes
December 12, 2005
We're talking tires, not the riders, in this article about riding with studded tires.

Shoots Bikes and Leaves
October 19, 2005
The missing comma gives pause to riding in the woods during hunting season

Neither snow nor wind nor rain, nor trees, etc.
January 19, 2005
The joy and hardship of winter cycling in the woods

Weapons of moss destruction
August 5, 2004
The harsh reality of seeing where your coffee table comes from.

Wet behind the gears
July 19, 2004
What could be more natural than complaining about the weather?

"Take two baths and call me in the morning"
May 3, 2004
Clean therapy.

What's that smell?
April 20, 2004
The calling card of man's best friend . . .

Infernal vernal
March 20, 2004
The vernal equinox is here, but spring is not. How does this seasonal milestone compare with others on the bikers calendar?

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