Posted all this hot air the other day about not being ready to hang up my outdoor wheels for the season. That I was going to be on-call for that next outdoor skate no matter what. I was so inspired writing that last post, until I left for work and felt the bone-chill in the air. No one will know if I skip it today…
Yeah, well, so much for that idea. As I’m leisurely walking into the locker room to enjoy a lunchtime in the warmth of the company gym, I see a friend… “Hey man, if you’re gonna be a skate-pro, you’d better go skate this today!” as he’s pointing out the door at the brush weeds blowing over on the west side of our building. “Um, yeah, that’s what I was going to do.” Thus compelled to follow-through on so much hubris from the previous post.
The snow clouds were looming and the temperature just below freezing but clouds had been hanging around all morning and weren’t productive, so I bundled up, geared up and headed out. As I was standing at my tailgate in the parking lot in front of my office, with that day-glow green 2005 NSIM finisher sweatshirt over 3 other layers (I buy a new sweatshirt every year from the cheepster rack at the NSIM Expo) I felt like Ralphie’s little brother Randy from Christmas Story, on skates.
Lacing up I notice a few drops of rain hitting the ground, but nothing major. I roll out. The wind was brutal going up the lead hills, but I was just looking forward to a nice push on the way back.
About 6 miles from the office on my usual lunch loop and the rain/snow mixture materialized quickly. And the wind changed direction and intensified. I’m trapped. And the road is getting wetter by the second. I decide it’s not worth it and turn around, short-cutting the loop by 4 miles.
I’m flying back now, wind in my face. The wind seems like it’s coming from everywhere, at once a head, tail and cross wind. Amazing and disorienting. The freezing rain/snow makes it feel like I’m skating into the path of a sandblaster. My glasses are completely wet and I’m getting pelted in the eyes by these micro-needles of rain/snow every time I look over the rim. Seriously, my face is getting numb. And not in a good way.
I’m screaming down the hills I started out on. Literally screaming. I pass my friends Bob & Geoff screaming and they think it’s funny. Peckerheads…
The wind was in my face, and I’m thankful, because I hadn’t counted on the roads being wet coming back. The downhill in this section is a pretty steep grade. The wind is slowing me somewhat, but I’m having a hard time controlling my speed with T-stops. I think I’m actually accelerating when I’m trying to stop. At least there aren’t any cars…whoops, spoke too soon. Luckily, they let me slide in front of them to clear the lot they’re pulling into.
The road flattens just enough for me to gain control as I need to bank into the front parking lot at work. As I roll into the lot wiping my glasses with my gloved finger, I think maybe no one will see me…until I spot the damn NSIM sweatshirt reflection in the window.
As I return to my tailgate, having cut the skate to a mere 9 miles, I start looking for a pole to stick my tongue to. I feel like I’ve gone through with a double-dog dare, but one only a jackass would have accepted…
I’ll still keep the skates in the trunk, but I put them away wet, so I might have a convenient excuse to stay inside next time and eat some turkey with Bumpas’ dogs.
11/13/09 Training: 8.75 miles in the snow and rain. Forecast for weekend is coming true. (They;re getting better at predicting the snow!)
11/14/09 Training: 1.5 hours in the rink this morning. Did 100 laps, right/left leg pushes and worked on cornering technique. Really ramped up the pace on the 100 laps today. It felt good. Finished in about 20 minutes.