It’s barely over a week away now. The Spring North Cycling Tour looms, and yet I’m still struggling to get time on my bike. So far I’ve logged a grand total of 157 miles. Normally, I do that week in, week out. And on tour that represents just 3 days of cycling.
We’ve never toured this early in the season before. Usually by the time we set out on a trip, we have had months of training behind us and it feels like a natural extension of our summer’s activity. And we are already well acclimated to the weather.
Not so this time. With temperatures bouncing between the 20’s and 40’s here in the Northland, I have yet to complete a ride without frozen toes. So when I look at the forecast for Johnson City TX, which we expect to reach within a few days of starting our trip, I find it hard to conceive of readings that climb into the upper 70’s and 80’s. I will be going on faith when I pack my short sleeve jerseys and leave behind my heavy layers. Intuitively I know I shouldn’t be needing them, but it sure is hard to let go at this stage.
Spring is a relative term. On the North Shore just having the ice recede is a victory, even if the snow still clings in the shadows and the wind off the lake rarely registers above the freezing mark. The thought of wildflowers blooming is still a foreign concept. But very appealing.
We have made a few adjustments to our gear for this season. To date, we’ve mostly traveled in late summer or fall with the benefit of remarkably dry weather. With the very real likelihood of spring showers, we’ve made a concession and added fenders to our bikes. I hated to mar the stark features of my bike with such mundane accessories, but ultimately decided that comfort ruled over style. Drier feet are worth it. We’ve also swapped out our down sleeping bags for ultra-light thinner models. Now I’m really counting on the warmer climes to moderate the night time temps.
There’s no doubt the start of this trip is going to be a shock to the system. The sudden accumulation of miles. A sharp spike in temperature. And a vast blossoming of color in our world. Despite our lack of training for all this, I’m sure I can take it. Bring on the Spring North Tour!