A Winterpeg Wonderland

Winnipeg is my home – I was born here and the entire Cycle Clan is here. Granted, if things were different and I was given the choice of anywhere in the world to live it wouldn’t necessarily be the top of my list. Probably not even top 10. But my ride Saturday morning might make me eat those words.

A perfect combination of temperature and humidity – plus a healthy dose of long-absent sunshine made for a magical winter landscape that would rival any scene in a gaudy travel brochure. Hoar frost is an unflattering (but still kinda funny) name for something so purely pretty.Although I was on my mountain bike, the Harte Trail is hard packed enough you could easily bomb through it on a cross bike and only take out half a dozen dog walkers if they didn’t hear you coming.Once you pass the Perimeter on to the Headingly Grand Trunk Trail it’s a different story. The trail is looser and a little chewed up by snowmobiles in spite of the “No Motorized Vehicles on the Trail” signs posted every six feet or so. (It’s not their fault, everybody knows snowmobilers can’t read*). But it’s totally rideable, albeit at a bit of a slog in places.

I will openly admit I was dreading this ride. The last big one before Actif Epica on February 18. Last week’s long ride was miserable. My seat bolt was stripped, causing my already uncomfortable saddle to slip to an extremely invasive angle early in the ride. It was damp and cloudy, my water froze, and my beloved music died. I was alone and the company was bloody miserable.

But this ride was amazing. Earlier in the week I brought my bike in to get checked out at the shop, much to the amusement of the Alter Boys. It’s a lightly used 17 year-old Renegade mountain bike that had never seen the inside of a bike shop. After they got back up off the floor, the boys kindly replaced the seat post and installed a new, more butt-friendly saddle. They fixed the brakes, dialled in the shifting, and tightened the hubs and bottom bracket. Dave suggested installing some aero bars. Funny Dave.What a difference. My bike worked better, the music was good and the company was considerably less foul-mouthed and pissy than last week. And the scenery… oy. Even after six hours I felt like I could have ridden all day.

I’m feeling physically and mentally ready for the Big Race – and somehow, in the process have become a convert to the Evangelical Temple of Winter Riding. All thanks to a big shot of vitamin D in February in good old Winnipeg. Pass the frozen Kool-Aid, it’ll help wash down those words.

*Just kidding, dudes. Some of my best friends are snowmobilers.