Of Wet Snow, Carbide Studs and The Scent of Summer

Spring in the Front Range of the Colorado Rockies is a tumultuous time for the region’s cyclists. We start to get restless. Months have passed since the alpine has permitted us entry on two wheels. Winter months spent on trainers, if you swing that way, or riding the plains under layers of fancy fabric are starting to pay dividends for some. Legs are getting restless for the big climbs and minds dull from the flatlands.

Spring has a tendency to offer a string of balmy, still days tempting rides high into the hills visiting terrain not ridden since last fall. Then with ferocity winter is back in one massive upslope storm dumping feet of wet snow all over thoughts of summer.

While engaged in the singlespeed tuck on a recent decent of a favorite mountain road, during one of these peaceful weather interludes, I was reminded what it is about spring in this part of the world that I like so much. The anticipation of a new run of adventure on the bike. Winter certainly is a time for two-wheeled exploits but these are of a different genus and an entirely different story best told when gold comes to the Aspen leaves.

Back to the promise of summer; Looking off to the South West the speed blurred view of my riding territory opens up. Memories of summer rides out the back door flood back with a glimpse of a thawing ridgeline and the smell of water-logged plant matter newly released from the melting snow pack. These windows of pristine weather allow the mind to wonder back to the routines of summer riding and to look back on the disappearing dark season with satisfaction of another one passed comfortably in the saddle. Pulling the fenders and studs off the commuter and giving it a thorough cleaning under warm spring sun is for me the symbolic end to the season. Another one in the books, it was a hell of a time but bring on the alpine ramblings.

Back down into the neighborhood and off of the mountain decent the warm Chinook wind blows hard in my face re-affirming the weather report I read but promptly dismissed as lies on account of ‘it’s spring damn it!’

The snow will be back at least once more before winter recedes for another edition. Though with each passing morning of carbide studs crunching on asphalt, days of pine laced singletrack, and wide open alpine speed draw ever closer.