Outlive the Bastards

Last night after work I didn’t really feel like going for a ride. I wound up being held up at work a little later than anticipated so the thought of heading out into the dark was not appealing to me especially since it had been raining most of the day. But since I’ve got a few fat bike events upcoming later this “winter” (namely the Moose Brook Fat Bike Race and the Ski, Shoe & Fatbike to the Clouds as well as the Liberal Cup Biathlon) I’ve been trying to increase my riding time a bit. Relearning how to nordic ski will probably help for the biathlon as well but unfortunately up until this point the weather has been abominable. And that “abominable” has nothing to do with snowmen as it’s been warm and wet.

Trust me I get it: this is Maine and the weather is not going to be “perfect” in the San Diego sense of the word I’ve become accustomed to the past 17 winters. I have no expectations of that, but when the temperatures are consistently running 10-15 degrees warmer than normal around here and all we are getting is cold rain I feel I can complain. It’s supposed to be snowy and cold by this time in the season, not wet! This is winter! Somehow I willed myself out the door and into the saddle.

I cannot understand the logic behind those that are happy to be having all of this cold, miserable rainy weather – their mindset just doesn’t make sense to me. They say they like “warm” weather, but this still is not “warm” by any stretch of the imagination. All it saves them is snow shoveling as far as I can see while the rest of us that like to get OUTSIDE and ski, snowshoe or fat bike have to deal with the worst conditions of all: 35 degrees and raining (or some equivalent thereof). It’s demotivating to say the least.

If this weather is so great why aren’t there hordes of people out frolicking in the puddles all day long? Where are all of the “35 degrees and raining” lovers that hate snow? Probably inside watching TV (or living in Florida, sitting inside and watching TV). If you dislike what is supposed to be our normal weather, why not move? Yes, I’m feeling my curmudgeon-oats today.

So as I slipped and slid all over the local root-infested trails last night (which was a blast made all the more enjoyable by my fat tires I might add) my thoughts were a little negative to say the least.  At least the rain had ceased a few hours earlier and as the miles wore on the temps dropped below freezing. My mood improved as the familiar crunch of ice began to crackle from beneath my tires.  I stopped to snap a photo of my favorite stretch of root-infested trail, then shut off my lights so I could be part of the forest for a moment.

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Glancing toward the clearing on my left I caught sight of the stars as if it was the first time I’d ever noticed them. As my eyes adjusted to the darkness I saw that the sky had cleared revealing the clearest moonless night I’d seen in years framed by the dark silhouettes of the tree creatures of the northern forest. The silent evergreen sentries of the bogs stood at attention guarding their golden hoard of tussocks. Stars sparkled like ornaments where their light filtered through the branches. Pausing for a moment, I puffed a vapor stream into the cold night and watched it evaporate into the timeless vacuum of space.

The moral of this story? Don’t stay at work too late, deal with the unseasonable weather the best way possible and always remember that you will outlive the bastards.

“One final paragraph of advice: do not burn yourselves out. Be as I am – a reluctant enthusiast….a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much; I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound men and women with their hearts in a safe deposit box, and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this; You will outlive the bastards.” – Edward Abbey

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2 Responses to Outlive the Bastards

  1. Kelly says:

    Nature is romantic until you find yourself trapped indoors for 3-6 months. I’m in Oregon…I know this well 😉

    • Tom says:

      Bummer, never spent much time on OR so I’ll take your word for it. Fortunately our weather has turned toward more normal lately – I’m currently recovering from a weekend spent outdoors in the snow!

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