|Grand Forks this morning. Sundogs appeared as the temperature|
dropped and ice crystals filled the air. Photo by Eric Hyden
I considered calling it a day. But I'm stubborn and had been looking forward to some adventure so opted not to. instead, i sat in the boat and pushed off, sliding down and out across the ice which broke and parted with the weight of the boat. I wasn't at all sure how i was going to get back out, but figured i didn't have to worry about it for an hour ad headed up river.
It took some getting used to steer without the rudder, but i managed ok. I wan't able to go at full intensity but that was ok too - it was my first paddle since nationals in late october. What I loved (once i got over my nervousness) was trying to dodge the floating sections of surface ice. Some were approaching an inch in thickness and weren't fun to hit - i almost got stuck on one and had to struggle to chop away at it with the ultralight carbon fibre paddle. Some were just a thin skin, millimeters thick floating islands of ice moving with the current, and offered almost no resistance to my bow as i plowed through. I found myself marveling at the simple (or perhaps not so simple) phase change that i was witnessing.
The night of that paddle it snowed again - another 3-4 inches - and got colder. The highs have been in the teens I've given up the idea of paddling again. Today though, i did manage to get an hour and a half outside on the bike (thanks sean). I figured i've got to use what nature provides and had a great ride up and back along the greenway - opting to take the mosquito control trails whenever possible. It was tough pushing through six inches of snow, and squirrelly too - i endoed a couple of times and went down at least half a dozen others when the front wheel decided it wanted to be at a right angle to the rest of the bike.
Far from ideal training conditions perhaps, but i made do. I told myself it was just like riding through sand, and tried to pretend i was in the middle of the desert, pushing hard, only wearing alot more clothes.