The Thaw

Spring (finally) came, and now it has gone. It was only a few weeks ago that the last of the frozen water pipes in Winnipeg finally thawed. Winter’s frost was over 7 feet deep. The late weather did not help the cycling season, but eventually the legs started turning.

Two weeks ago we rode the Ottawa-Kingston Rideau Lakes tour. Saturday, outbound, was a brutal, searingly hot day under a merciless sun with constant headwinds. The worst of it was that Mary hurt her leg very early in the ride. All day she literally did not pull her weight. I could tell she was hurting – for hours she said nothing. To say this is out of character would be the grossest understatement – there is nothing Mary likes more than chatting.

Sunday was everything Saturday was not. A light cloud cover screened us from the sun, and a friendly tail wind made amends for the previous day’s contrariness. Best of all, Mary was back in form. She did not even mention Westport hill until we were practically on it. (Normally she starts 50 km away.)

It is a funny thing about riding on home turf. Because we know the roads and their shortcomings we are hesitant to ride them. When touring, on the other hand, we cheerfully ride over the squiggly lines on a map with no apprehension of what is to come. Call it blind faith, I guess.

Yesterday was an early morning ride to Gatineau Park. The Park has a time restriction – it is closed to car traffic until 11:00 am. We try to make it up and down before traffic is let in, but a flat slowed us down.

Rather than riding up to Champlain Lookout we picniced at the base of King Mountain. There were egg sandwiches, pickles, fresh baked bread, dried apricots, trail mix, coffee, and cherries. I’m sure I have forgotten something. Mary packs light when it comes to food.

The old maple under which we sat must have been hit by lightening. Thirty feet up, the trunk was split open to the heart wood which had rotted out. We had no company but bird song and a lone kite drafting on the eddying currents high above us.

The old (left) knee functions. The new (right) knee also functions. Both are actually the same age. Both hurt. Both are still hoping for a thaw.

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