It’s been a while since a proper hectic spring thunderstorm has passed by, and a while since I’ve had a view to enjoy it from. On the balcony watching Sonnenallee take lightning hits, the rain so heavy like monsoon season in Guangzhou.
Not as much riding this month as I’d have liked, with rain (which I like, but ruins bike) and sick (which I don’t like, and neither does bike). But a sunset ride yesterday made up for some of that, finding some more of the gravel, single-track, cyclocross possibilities in the inner-northern field. Another sunny day today, -3°, perfect.
Yesterday was rain; today was snow. Squalls cutting across Tempelhofer Feld, alternating sun and darkness every 15 minutes. Colder than yesterday, and harsher wind. I had my reflective fluoro-pink gloves for the ride, making some colour in the gloom. I shouted, “Yes! Fucking yes!” when the snow first spun across the apron, I love the work in this weather.
Speaking of bikes and starting the year with a wet, cold, and very windy ride, I’ve been using a Polar heart rate monitor while I ride (and climb, dance, yoga, whatever mostly) on and off for the last 2 1/2 years, to give me an idea of what my subjective feel of training compares to what’s actually going on in my body. It also somehow helps motivate me to do the training, week after week.
Last year I decided cycling is my new dancing, so, two things: First, 2018 is the first year in more than 20 years I didn’t do a single dance class, which I feel rather good about. And second, training on a bike is dancing for me, so in fact I did a lot of dancing last year. There’s some gaps in my year, March in Narrm, Australia, April without a bike, weeks here and there where I didn’t train or didn’t use the monitor, and at some point dropping using it for yoga and core. Altogether, I did a lot more training last year than I have in recent years, and cycling is the reason. From doing it to bulk up my endurance for dancing, to doing it because hooning through a wet winter forest is one of life’s deep pleasures, to doing it because it was the only thing that sorted my knee out (and 2017’s riding is entirely why I can do squats and pliés without my patella feeling like it’s being gutted), to doing it because I love it and love the suffering and honestly would ride for hours a day if I could arrange it.
And seeing it change my body. After all those years of ballet and dance, and yoga and climbing, all of which I saw change me depending on how intense I was in each of them, cycling is the first new discipline I’ve got serious about since I was a student. So, here’s 2018, and all the training I did with a heart rate monitor strapped under my boobs.
Yes, I got hit by that rain. No, I did not leave the big ring, even when the 24km/h head wind gusted to 60+ — and even though my big ring is a cyclocross compact 46, I’m claiming Rule #90: Never Get Out of the Big Ring, and Rule #67: Do your time in the wind. Yes, crosswinds of the same intensity are rather scary, especially when the rain is horizontal; and dry 7°C seemed relatively warm compared to wet, so, Rule #9: If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period. Also, Rule #5: Harden The Fuck Up. I wasn’t intending for a foul weather ride, mainly because the Berlin grot is a bike killer, but I am a rider who loves the work.
One of the very rare times Rest Area has had a camera inside the truck. Me with iPhone and hand-held theatre lamp; S.J bringing the ruckus.
Same truck; different position.
High cirrus cloud marking change’s arrival. Unsettled high wind, biting sun glare, and early afternoon me wading on the gentle sandbanks of Williamstown Beach. I picked up a touch of Australian sunburn.
It’s not the Gulf Stream collapsing. It’s not going to be the coldest winter in 1000 years. The North Atlantic Oscillation is in a weak phase though, and yes, “if the simple model is correct, the cold winters we in Europe are experiencing at the moment are a consequence of global warming.”
It may be one of the last. Today it rains, the snow is slush and trickling, dripping water beating a tattoo upon Uferstrasse. It’s warm even; 4º. Grey though, of course. Yesterday in the cold a peek of sun set the whitened trees aglow, shot with colour between me at the window and the scraps of undressed sky behind.
The day before as the heaviest of falls yet this winter brought a haze across the canal and Hallen, air dry and cracking, the Berlinerwasserbetrieb still out making tunnels and therein tunneling, the light that particular intensity only of winter in the north caught in this, as if eyes unfocussed and drained of colour these very colours become overwhelming, in this I took some photos.