I went out this morning with Andy. Mornings like this are the ones that you remember. A clear sky, sunshine beating down through the chill air, roads dry and the grass crispy. It was cold, coming in at -8c (closer to -14c with the wind chill) and you felt it on your face. It is relatively easy to dress your body properly. The trick is to wear multiple thin layers. This traps air against your body and this warms up and stays there. The face is another challenge altogether, as are the feet.
The face feels the burn of the cold immediately. It’s an aggressive pain. It feels as if someone is forking some red hot poker into the extremities of your face. As the kilometres roll on, the sensation becomes less acute, and one can only wonder if this is because parts of your face are now officially dead and without any feeling at all. Note to self: must invest in a full-face balaclava before the temperatures drop to real ‘winter’ levels.
We were riding the same roads as we do all year long, in other words the trek from Dorval east to Parc Levesque, but when you spice it up by going off-road and off-bike path, it seems to take on a whole new look. You’re seeing the same scenery but from a new angle, and I can’t tell you how new that makes it look. It took me quite by surprise, in fact, because it really did feel as if I was riding along an unexplored route. Makes me look forward to the winter riding in the snow even more!
Andy was on his mountain bike complete with the studded tyres, and the white of the wheels on the bare tarmac became a constant companion as we bombed along the Lakeshore. I am still on my ‘summer’ tyres (fit on the Kona) but I do have a pair of Schwalbe 700 x 30 winter tyres that’ll be going on within the next week or so. They’ll make riding in the snow a breeze, as well as doing the cross country thing as we did today.
So for the record, there is still no sign of any real snow. The odds of a green Christmas seem to be increasing with every passing day, in fact pretty soon the bookies are going to stop taking bets. We have not had a completely green Christmas in as long as I can remember, and I am hoping that Mother Nature pulls some strings and blankets the area with snow before the week is out. It just makes Christmas that much more special. I mean it is not going to take away from the family fun and sharing spirit that makes Christmas what it is, but when you’ve experienced twenty-one Christmas’s in Montreal, and nigh on 99% of them have been wonderful white Christmas’s, it’s quite a stretch to recall what walking out on Christmas Day in shoes is like. It’s just not cricket, as they say.