I love summer. Open windows, bare feet, tank tops, swimming, birds chirping, DAYLIGHT, warm sunshine and cold drinks.
I’ve never really been a fan of winter. Shoveling, slippery roads, heavy clothes, air that hurts my face….
But this winter has been different. I’ve found something that, truth be told, has made me (gulp) desire both the cold AND the snow. And you get one guess what that thing is. Give up? It’s off-road trails.
Before you snow haters get your torch and pitch fork, hear me out! The “shoveling” is done by someone else. Some lucky person gets to drag a grooming tool around the trails so they’re clear and packed. And exercising in the snow tends to be more of a challenge – whether on bike or foot or ski, you work neglected muscles to keep yourself upright and stable. Heavy clothes don’t need to be so thick and heavy when you keep your body temperature up by constant movement. As for air that hurts your face…well, that’s still there. But 3 out of 4 ain’t bad!
Sidenote: There are these wonderful things called “Yak Tracks” that can help with slippery surfaces. Yak Tracks are strap-on cleats that you wear over your boots or shoes to give you better traction on slippery surfaces. I can run across sheer ice like it’s pavement with mine on. The knock-off brands aren’t too pricey – and nothing compares to hospital bills after a fall on the ice!
Winter has become a whole new playground now! The trails have given me a quiet, beautiful place to run (oofda!) and ride by mountain bike and new fat bike (wahoo!). I’ve seen all kinds of wildlife and evidence of even more around the trails. It’s fun seeing the tracks of other humans too – knowing others have been out enjoying the exact thing I am!
Beyond all else, it’s about being outside. Iowa winters all too often have us cooped up for days/weeks/months… and that makes us all a bit crazy. A little fresh air always does me good – just ask my kids and husband!
Unfortunately, the roller coaster temps have limited when the trails are open. Muddy trails preserve footprints and tire tracks, making them hard to repair – leaving the trail uneven and sometimes dangerous when it hardens. There are also places where the river has covered parts of the trail, but bridges will be built soon to mitigate this issue. So this is where my desire for cold and snow comes in: when the ground and water freeze, it’s all fair game!
So I’m trying something new this winter: bring on the cold and snow! I’ve got things to do!