Last week was a sh!tty week. An unexpected death in the family pretty much destroyed the week. Spent most of the week trying to hold down the fort with my daughter while my wife was out of town helping her family cope, followed by a drive in nasty weather for a wake and a funeral. Much stress, much unhappiness.
But, sunday morning I got to wake up in my own bed again.
Spent the morning taking my daughter to the rock climbing gym because if you need to burn some energy and pent-up aggression/frustration out of a 6 year old, you really can't beat rock climbing.
By 3, I had enough stuff done that I could go ride. It was late, so rather than throwing the bike in the car and heading to a trailhead, I just geared up and rode down to the lake. 2 hours riding on Lake Monona was pretty much exactly what I needed. Took about 45 minutes to get my head clear and after that it was all pretty zen.
Riding on the lake is always a challenge- if there's not enough snow, it's treacherous. If there's too much snow, it's maddening. I was lucky and there was just enough snow- sometimes too much, sometimes not enough but mostly just enough to make it fun. Riding on the lake is a lot like riding uphill for 2 hours. The flat ice gives you no breaks, no downhill sections, just kind of an endless grind. Which sometimes, is exactly what is needed. Saw several other sets of fatbike tracks, ski tracks and a bunch of ice fishermen. If I live to be 100, I will never understand ice fishing, though they looked at me like I was the crazy one so I guess we're all nuts.
Riding on the lake in Madison is kind of a great way to see how people adapt to the winter up here. I grew up a lot further south, so being on the ice is still an unnatural feeling for me. But up here, it's just something you do. Passed many home-made ice rinks where kids had taken snow shovels and pushed the ice clean for skating, snowmen and a really cool art project in the middle of the lake. Someone had taken about 50 christmas trees and set them in a spiral in the middle of the lake. In the middle was an artist's statement and a box with lots of long strips of fabric and a marker. Write something on the fabric, tie it to a tree, let it flutter in the wind like a tibetan prayer flag. I wrote a good-bye note to my nephew and tied it to the tree. Hope the wind carries it to him, wherever he is. 17 is just too young to die.
Turned around to get my bike and stared into the kind of sunset that you don't get on land. City off to my right, sun straight ahead, sky orange and red and blue and green and beautiful. Picked up my bike, followed a pressure ridge across the lake back to my side of town and then around the point and into squaw bay to go home, but not before stopping to stare at the sunset a few more times.
2 hours on my bike did a lot to heal some of the damage from the week before. For me, there's something about being on a bike that helps me heal up that nothing else will do.
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