Suffering comes in two flavors during the spring: end of season suffering for skiers and beginning of season suffering for cyclists. Unfortunately, I find myself suffering on both ends of those seasons. Damn.
Spring skiing sounds like fun, right? Warmer temperatures, laid back crowds, decent base…blah, blah, blah. For the first couple of hours everything holds true. The runs are great and the kids are happy. Sometime around noon as the sun bakes off any cloud cover you slowly descend into a slushy hell known as the last run of the day.
The crowds wake up from their jaeger bomb comas for the two runs they will do for the day before going back to an après scene focused on even more jaeger bombs, but not before completely chewing up all of the decent runs and clogging the lift lines. Seriously bro, do you even lift? Sorry, I could not help myself.
Spring skiing starts off with so much potential and ends up being a sufferfest of slogging through snow more reminiscent of mashed potatoes than anything else. At least my kids do not complain about cold fingers and toes. So I have that going for me.
Spring biking is never meant to be fun and no one is really going to try and convince you otherwise. The weather is usually leaning toward cold and wet. The wind is never blowing less than ten to fifteen miles an hour with gusts of double those numbers. And your legs are somehow not prepared for even a light day despite a winter of working out and skiing.
You spend the first few rides wiping snot every five minutes, huffing cold air like an asthmatic weed smoker, and generally struggling to push a gear that would be light in the middle of July. What the hell spring? At some point during every early spring ride you ask yourself why you do this and why aren’t you inside watching Netflix?
Why? Because we are masochists who need to suffer in order to feel alive. None of this activity is necessary to our living yet it is essential to our happiness. We are smug in looking across the bar at a fellow skier with sun burnt cheeks and a wiped out thousand yard stare at the end of a long day plowing through snow cone conditions. We are a member of that tribe. We wave stealthily to the other hardy cyclists out in these early days of spring knowing that their lungs are struggling to suck down air just like us. We are bonded in our suffering.
It is easy to go out when the skies are clear, the temps are in the teens, and there is an inch of fresh snow on the front side of the mountain. It is easy to get in the saddle when the sun is out, the wind is mild, and your neighbors are out mowing their lawns. What defines us as members of a different tribe is when we commit to the suffering willingly.