Spring Cycling

Yesterday, Steve, Mike, Rob and I rode from Mike’s house to Waverley Street past Wilkes, where we met Clint. Rob and Clint are younger than Mike, Steve and I. They are both students at the University of Manitoba. Clint is in the Armed forces, currently in University. He has obviously done some serious riding in the past. He hasn’t had much time on the bike since coming to Winnipeg two years ago – unfamiliarity with the City, and maintaining his studies, and a home life with a young son and a new baby.
We went to Headingley by way of the Harte Trail, which is an abandoned rail line that has been turned into a cycling and walking trail. It runs basically east and west, parallel to the CN Main line and Wilkes Avenue and extends from Charleswood to Beaudry Park past Headingley. Inside the City, the trail is fairly well used, and gravelled. Outside the Perimeter Highway, it is dirt track, and crosses ditches and farmer’s fields.
The trail inside the City had a few damp spots, and even a couple of icy patches. We hit a huge mudhole at the point the trail meets the perimeter. Steve rode through, and had to spend half an hour wiping mud off his wheels, chain and drive components.
After crossing the perimeter, we pushed ahead on the Hart Trail but our speed dropped to about 12 k as we bumped along. The track was damp by appearance but firm. I didn’t think we were sucking up new mud, but we were exerting ourselves on this stretch. The first major road crossing brought us to a ditch full of water. We detoured across a farmer’s field, sucking up more mud, to reach a culvert and cross onto the road. For the next several kilometers of gravel and payement, my cleated tires hurled mud clods.
We stopped at the edge of Headingley and turned back. We had planned to go further, but we had taken some time on the mud and the trails and still had to ride back into a southeast wind that was in our face, off our right shoulders, most of the way.
This time last year, I weighed over 170 lbs. I’m not sure how much more because I wasn’t checking. I suppose it was not over 175 or I would not have fit my clothes. For the last few weeks my weight has been showing as 142 to 144. Most of the weight came off cycling last year and a little extra came off this spring with stress and not eating around my wife’s snapping back into her demand for divorce. I have been eating a bit more now, and rebuilding muscle and fitness. I expect to lose a few more pounds – I think 130 to 135 would be a safe healthy weight.
This time last year, I did not ride until April 20. This year, I have cycled on four consecutive weekends already, and several evenings, and I have logged about 225 k.
The temperature most days has been a little above freezing, but with suitable gear, the conditions are quite tolerable. The company is good.

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