It's the Final Countdown...

It looks so warm and sunny, but the snow is a good clue that it is actually in the single digits on this ride...

It looks so warm and sunny, but the snow is a good clue that it is actually in the single digits on this ride...

I hope that title gave you an excellent ear worm and you hum songs by Europe for the rest of the day (don't worry, it backfired and worked on me too)!

With about 3 weeks remaining in the 90 day challenge we've just about made it through the long and (mostly) cold winter so I believe an update on the challenge is long over due.  

What a strange winter it has been!  There have been plenty of typical cold, windy and snowy days (for those of us in the northern hemisphere), perfect for fat biking.  This year, mother nature threw more than a few curve balls our way and let us have a few road riding days in January and February, in shorts no less!  

As we come to the halfway point in the month of March, I find myself getting anxious for warmer days and endless exploring on the paved and gravel roads around where I live.  Yesterday was the start of daylight savings time so warm weather can't be too far behind right?  Well, looking out my window, sunny warm days seem miles away as the snow continues to fall and I consider what thermal gear I need to put on today to get a ride in.  Then there was that time we had double digit inches of snow on my birthday in April, yes, April!  Never mind that, we should be thinking positive, right?  Such is life in the northern parts of the US and I won't complain since I choose to live here and in fact, I love having all four distinct seasons.

I love snow, but I really don't want the riding to look like this in April...

I love snow, but I really don't want the riding to look like this in April...

By the time this challenge is up in 21 days, the first gravel race will be in the books (Melting Mann) and preparations for one of the biggest races of the year, the Barry Roubaix, will be under way.

Gravel for days!  Bring it on!

Gravel for days!  Bring it on!

Looking back at the challenge so far, it was harder than I thought it would be physically and actually much longer than I thought it would be.  I actually started the challenge in November of 2017, but after dealing with sickness for the better part of three weeks and having to take a week or so off of riding, I decided to rest a couple of days and start the challenge over at day one on January 1st of 2018.  It seemed fitting to restart on that day and sure beat another lame gym resolution destined to fail when the weather warmed up (why would you want to be inside, ever?).

My hope is that this challenge will result in becoming at least a little bit stronger when gravel/road season gets into full swing.  Right now my legs just feel tired, sore and unmotivated, but my plan at the end of the challenge is to rest for 2-3 days and then get back at it with some high mileage road rides to see what, if any, benefit this challenge has had on my abilities.

I hope some readers out there joined me in the challenge and were able to enjoy the truly unique nature of winter riding.  The challenge of dressing properly, staring down the bitter cold wind at 20+mph, getting motivated enough to take that first step out the door and riding down that snowy, icy road knowing a wipeout is a likely possibility.  Riding through a cold, northern US winter teaches you to roll with it, a state of being that I think can help you through riding challenges for the other 75% of the year.  Just think, the next time you get caught in a downpour on an 85 degree day you can think, it sure beats being 20 miles from home with painfully numb toes and temperatures in the single, or even negative, digits.

With that, keep riding, we're almost down with the challenge and the cold, gloomy winter!  Don't give up, the end is in sight! Enjoy the last three weeks!

I stopped here to do some jumping jacks to try to get the feeling back into my feet! Temperatures in the teens and 20+ miles to get home. Hurry up spring!!!

I stopped here to do some jumping jacks to try to get the feeling back into my feet! Temperatures in the teens and 20+ miles to get home. Hurry up spring!!!