The buckle is frozen. The God Dammed thing won’t release the ratchet and I can’t get my foot out of the frozen brick that was a Brontrager RL MTB shoe. It takes a good five minutes with a hair dryer to get it unstuck. It snaps free and I release my foot from it’s icy grasp. The wool socks come off with a wet ‘Sloptttt’ as I throw them to the floor, sand falling and snapping as it hits the linoleum tile below. I towel off and get some dry clothes on – too cold for a shower just yet.
I forgot how bad it can get. How fast it goes from painful to dangerous. That said, this might be my one wardrobe mistake of the season. It doesn’t take much to get the message – Winter is here. It’s in the ice that developed on the frame and handlebars. It’s in the sharp, painful balls of ‘rain’ falling from the sky. Here is where the choice is made – the Trainer or the sharply deteriorating Outdoors. I’m lucky enough to know two who will brave the rest of the Winter outside, the Trainer being a necessary evil that I’ve locked away for an hour each week on Thursday nights.
And there’s beauty to be had. Perhaps not readily apparent beauty, but it is there. A Dura Ace 7800 gruppo (an easy winner for my favorite of all time) on a ‘B’ bike. It slowly degenerates with the weather, until the gear he’s chosen is the gear he’s in for the long haul. A mixture of Ice and Grit covering every available surface, the looks and ease-of-use which made it such a desirable product have been stripped away. What once bike-nerds freeze framed photos of in the Tour, wondering about the new shiny parts adorning their Gods; is now nothing more than a glorified ice-tray. It’s good to see it used like this. It takes away from concentrating on the fact I can’t feel my toes.
Probably time for some new shoes, I think.