I am beginning to think I live in a frozen tundra. Driving to work this morning the thermometer in my car read -1 degree with a wind chill of -17 degrees--and I live in the southern part of the state. I find myself hugging the electric radiator in my office just to prevent hypothermia. Just about everyone is fed up with the winter, and there is, of course, more snow in the forecast. Warmer weather, longer days, and race season seem so far away still and cannot come fast enough. At this point in the year, my skin has become pasty and white with little pigment; it is dry and ashy. I am covered in goose bumps from head to toe and my nipples could surely cut glass (although I may be giving them too much credit). Nevertheless, here in the Northeast it is mid-February and feels like the Arctic Circle. Most training is being done indoors…which totally sucks and is immensely mind-numbing. So when you get a day that is upwards of 50 degrees you jump all over that like white on rice, and that is just what I did… As an obsessive checker of the weather, I knew Sunday was going to be the best day of the week; high of 46 with very little wind…perfect for taking my bike off the trainer and getting some fresh air. Since the trainer is my arch enemy and my brother changed the Netflix password on me AGAIN, I was left with no choice but to do my entire scheduled brick outside. I was told it may still be a little cold for that without the proper cold weather cycling gear but that did not stop me; I layered up, dusted off my helmet, pumped up my tires and was off. I planned to do a relatively short ride--about 20 miles--figuring it would take me about an hour. That would be just about all I could stand of the wind. I was interested to see if the trainer had benefited me at all, since prior to the last tri season I had only used it once…for 15 minutes. Okay, I really just put my bike on it. I also had to rectify my last ride when I clipped a curb avoiding a car and nearly killed myself. After the first few miles, I got into it and was feeling good. It was warm, my new ISM seat was doing its job, and I was taken to that better place in my mind--spring. Hitting the 10 mile mark, I had a grin from ear to ear; all was right with the world. Pure bliss can only last so long before reality slaps you in the face. As I approached the 15 mile mark I was keeping a below race, but decent pace of 20mph and I was being extra cautious of the various debris still lingering on the road from the last few snow storms. Next thing I knew--BAM! I was lying on the ground and still clipped in. “JESUS CHRIST. MOTHER F*****!” were the next words out of my mouth. I unclipped my foot and looked at my bike: blow out. For some reason I did not think it was necessary to carry a tire repair kit or an inner tube with me when I had racing tires on, and there were rocks and salt all over the road. Fairly typical. I called my friend to pick me up. There was no way in hell I was going to walk the few miles home. My pride was hurt, and I was defeated by the winter once again. My friend arrived, teasing me “You know there are better ways to convince everyone you need a new bike.” It has been in the 20’s every day since then--winter laughing in my face telling me not to push for spring. A few lessons learned from that day: like most people I should carry extra inner tubes and a tire repair kit; avoid the shit in the road; and I definitely need a new bike. Two crashes = a bad bike. Ten weeks, 5 days and 18 hours until my first race of the season. Spring, warmer weather, and outdoor training cannot come fast enough! There is a reason the trainer was invented…