Thursday, April 8, 2010

Between Winter and Spring


It 's a gray day today, and feels more like late winter than spring, though my cherry tree shows signs of blossoming soon. It's cold out, maybe forty degrees, though I haven't actually stepped outside to check. It could be a little warmer. The lake has thawed completely, and the grass is green, but I know from years past it could snow any day. Most years we see at least one good snowstorm in April. Not until May can you assume the white stuff is gone. I remember one year it snowed six inches and they opened the local ski area for the day. I didn't go skiing, but I thought about it.

So far, we've been luckier than ususal and have had several sunny days, a few with temperatures reaching all the way up to eighty degrees. The most recent one was Good Friday. I used that opportunity to go on a long bicycle ride with a group I ride with, going all the way to Belle Isle and back, about forty-five miles. I actually rode only forty miles, because I skipped the Belle Isle loop, which is fast and usually windy. (Usually I do the loop, but I talked myself out of it this time.) Instead, I stayed at the coffee shop, a Tim Hortons, and waited while a few of us lazies relaxed and drank some really good coffee and ate blueberry muffins. It was absolutely great to ride in bike shorts and a light jersey so early in the year. This particular ride is normally an easier pace, except for the Belle Isle part, so you can talk to friends without getting winded. It is also flat which makes it a favorite. We'll be doing the hill rides soon enough...

I enjoyed skiing this winter as well, both ski racing at Boyne Mountain and our one week vacation to Vail, Colorado. The snow was great at Boyne this year, not much ice at all, and two weekends had full sun. Our last weekend up there was not only sunny, but warm. No rain, no bald ice, nothing to complain about. The only thing I could complain about was my lack of trophies this year. I came close to a third place once, missed it by less than half a second, but could not make it happen. It's not like I raced badly, just everyone else raced better. My one excuse it that great snow conditions don't usually favor me. The worse the ice, the better I do. Oh well, I did race on Boyne's Nastar course a few times and claimed several gold medals. And one run was just short of a platinum. Next year...

Vail was awesome. We had a great condo at Lion's Head. My daughter Angie and her husband Marty joined us, plus we had two friends in our condo as well. We were only a short five minute walk to the gondola. The snow was a little sparse considering what they normally get, but I didn't notice any rocks, and once we headed to the back bowls we found lots of powder. We skied earlier in the season this year, the first week in February. Temperatures were mild though, early to mid-thirties during the day, colder at night. Vail is one of my favorite ski areas, more terrain than you could possibly ski in a week, or in several weeks. And the food is spectacular, pricey, but it's Vail after all. The restaurants have to pay for all that prime real estate.We did eat all of our breakfasts in the condo, and took turns cooking and cleaning up. Thanks to my husband, we were usually one of the first ones to arrive at the lift, no later than nine o'clock, and sometimes arriving by eight-thirty. This was not a vacation that included any sleeping in time.

But I'm really looking forward to spring and summer. That's the great thing about living in Michigan. Before you lose interest in any one season or sport, it's time to start another.

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