As I sift through blogs telling of adventures in exotic locales, I can’t help but reflect on the fact that I have been living through the type of winter that our grandparents always spoke of. You know, the kind that start with, "When I was a kid we walked through waist-deep snow, uphill for ten miles." Yes, Minnesota is having that kind of winter, especially Duluth, Minnesota.
Duluth is quickly approaching its 70th day of below-zero temperatures and Lake Superior is over 80% frozen. Not only has the city been nearly paralyzed by the crippling cold, but also an exorbitant amount of snow has pummeled the region. Typically, I’m not one to complain. After all, adaptation is something that Northlanders take in stride. But when a winter has been brutal enough to cause a celebration when the thermometer climbs to ten degrees above zero you know things have taken a turn for the serious.
It seems hard to believe that spring is right around the corner…or at least somewhere up the road. With warmer temps supposedly on the way I’ve committed to more saddle time. I’ve roughed out a race schedule for the season and, as we all know, fitness doesn’t come for free. One way or another time on the bike has to become a priority, plus I just plain miss it. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve spent my fair share of time riding this winter, but not in the way I’d really like. Riding outside has proven difficult as roads have narrowed and frequent snowfalls have left trail conditions sketchy at best. So, I’ve been left with one alternative; the trainer!
My mind goes to some unique places when accompanied by the hum of a rear wheel spinning a cylinder round and round. For me, it comes in stages, first, a bit of depression over riding indoors, then, a fixation on the countdown of the clock. Once the obsession over the passing of time dissipates, an almost hypnotic state takes over. Slipping into the mental abyss is my favorite part. This is where I begin to dream. I’ve ridden Alpe d'Huez countless times, as well as the Great Divide Route, and won more races than I could shake a stick at, but most importantly I’ve dreamed of grand adventures by bike. The perpetual hum of the trainer has taken me places that I intend to see in real life as well as some that will stay tucked away deep inside my imagination.
Soon enough the ride comes to an end, but that’s okay, because it won’t be long until I’m on my next adventure…in the basement. I can’t wait!
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Tim (Eki) Ek
Tim Ek was born and raised in Duluth, Minn., and still calls it home. He’s always had a passion for competition and seeking his own extremes. Tim's true love is the woods: Out in the wild is where he clears his head and finds his peace, and he prefers getting there by bike. Tim Ek: The Eki Chronicles, ekichronicles2.kinetic-fitness.com