Scents of Spring

The crisp winter air has thankfully moved on with spring struggling to take its rightful place. Zwift indoor trainer sessions are becoming less frequent and mostly reserved to pre-dawn workouts before work. Certainly not my preferred time slot but a necessity to achieve Dad life fitness goals. Every training day begins with the disbelief that it is already 4:15 am yet I conjure the motivation to get out of bed. Drink a glass of water to wake the body. Feed the cat, feed the dogs, fill a water bottle, and head to the Wahoo Kickr set up in the basement. I crank open the window nearest to the trainer in the corner of the basement. The smells of cold crisp spring air filter into the house.

It’s cold, it’s wet, it’s rich with familiar scents. Wet grass. Mud. Drizzling rain. Mother Nature’s cool breath pushes into the house briefly providing a chill that will become welcome as the workout becomes more intense. Zwift structured workout session selected. The warm-up begins. The body fights an effort at 4:40 am that it would gladly welcome twelve hours later. The two fans directed at me blow a chilling wind helping to circulate the cold damp air from the open window. Initially it is cold but as the warm-up ramps up in intensity the cool air offers relief. The rain falls with greater intensity. The smell offers a welcome distraction from the intense interval session I’m fighting to complete. Finally, the easy spin to cool down. The rain continues. The wind blows a cold blast into the basement. A chill comes over me as the effort decreases.

At last the perfect mix of dry air allows for a commute to work. April showers may bring May flowers but they ruin my commuting plans. I’m a fair weather cyclist. Say what you will. I’ve experienced enough cold wet rides and races to fully understand how much better a ride in perfect conditions can be.

The same early morning alarm wakes me but there is a greater sense of urgency to wake, feed the pets, and get on the road. A trainer session can be cut short. A commute by bicycle to work provides a sense of urgency. The familiar click into the my pedals seems echos into the quiet night. The freewheel seems to click louder in the peaceful morning. The air is crisp and cold. Did I wear the right combination of layers? I adjust my backpack loaded with clothing for the workday. The smells. The spring smells. Fresh mulch. Mud. Wet freshly cut grass. My senses focus on scents and sounds in absence of daylight as I pedal my way into through the darkness.

Pushing my way down the gravel trail the cold lake waters chill my breath. The smell of the open water and bacterial laden mud is overwhelming. Rabbits dart across the path startled by the cone of light from my handlebar mounted headlight. A coyote looks back while wandering the path increasing his pace as I approach before darting into the woods. The gravel path from suburbia gives way to pavement. The street lamp offers a brief glimpse to my computer head unit to the elapsed time and mileage. Only ten more miles into the north headwind requiring extra effort. My mind in a meditative state drifts between focus on my effort, the workday ahead, and random thoughts about my life.

The downtown skyline of Minneapolis approaches and I give one more deep dig. Cool down spin begins in the city’s ample dedicated cycling lanes. The smells of nature give way to vehicle exhaust. As I approach my building a familiar pleasant scent. Coffee. Time to go to work.

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