The neighbor's lillies already have flowers and stand at least a foot tall. However, I think they cheated and went to the garden store over the weekend. Tulips two doors down are a few inches taller than their faded mulch. The red leaflets on our rosebushes grew an inch in the last for or five days. I can tell already the 10 or so new rose bushes that line the back privacy fence will be spectacular this year. My cyclist summer face is starting to come in too.
Winter this year was tough. It was a full winter, like the ones I remember in Wisconsin, from mid December to early March, schloppy, grey and biting cold. I’ve lived here now for nearly 10 years and this has been the harshest winter yet. Usually Cincinnati is blessed with a sprinkling of freak days that reach 50 and 60 degree temperatures in January and February to keep cyclists from slitting their wrists with a rusty spoke. Not this year. It was a winter where the time it took to get dressed and undressed for a ride took as long or longer than the amount if time you could survive on a ride. Winter tested training creativity. I found a mix of spin classes, frozen mountain bike trail riding, garage iPod trainer sessions, trail work, running, core work and a few winter hikes kept the scale from tipping in the direction that causes Biggest Loser contestants to point fingers when facing elimination. However, I don’t think I lost more than a pound till daylight savings time and the 40-50-60 degree blanket settled over Cincinnati for good.
Yesterday a coworker commented, “You losing weight? I can see your cheekbones.” I’ve been waiting for that. It felt good, like when my grandma in her shaky soft voice says, “Ooh Joseph you’re so skinny.” Skinny for a family with its roots in the Milwaukee brewing business I guess. One grandfather ran a tavern, the other worked at Pabst. My other grandmother worked at Continental Can Company. Check the beer cans in your collection for the CCC logo.
I can see myself in the screen of the laptop right now. I should take a Skype picture. But, more than the way my cheekbones look, I like the way they feel. Washing my face after shaving, I can feel the knuckles under my hollowing eyes. The edge of my chin feels as edgy and rigid as the bottom of a mayonnaise jar. Still round, but on it's way to chiseled. My temples feel as if they were scooped with serving spoon. Summer face.
On my new Kuota KOM I hung with the big-boy climbers on Dry Run and Kugler Mill last night, two 8-10 minute climbs. 102% of lactate threshold on the ticker-o-meter was sustainable. It ticked to 105 when someone punched it on the last riser. I recovered quickly. Fitness is budding. Along with the first races, the farmer tan is around the corner. These are the real signs of spring.