A busy end to the winter

Mar 15, 01:55 PM

Western Massachusetts has moved into maple sugaring season, also known as mud season: that period between winter and spring when the days get well over freezing but the nights are still cold. The sap runs in the maple trees, flowing out through taps into collecting buckets or plastic hoses that lead to barrels of sap. The sugar shacks are at work, belching out smoke as the sugarers boil 40 gallons of sap down to a gallon of syrup. And the snow has mostly melted, at least down here in the valley, soaking the earth and leaving huge swaths of mud wherever the ground vegetation isn’t firmly established.

Work has been busy, but I’ve been able to shoehorn cycling into my schedule. I did some rides outside in January. February’s “rides” were all inside on rollers, including one 30-mile, 2-hour bout. Since March 1 I’ve been able to ride outside again, including a trip up to Lake Wyola and another to Conway, where the snow is still thick on the ground. I’ve put a few snapshots from recent rides up on my Flickr site.

I’m still building up my Boulder All Road bicycle. It will be rideable after I add the bottom bracket, crankset, pedals, derailleurs, and brake and shift cables. Then I’ll need to finish it off: install fenders, front rack, and the lights; wrap the handlebars; and, after riding for a while, fine-tune the handlebar height and cut the steerer, which is now absurdly long.

And finally, I’m still losing weight, slowly but surely.

Brian W. Ogilvie

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