Winter Snow

Sunday 31st January 2021

The heating is only just whirring into action and I can hear the hot water gurgling through the pipework. Winter sunrise rides are rewarding but the initial discomfort of preparing to ride, always raises doubts. I'm lying under a thick, heavy and warm duvet and the thought of leaving it is tough.

I am up. I look out of the window. There is a low blue light of dawn, it is not the black of night, but the sun seems buried far beneath the horizon. It is deadly quiet, nothing living has stirred. On days like this, after snow falls, it causes everything to be hushed by a thick white blanket on the ground. Sound is muted and muffled, an unusual type of sound. I eat breakfast urging the night to end and illuminate the clear sky and to hide any remaining stars in the process. I realise I am stood gazing up at the sky. Moments like this are too easily missed or not taken. I am taken by surprise as a meteorite shoots over the distant hills I'm intending to ride up. The short white trail it leaves vanishes as quickly as it came and that seals it, there's no turning back now. I head back upstairs to do my best to dress in kit that will attempt to beat the subzero temperatures. As if by magic the darkness lifts and I can see for today.

I open the front door and am hit by a wall of icy air. I can almost hear the warm heat from the house rushing past me to escape. I will be in need of this warm haven when I return. I step outside. Heading out the air is cold and crisp with a sharpness that cuts through any exposed skin. The frozen snow on the drive crunches under the thick knobbly tyres. There's still no life around, the roads are mine alone. Once off-road the track is still white, untouched by the thawing sun the previous day. Half way up the hill the lower sky begins to take on a pink hue signifying the imminent approaching sunrise. I quicken my pace in a race against the spinning Earth about to receive the rays of sunlight from across the solar system. As I crest the hill the undergrowth subsides revealing far reaching views across the valley and a big blue sky now taking on a warmer glow. Suddenly the snow begins to glisten and turn a shade of orange. It's here, a fiery ball peeking above the horizon. First dappled red light filters through the trees on top of the opposite side of the valley. Within a few minutes it climbs above them and breathes life into the landscape. The world feels alive again and distant sounds echo up the valley. As the sun climbs further in the sky I can feel it's faint warmth on my exposed face. Soon it turns it a yellowy-white and the sky is a bright crisp blue. The next kilometres are a joy, the cold has subsided and the bluebird day gives me added energy to continue for another couple of hours.