The Greater Toronto Area was hit with a snowstorm the night of December 26th. Now, I’ve biked to work, and I’ve run to work, and I’ve even in-line skated to work. The white whale of active living commutes for me though, has been the idea of cross-country skiing to work. It would take a lot of special circumstances, most importantly a fresh snowfall. I figured it was still holiday time and the office would be less than bustling so those circumstances were going to line up perfectly today…
Well, not quite perfectly. I had brought my laptop home for the holidays. Luckily, I brought it in a backpack rather than the typical shoulder bag laptops come in, so I could carry it, if I was willing to haul the extra 10lbs or so. I also had to shovel the driveway before leaving (I got some help from Shark Boy). Life (especially as a family man) has taught me that things are never perfect, and unless there’s a serious, serious obstacle –
|I couldn’t resist the tease…|
So, though I got a late start after my wife took Shark Boy to daycare (with the Lightning Kid along for the ride), I got suited up to go. I couldn’t find my Garmin heart rate monitor, so I just used Endomondo to track the trip. I also decided to live tweet the whole thing.
|Hoorag on display|
And off I went. I actually skied on my own street to avoid the side-walks that my more industrious neighbours had already cleared. I also skied across a few lawns, just to be able to spare my skis from cement, salt, or whatever. Still I had to take them off and walk for a bit (though it gave me a chance to joke with an elderly lady shovelling her driveway. Once I hit the park, I was good for a long ride on my skis.
Of course, I hadn’t thought the whole route through…
|This would be the first of two bridges I had to go under…|
I became aware of just how little snow I was skiing on by the fact that instead of the usual satisfying ‘crunch’ the poles make as they crush snow beneath their tips, there was a startling ‘knock’ as they hit the gravel or pavement just under the snow. I got used to it after a while, but it rattled my nerves a little.
This part was real ‘bush-whacking’… I enjoy it when I’m running, but even I’m less agile with planks stuck to my feet. Still, I managed not to fall (especially not into the neighbouring river), and I was really enjoying myself. I was just about done…
After I took that picture, I think I put my Blackberry back in my pocket. I took my skis off at the top of the hill, because it was all side-walk from there on in. I wanted to terminate the Endomondo session and tweet victory, but I noticed the Blackberry was not in my pocket, and the pocket was unzipped.
I figured it fell out as I bent over to take off the skis, but I couldn’t find it at the top of the hill. I retraced my steps to where I took the picture and couldn’t see a sign of it. I dug through the snow, I looked at every suspicious hole in the snow. I eventually ran inside, asked to look at Endomondo on someone’s computer.
You can see almost exactly where it must have been. I ran back outside, and searched a 25 square foot area for a good 20 minutes, digging with my hands, kicking snow with my boots… nothing. The mishap put a damper on my mood… I can’t say it ruined the day since I’d accomplished something I’d been fantasizing about since we moved into our house.
I got out of my ski clothes in the change rooms, and treated myself to a hot shower. I think everyone is still in holiday half-sleep, since the sight of me walking around the office carrying skis didn’t raise any questions at all.
The Blackberry was gone, and I had to report it as such, but the good news is I had my new Samsung Galaxy S3 waiting in the wings (as described here). This gave me the excuse to embrace change and get it activated; I’m still getting used to it, but Endomondo was the first app I installed so that I could make the trip back home.
On the way home, I didn’t live tweet, I didn’t take pictures. I figure all that goofing around was what led to me losing track of the old phone. I just concentrated on skiing. Due to that focus, and the fact that the snow had been tramped down by hikers, toboggans, bikes, and I don’t know what else, it was much faster going; almost like skiing on a track-set trail. The stats from Endomondo seem to back that up:
I got home and squared away most of the gear, then started preparing dinner – Chili! What every good ski commuter eats for hisher reward meal when he/she gets in from the cold. I guess I should invest in snow-shoes so I can do another wacky commute… after all, a snow-storm is no excuse to miss work!
Can you turn a ‘bad’ weather day into an opportunity? Let me know!