Some people visit the gym to lift weights. I lift 10kg bags of treacle-free fuel for the wood stove: All together now: Pick up bags of compressed wood blocks from the pallet on the floor and fill a supermarket trolley. Push 100kg of blocks plus trolley up a steep incline into shop without killing any stray and doddery, old age pensioners.
Pay for blocks and restrain trolley on the steep descent back down to the car park while carefully avoiding more stray pensioners. Lift blocks from trolley into car. Repeat as necessary. Drive loaded car home and then lift blocks from the car into the wheelbarrow. Push wheelbarrow across frozen parking space. Lift blocks from wheelbarrow, climb steps and stack inside. Repeat as necessary. Easy peasy? I'm 70¾, you know and I want my medal. And, I want it now!
Tuesday 9th 32-35F, 0+2C, cold and clear but very breezy. Check your chill factor and wrap up well is today's advice from weight lifting medalist in the geriatric, lightweight class. Gusting to over 12m/s or 25mph at freezing a chilly day makes. That's the equivalent of about -16C in still air! A good day to test my GG 'Nordic' gloves, methinks.
An hour's walk, heading at first, straight into the wind. My decades old, Wind Wizard mechanical anemometer showed an average of 12mph with occasional bouts of 20mph. It should start peaking quite soon and keep it up for several hours yet. After the steep climb up to the woods I was mostly too warm.
The GG Nordic gloves were always warm and comfortable without ever becoming sweaty. Mostly they feel pleasantly neutral in warmth. I wore a GG Aviator, soft scull cap with ear covering under the fleece baseball cap and repeatedly had to remove the latter to cool off.
The vegetation was mostly encrusted with large, ice crystals again. As was the ice on the frozen puddles. Much of it broken by vehicle tyres along the field tracks. Showing the ice was about half an inch thick on average but with double that in places.
The marsh water level was at least a foot higher than normal. Spilling onto the lower fields in places. With much of the dense willow growth well under water. Normally it is quite soft but usually accessible in walking boots. The problem with hard frozen ground is the need for heavier boots with plenty of ankle support. The edges of normally sticky fields are very uncomfortable to walk on at the moment. Particularly where tractors have left their bumpy tracks. No ride today.
Wednesday 10th 35-37F, 2-3C, heavy overcast and occasionally breezy. My walk was interrupted by rain from a grey sky. So I took a short cut over an uncultivated field. Which provided the opportunity to to survey the immediate area from a [very] low hill. As soon as it dries up I shall have to trikle to the shops. However, it rained lightly but steadily throughout my ride. The headwind on the way made it feel much colder than the thermometer suggested. Pleasant enough on the way home while heavily laden and the tyres spraying. Hardly more than a few small patches of snow left now. Only 7 miles.