While just 15 miles north of town, Stuart Peak is still buried under 10 feet of snow, the last few patches are melting off the north hills. It seems as if “second winter” has finally loosened its grip on the valley. Every year around this time, those of us who bite the bullet and train through the winter start to see the rest of the athletic community wake up and join us. Running and riding groups start to grow, and all the cold, lonely miles of February and March fade into more enjoyable social occasions.
Even on the hard days, where conversation is kept to a minimum and replaced primarily by gasping for air, even when the harsh wind or inevitable spring precipitation dampen the mood, the miles melt away so much faster with a group of people to share them with.
For those of us fortunate enough to live in Missoula (when summer gets here, I pity the fool who doesn’t) we have no less than four road group rides per week, and at least one mountain bike ride (so far, to my knowledge, there is a total of one trail that is entirely dry) and they have all officially kicked off for the spring!
As I write this, there are two and a half weeks left until our local season opener, the Grizzly Triathlon. Two weeks after that, I will heading down to Lake San Antonio for the Wildflower Triathlon. I couldn’t be more excited to get out on some race courses. The nice thing about not racing for 4-5 months out of the year is that it gives an opportunity for a fresh start, and I can say with confidence that I have the best spring fitness base I have ever had.
There are a lot of reasons to get excited about the arrival of spring. I hope you’ve found yours.