It’s Tuesday, Feb 12 and Actif Epica is only four days away. I haven’t been able to concentrate on much else, and I’m feeling a healthy mixture of excitement, anxiety, and dread. I’ve probably emailed more experienced endurance riders at least a dozen times this morning alone, asking about gear choices, how to keep your feet warm, what bike to ride, and on and on.
I’m excited to ride Actif Epica because I’ve never done a ride this long in winter before. I love riding in winter, just as much as summer I would say. I ride daily for fun and to work throughout the cold season, but seldom stay out longer than two hours. Riding Actif Epica will be a completely new riding experience for me, and that makes it exciting. And also scary.
The magnitude of this ride is not lost on me. I have to admit I was on the fence for a while as to whether I should enter at all. 130km is already a big ride for me in the middle of summer. The addition of cold weather, rough riding conditions, carrying a backpack full of gear, and likelihood of pushing my bike through endless snowdrifts is more than a bit daunting. Yet at the same time, many of those elements are also the reasons why I decided to do the ride.
Winter in Winnipeg is something I’ve learned to love over time. For most of my life, I hated the long, dark, freezing conditions we are forced to endure for half the year. But after I decided to ride my bike through the winter for the first time I realized I had a choice – I could choose to hideout in my apartment, stay inside, take the bus, and minimize the time I spent in the cold, OR I could embrace the truly unique winter conditions we have in Winnipeg, take it by the horns and have some fun outside. Enjoying winter is really a decision that is up to me – it’s just a matter of going out and doing it.
That is one of the things that really attracted me to Actif Epica – it’s a celebration of human ingenuity in a cold (in fact very cold) winter environment. I think in some small way, events like Actif Epica are helping to redefine Manitoban’s attitude toward the winter. It’s time to embrace living in the cold! Trust me, winter is a lot more fun when you spend it doing things outside.