The Beauty of Winter

Sponsored rider Tim Ek shares what keeps him motivated to ride as late winter sets into the Upper Midwest.


If you want to see, you have to look ...

By Tim Ek

Throughout my adult life, I’ve resisted winter’s arrival and have spent too much time calculating when it would be over. I’ve taken almost yearly tropical vacations with the hope that somehow the trip would ease the pain of winter’s icy grip. This year I wanted things to be different. There’d be no week in Jamaica, and I’d fight the urge to flip through the pages of my desk calendar counting the weeks until the temps would climb. This year I’d commit to winter!

Well, in order to commit, I’d need to find something to keep me invested. Yes, I’d commute all winter like I have for so many years now—that wouldn’t change. I’d train like I do during the "dark months" with the goal of dropping a few pounds and catching up on some T. shows while mindlessly spinning the trainer. However, this year something emerged that was different. At first I attributed it to my newly obtained Salsa Blackborow, thinking that the bike had changed my approach to winter. I don’t know; maybe it had, or maybe it was simply the vehicle that helped to open my eyes.

Beautiful Blackborow ...

All I can say for sure is that this winter I’ve been paying more attention. I’ve seen more than the singletrack unfolding before my front wheel. I’ve picked my head up and looked through the trees and into the forest, searching for what my Dad taught me, "the thing that stands out." It worked! I began to see the deer leering at me as I pedaled past. I’ve smiled up at the crows cawing at me from above as I move through their neighborhood. I’ve stopped to gape at the hurried life of the chickadees as they fulfill their daily calorie needs, wondering if they ever just stop to play. So much life in what at first glance seemed so dead.

As my legs spin easy and my hands rest lightly on the bars, I realize that the beauty of winter only reveals itself to those who want to see. I’m so glad I decided to look.

It's almost March—the Golden Hour of winter is upon us ...

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