Lacey Middlestead is a Montana native and freelance writer currently living in Helena, Mont. She loves meeting new people and helping share their stories. When she’s not busy writing articles for newspapers like the Independent Record and Helena Vigilante, she can usually be found indulging in her second greatest passion–playing in the Montana wilderness. She loves skiing and snowmobiling in the winter and four wheeling, hiking, boating, and riding dirt bikes in the summer.
I’m not gunna lie, I was a little peeved at winter this year….or rather the lack thereof. I had all of these big plans in my head about all of the playing I was going to do in the snow this season. I wanted to go skiing at Discovery a bunch and try to complete one of their black diamond runs without cussing the whole way down. I was determined to master sidehilling on my snowmobile, even if it was only on a little baby practice hill. I wanted to go snowshoeing up in the mountains and take some gorgeous pictures of the snow dusted trees. I wanted to go play hockey out on a frozen lake with some friends. Truth be told, I did get to do most of these activities—just not to the extent that I had hoped.
Winter caught most of us off guard this year. And besides a few last minute flurries, it seems as though our coldest season truly has blown over to make way for the blooms of spring. But after a few shockingly gorgeous days in the end of February and the beginning of March I have finally started warming up to the idea that spring really is starting to descent on us. I guess I realized I could let go of winter if it meant I could get back on my bicycle for the first time this year.
Two weeks ago on a mild Tuesday evening, I aired up the tires of my Trek bike and hit the pavement. It was about 60 degrees out with just a whisper of wind. I headed out of town on my usual route up Birdseye Road. Even though I’ve taken spinning classes at the gym all winter, I still felt the strain of muscles in my legs that I hadn’t felt in months. But it was the good kind of pain. When I crested the first big hill and began coasting down, I tossed my face to the sky and smiled remembering how much I love biking.
I love the strain on every muscle in my legs as they push and pull the pedals around. I love feeling of the wind whipping against my face and up over my helmet. I love the sun beating down on my back. I love the scents of hay and cow manure drifting in and out as I ride along. When you bike all the thoughts and worries of your day just drift away with the breeze and all you can focus on is the pavement unraveling in front of you. You find an inner peace out on the road when you feel yourself becoming one with the bike. And that kind of peace is something I’ve been without for far too long.
Winter may have gone away a tad sooner than I would have liked, but the beautiful thing about Montana is that with each new season comes the opportunity to pick up with the activities you left off on the year prior. You get to remember those other loves and perhaps discover a few new ones.