I huddled in front of the fireplace for a few minutes Monday morning and then started bundling up. At first it was fun. I put a sweater and socks in my bag for work. I pulled on leggings and slacks, wool socks, and a wool undershirt. Windbreaker, rain jacket (to cut the wind), shoes, balaclava, helmet, sunglasses, and last the gloves. I took off my right glove to I could operate the key, and headed out into the cold sunshine to get my bike out of the shed.

My enthusiasm instantly deflated when I found the padlock on the shed frozen shut.

I retrieved the hair dryer but the long extension cord wasn’t in its place. “Maybe the garage?” my husband suggested. He has many talents, but neatly winding up cords is not one of them. The long extension cord was in the garage, and tangled. The excitement of cold weather biking had evaporated completely and my anger was mounting.

He helped me untangle the cord.

After a few seconds with the hair dryer, the padlock thawed and unlocked. I put away the hair dryer and extension cord.

I didn’t notice the cold of the bike ride. I spent the ride talking myself out of being angry and remembering the enthusiasm I had felt at first getting ready for the ride. I’d enjoyed bundling up, and then the frozen padlock took me by surprise. (It shouldn’t have. It froze last winter.)

Most other cyclists complain about headwinds and hills. A few embrace the hills but they all complain about the wind. Not me. I take the wind and the hills with equanimity. I can’t control them. I just ride them. In a lower gear. In a much lower gear. I’m not in a hurry.

Unforeseen challenges are the wind and hills of my life. Somehow I should be able to take the situation and enjoy it, the way I do the wind and the hills. Enjoy the challenge of the frozen padlock, the missing and tangled extension cord. I’m not in a hurry. I can ride out these little problems in a lower gear. In a much lower gear.