My first week of muscular endurance training coincided with our first significant snowfall.
Berlin receives little snow each year. Some years the city has more than a meter; others virtually none. When the snow falls, the forces of nature and German regulation conspire to quickly get rid of it. Above freezing temperatures turn the snow to a dirty, brownish slush. The pure whiteness of the snowflakes instantly disappears when on contact with the city’s grime. Germans aid this transformation by liberally applying Streugut, a mixture of sand, gravel, and deicer chemicals to every horizontal surface.
In winter, Germans deploy battalions of Winterdienst (winter service). These professional foot soldiers fight an epic moral battle against the white winter invader. Snow disrupts order, which Germans (especially Prussians) expect. The city may lackadaisically plow the streets, but the sidewalks must be kept clean. Sidewalks are the responsibility of property owners and their tenants. If the sidewalk in front of a property is not tidy, the property owner can be heavily fined or sued by a pedestrian who happens to fall. As a result, Winterdienst don’t give snow a fighting chance of survival. Neither property owners nor their Winterdienst want to get fined or sued. All snow must go!
In my neighborhood, snows causes an additional asymmetrical battle. Hordes of belligerent Prenzelparents (the highly motivated and enfranchised parents of Prenzlkinder) storm the streets with their weapons of mobility disruption: wooden sleds. Like Arctic huskies, Prenzelparents bundle their children in expedition quality snowsuits and drag them across any residual patch of whiteness the Winterdienst leaves behind. The metal runners on the sleds make an exasperating sound whenever they encounter Streugut or the paving stones the Winterdienst purposely exposed. Friendly non-combatants (like myself) are forced to dodge oncoming sleds and circumnavigate the frozen ruts the Prenzelparents leave behind.
Weapons of Mobility Disruption
As I started my week of training, the temperature hovered around 16F. A fine, powered sugar dusting of snow had fallen, but the Winterdienst were kept at bay while waiting for more snow to come. I planned a tire pull and a hill sprint for the week as well as a weighted climb on the weekend. The tire pull in the light snow was a success. No one stole my tires, and I was alone on the exercise grounds.
More Snow in the Jahnsportpark
When an additional 3 cm of snow fell during the evening and following day, I decided that a hill sprint would be too dangerous. I chose to do another tire pull instead and was delightfully rewarded with a beautiful blanket of about 10 cm of snow on the ground. The pristine surface was remarkable. Prenzlparents and their Kinder, Winterdienst, and even small animals and birds had left the snow intact. A few joggers had run around the makeshift track, but they barely left a trace. On the other hand, I made a deliberate effort to blaze a trail.
As I marched through the snow, I thought about the Noble Men of Kyle. I promised myself to take a more systematic approach the next time it snows. It should be possible to create better designs by meticulously counting my steps and adhering to a grid–perhaps a new, more advanced training objective.