The ground had been swollen in the days before my ride by rain plus snow and the weather was bleak in attitude offering a taste of the winter yet to come.
The trails will now become increasingly sodden until they freeze and then return to being a quagmire in places during the subsequent thaw.
The Finnish term Rospuutto seems apt for the time of the year – the Mud Season, or Schlammzeit and we do it for the Love of Mud (gallows humour).
Rospuutto from Eastern Finland is derived from the Russian word Rasputitsa. In Sweden they use Menföre or in other parts of Finland there is Kelirikko, in New England it is called the Filth Season, and in Ukraine Bezdorizhzhia sums it up. During the 1812 war in Tsarist Russia the French Army commanders called it General Mud. All are descriptive of the type of conditions which can make unpaved roads a muddy mire.
In Vermont, USA a gravel bike race series is called Rasputitsa a reflection of their own Mud Season – https://rasputitsadirt.com/
The mud of Göttingen is more benign than say that of Russia or Belgium Flanders, areas that are now infamous because of war where men were entombed in the mud – JRR Tolkien experienced the Somme in Belgium during World War One and in Lord of the Rings the Dead Marshes stand in for the battlefield.
Nonetheless the climate here in Gö is a transition region between oceanic and continental weather making life interesting impacting the seasonal landscape severely. For instance, in February 2021 the temperature in Göttingen rose by 41.9 °C from the low of −23.8 °C to the high of 18.1 °C in just a few days.
January and February are the wettest and often the coldest months in the Göttingen area and for me they are hardest to psychologically deal with as an ex-Londoner.
At least December has Christmas at the end of it and like peasants over the centuries I see it as a welcome relief during the Long Bleak Winter.
Thankfully there are few places in and around Göttingen where the mud is a bottomless pit.
Rasputitsa during the thaw, Kuindzhi Ivanovich, 1872
Ride Info/GPS Links
Being released back into the community in Gö after contracting Covid and a subsequent lock-in I rode for as far as I could. I had hollow legs!!!!!
Garmin Connect: https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/10061861951
Ride Pictures (in order of being taken)
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