Friday, March 6, 2009

A tie goes to the cyclist.

Today was a beautiful day. The sun was shining, the wind was blowing and the temperature hovered around 15°F. Sadly we received large amounts of snow this week. Earlier in the week we hit a high mark for most snow received in 24 hours (in the last eight years I believe). Last night we probably hit that mark again. That, combined with the pretty strong winds today, let me know that any attempt at a ride was going to turn into a pushfest. Luckily I have good friends to guilt me into such bad ideas.

We made it across the parking lot fine; I believe it was plowed early this morning. That's about were the riding ended for me. I fell or dismounted about four times during the hundred foot section to the trailhead. Everyone (including the three Pugsleys) started pushing. By the time we made it another hundred feet down the trail, I looked like this. Notice the waist deep (actually a couple inches above my waist) snow. Also there is the awesome fact that you can see my helmet vents are plugged with crash snow. As we continued our walk with bikes, I remember hearing "maybe it will be better when we get to the main trail." I distinctly remember thinking that it would, in fact, be worse since it was more exposed to the wind and would likely be drifted over.

When we arrived at the main trail, I got to be right. It also turned me into that horrible guy on a ride. A fell into a string of expletives and declared I was heading back. Jeff shamed me into pushing my bike more, which was great, because I would have missed the funnest non-riding bike adventure I have ever had. The beginning of the main trail runs through a series of gravel pits. Many of the hills are currently monoliths of snow begging to be done something with. So since their was no riding to be had, we decided to climb them. Which meant carrying your bike if you planned to try riding down them. Which is why CD looked like this when he got to the top of the hill.

And why he looked like this headed back up the hill to retrieve his bike after an awesome slow motion crash. Honestly if you ever get the chance to go out with a group of people with bikes in weather like this and find a decent slope, be thankful. Because people crashing horrendously into soft fluffy powder is what it is all about. Paul had the best crash of the day by far. It was a full on, over the handlebars at speed faceplant with no attempt to stop himself whatsoever. Sadly I only got the aftermath of him tumbling down the hill. It's really awesome when you don't have to ask someone if they are alright after a crash because they stand up and start laughing really hard.

After the hill we looked around and realized that we were close enough to the road that it might be easier to try and blaze a trail to it rather than pushing back the way we came. Blazing a trail involved wading through waist deep snow again so our retreat looked something like this.

All in all we were out for an hour and a half or so and probably cover all of two miles. But we had fun. Probably almost as much as we would have had if we could have actually rode.
In other cycling news the people that do this kind of thing seriously are still at it. This years Iditarod Trail Invitational started last week and it looks like the 350 mile version may be finished tomorrow by Fairbank's very own Jeff Oatley.


Bumhead said...

I'm jealous!!!! Soft landings r good; ranks right up there with summer water landings and good ol mud slides.

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't it be awesome if you could like, stay on TOP of the snow, at least until you biffed, with some sort of device that you could steer down the hill? And wouldn't it be sweet if there was some sort of machine to get you back up to the top quickly so you could enjoy going down?

Banger said...

That's assuming a lot. Namely that you are riding on a big hill and not a tiny hill that you can carry your bike up in less that thirty seconds. Unless of course you are talking about this thing. Which I have never heard of anyone actually using. It's a good idea, but it is expensive and heavy compared regular wheels.

On the off chance that (suffer the idea!) you are actually talking about skiing or snowboarding, you have completely come to the wrong place.