Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Pavement and Snow

Ever since the twin snowstorms of February 2010, riding opportunities have been pretty sparse. That and the fact that the only days that seem to be good riding weather I am trapped inside the windowless building where I work. Last Saturday I was finally able to get in my first long ride for almost three weeks.  I wasn't planning on it taking too long so I only took one water bottle and one Clif bar; boy did I miscalculate! Things were going great for the first 15 miles. My legs warmed up quickly and were feeling great, also the toe warmers I purchased at SBC for riding conditions just like these were keeping my piggies nice and toasty.  I was feeling invincible till I hit the first big climb and at the same time realized that this would not be a quick 2-2.5 hour spin.

I had been the only vehicle (if you can call a bike a vehicle) other than a few snowmobiles that had attempted to drive on this forest road. If a truck or car has packed down the snow I have no trouble riding in their tracks with my Anthem but with the snowmobiles with their relatively light footprint, and my 2.0" XC tires I kept punching through the crust on top of the snow even after letting all but 15 or so psi out of my tires. On the downhills I could achieve 15-20 mph but would suddenly and violently break through the crust with my front tire. Sometimes I would get so out of control I would have to bail off my bike into an inviting snowbank.  In one of those very snowbanks I discovered that there was at least 1.5 to 2 feet of snow under the slightly packed down surface. This went on for the next 10 miles. As a testament to how bad the snow was I saw a truck that had gotten stuck in a ditch and had to be abandoned by its owner. By looking at the amount of snow on top of the truck it looked like it had been there for at least three weeks! All this snow wasn't all bad though. For over an hour all I saw or heard was the gurgling streams and the wind through the trees. My reverie was rudely interrupted by three trucks who had failed only two miles into a snow four wheeling trip and were trying to extricate themselves. I think the drivers were rather surprised when one minuscule biker pedals past their hulking four wheel drive trucks. Luckily I was able to get out of the worst of the snow right as I ran out of water and started bonking pretty hard. Yes the ten miles of deep snow were absolute torture but I still got out and went biking on a 40 degree Virginia day. I can't think of a better way to spend a Saturday.

I now know a little more about my impending AT hike. I will start hiking around the first of July, now all that I need to do is to buy the equipment I will need for the hike. One thing I have learned is that just like biking gear, hiking equipment is not cheap!  Guess I will just have to lay off of the biweekly visits to Cally's. I hope to have another post in the near future about my planning for the hike.

Pry yourself off the couch and get outside whether you bike, ride, or run!

Till next time,

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