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Snow Job  //   Thursday - February 8, 2007

Four snow rides in 8 days, that's what I call good stuff. It started last Wednesday when about 2 inches of fresh snow had fallen. Despite the fresh white powder that graced the trails and a near full moon, riding partners were slim pickings. Mike and I headed out in conditions that would wind up being perfect: enough snow to make it really fun but not enough to make us do any extra work. Except for some fox and deer that had been all over the trails, we laid fresh tracks all over the place. We had a fine rhythm going until Mike took a spill on a log/rock pile and broke his light mount and smashed his knee. We rigged up the light good enough to out of the woods and shorten our route. Lucky for me since my light died on the way out. Not happy about that one, it was just recently back in for service and I was told I needed a new (expensive) charger to solve the problem. Still, despite these set backs it was one of the finest snow rides I can remember in a long time. The trail was just right.


We got some more snow and Saturday 11 of us headed out to the Shed for some more snow riding. It was about evenly split between guys and girls with all of us but one on single speeds. After the lone stream crossing on the ride we had all single speeders, derailluers freeze up quickly this time of year. It was 18 degrees F at the start but we tackled the Death March climb first so we started warming up quickly. With more snow on the ground than Wednesday we were working harder for sure. Traction was still good to excellent though and the technical obstacles were not slick at all. We made a few attempts at climbing the monster rock pile on Salamander, a challenge few complete in prime conditions. No one got hurt or died in the attempts, so that was good too. But shortly later a hidden rock stopped Ricky d dead in his tracks and like Clubber Lang delivering a punch to the nuts, he went down for the count. It looked painful. Of course, after we were sure he had no broken bones we proceeded to laugh and take pictures. That's just how it is with this group, no mercy. Once he was able to walk again we finished up a great ride. Other than getting stuck on an icy road on the way out of the Watershed, it was a fine day.


Sunday was the Super Bowl, but that wasn't the important event of the day. It was also the annual Westminster Bike swap where vendors hawk new and used goods and bike nuts dig and barter for bargains. I didn't have much I was looking for this year, but you never now what you are going to find so it's best to go armed with a wad of cash and a keen eye. In the end I didn't buy a single thing, a very rare occurrence that has only happened once before. But the day certainly wasn't a bust since I caught up with lots of people I don't see that often. Afterwards we do an annual ride at the local trail system Hashawa where I try not to get people lost. Most years it winds up being a snow ride and this one wasn't any different. About 7 of us suited up for the cold weather ride. I brought a growler of my home brewed oatmeal coffee stout (a.k.a. the breakfast stout) and a few of us filled our water bottles with it to ward off the chill on the ride. Nothing like some tasty brew for a cold day on the trails. With snow covering all of the trails it made for a fun ride. Brought the camera, but took zero pictures.

Last night meant more snow riding and deeper this time, as the prior night saw another 4 inches come down. Out at Gambrill for the bi-weekly ride, we had 9 riders show with 21 signed up. I guess the cold may finally be taking it's toll on attendance. No worries here though, we had a good group and with less people were able to keep the stops shorter and the pace a bit more steady. I put the Kelly in fixed gear mode for ultimate traction and control, especially on the downhills. Things were going along good until one of the nastier, rock filled downhills. Todd took a spill, broke his light mount and knocked his melon good. He seemed a bit out of it so superheros David and Frank took him back to the cars to drive him home. When he seemed disoriented and couldn't remember things they took him to the ER as a precautionary measure. After a CAT scan he was pronounced good to go, he just rang his bell pretty hard. There's a lesson there kids: wear your helmet. If he didn't have it on who knows what might have happened. The rest of us finished out the ride without any issues other than cold digits. For those who stayed away, you missed another fine ride.

- riderx


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