Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Back to Northeast Style Suffering

After our long bout of amazingly warm weather where the trails were dry and I spent a solid week mountain biking exploring new places (Buffalo Creek, Colorado Trail, White Ranch Open Space, etc.) the weather turned for the worse and just doesn't seem to want to become spring here. Of all the cold days I've had while out training I would have to say that Sunday turned out to be the worst of them by far. I had a great plan though.

I was scheduled to ride for 3-4 hours, which when I have to ride for long periods of time I like to explore new places, new roads, and go see pretty things. All in all it just makes for a better experience, then the boring flat rides along the I-25 feeder, something I have never done and do not plan on doing ever, too much boredom there!

Well my plan was to drive to the base of left hand canyon and ride up the canyon with my mountain bike set up to ride the dirt, i.e. put the knobbies on. After about 10 miles of riding up Left Hand there is a well known steep dirt road that heads directly out of the canyon into Gold Hill, Lickskillet Road. I was going to head up there and once you reach Gold Hill there are numerous dirt roads for wondrous mountain exploring. There are also many trails up there, however, with the recent snows we got I knew I was not going to be able to ride them, but snow covered dirt roads are quite a challenge regardless. The amazing thing I had never expected happened. Riding up left hand, even though it was snowing, the road was not particularly wet so I stayed very dry. Even heading up LickSkillet it was snow covered keeping my bike and my body clean and dry, a nice touch. Well I got to the top of Lickskillet and lo and bhold it seemed that everything over 8,000 ft in elevation was soaking wet and muddy, UGH! After going for a bit farther west and getting very cold I decided to bail and just book it down to Left Hand Canyon and back to the car. That was the coldest descent down Left Hand I have ever gone through in my entire life and never want to repeat it again. My derailleurs were frozen in place from mud ice, my jockey wheels froze so I couldn't pedal making the 16 mile descent awful as I had to just sit there and let gravity do the work.

Upon finally reaching the car, rather than changing, putting the bike on the rack and doing my normal stuff I just got in the car turned it on, rocked the heat all the way to HI and turned the seat warmers on full blast until I could feel my fingers and toes again.

Of all the dumb ride ideas I've had in the past I think this one is by far the worst. It was definitely the coldest, most dangerous, and insanely stupid rides that I have ever done. Thank God I didn't have to ride the extra 11 miles home from Left Hand after that!

Here is a pic of the roads before they turned to nasty wet mush. When they were still fun!

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