Thursday, March 5, 2009

Stuntin' the trail, ski-doo style

It IS March, isn't it?

Temp are going to hit the 50's for the next couple of days, then the weather turns south again for the weekend. Great opportunity for a couple of commutes, right?

That's what I thought this morning...and everything looked hunky dory at the trailhead. Hopped on QBF and bombed up the street, past the Lewis Central HS bus barn to the beginning of my trek. Since it had recently snowed a few inches over the weekend, I should have anticipated a little snow. However, we had a nice day yesterday and I figured that most of the snow would have melted off the trail.

I couldn't have BEEN more wrong.

A nice pile of snow awaited me as I started down the trail, a good 50 yard strip of halfway melted and refrozen goodness. This should have tipped me off...turn around, ride back to the truck, and drive in.

Didn't I talk about that good old American male DNA? Naaaah, this is nothin'. Piece of cake. I'll plow right through this stuff, it's just powder. This will only last for a bit, the rest of the trail must be clear. So I buckled up my machismo and soldiered on, supremely confident. Shit.

About every 50 yards, I ran into this crap. Piles of snow. Even better, it had melted and refrozen. White ice, black ice, blacktop, ice ridges, snow ridges, drifts, footprints, wheel tracks, all mixed together, alternating and weaving in a maddening mix of frozen precipitation. I was on the bike, I was wobbling on the bike, I was sliding on the bike, I was off the bike, I was pushing the bike, I was cursing the bike. I knew I was going to fall on my ass.

Actually, I was doing OK. Some parts of the trail had been plowed with what it looked like an ATV and a blade. In some spots, there was a nice 3 foot wide clear strip I could ride through. Other parts of the trail weren't so great. But where I couldn't ride, I'd get off and walk. I managed to get to the trail detour, which funnels off onto surface streets onto a mobile home park. The streets there had to be plowed and clear, right? I'd managed to get behind a school bus, alternately stopping and starting to pick up kids. As the school bus made it's final stop, I put a little backpressure on the pedals to slow down and whoooops, the rear wheel went right out from under me. I actually did fall on my ass, right behind a school bus full of kids. I quickly set myself and bike upright, expecting to see kids pointing and laughing. Luckily, they were all half-asleep and didn't notice me following them.

I crossed at the light and got back on trail. Of course, it was more of the same. Once I got through the park heading towards the casinos the trail was much better, and I managed to make it to work. I figured I was way late, but it was only 7:45..must be faster than I thought!

Hopefully, the return trip would be better. And it was...I like splashing through puddles!

:>) - Dwight

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