A Winter’s Ride
So today, December 18th 2010, I decided to go for a bike ride so I asked my good buddy Steve-O “aka Heading to Ironman Cda 2011” to join me at Riverside State Park here in Spokane for a little mountain bike ride…..in the snow.
Well, actually, when I had asked him, most of the snow had melted in and around Spokane so I thought, “Hey? How much snow could there be?”. A lot as it turns out!
We parked at Aubrey White parking lot overlooking the Bowl and Picture and gently worked our way down the steep hill through very rough broken snow and ice. A few slips and no falls (at least at this point) and we were at the bottom and looking at Trail 38 heading west into the trees and cliffs. Only one problem….there was a TON of snow on the trail! Dang! For some reason, I really thought all the warm weather we’d been having would have significantly melted ‘most’ of the snow. And I suppose it did…just not enough of it to make it a smooth sailing ride. Oh well, onward and upward!
We gritted our teeth and girded our loins…well…it was rough….., and headed off into the wilderness.
What a great day! As we attempted to ride down the trail, the sky was partly clear with a big front moving in from the southwest, and the temp hovered around 23. Actually not too bad. We had four light layers on our legs and the same on our upper bodies along with warm hats, gloves, helmets and balaclava face mask. (It wasn’t that our face was cold…we just didn’t want to scare anyone)
As we moved down the trail it became clear that this was no “ride in the park”…oh wait…it was actually in a park..but you know what I mean. It was WORK! The snow had melted and refrozen and had been trampled on by snow shoe-ers, dog walkers and perhaps big foot (I think I actually got a picture of him..I’ll show you later) and made riding a challenge. You would ride along in a track for a little bit and then break through the snow, sometimes pretty deep snow, and it would throw off your balance or your rear tire would get all squirrelly and you’d have to act quickly or you’d find yourself staring up at the trees and wondering how you got into that position so quickly. Which happened to me more than once.
There were times when you could ride for two or three whole minutes before having to do a tap dance on the snow to get through a rough spot. Sometimes you’d find a long patch of dirt, but that didn’t happen very often, but when it did, it was heaven.
We were retracing the route that I had done recently on foot during my annual fall ride and stopped to take some photo’s from the exact same spot:
At this point the snow was getting deeper and continuing on would have been a real challenge so we retraced our tire tracks and found a ridge with hardly any snow. As we headed north and down a hill we flushed out about half a dozen white tail deer and we watched as they bounded down the other side of the hill. Beautiful!
We continued on and found ourself on the Centennial Trail that had been plowed in some spots, others had melted snow now turned ice. As we picked our way through we continued our trek north past 7 mile bridge and the parking lot where the trail was completely clear. Just a beautiful ride! Somewhere along the way it started to snow lightly, just as both Steve and I had hoped it would.
We continued north and finally stopped at the 37 mile marker and posed for another photo:
This particular mile marker has a special meaning to both Steve and I: It was here two years ago that I completed my 1st ultra marathon along with Steve’s help (he drug me along during the last few miles). It is also where Steve started his 1st ultra this year (and ended at the state line).
We continued onto the park at Nine Mile, and then turned around and headed back to our cars. The snow was really coming down now and as we neared the end we stopped and took in the view and the moment. We could see and hear the river off to our left running fast and silver in the falling snow. Just a fantastic moment.
It’s views and situations like these that make early mornings special. I love feeling like we’re the only ones out there, and the only ones getting to see what God has made…..then the stupid runners went by and ruined everything! STUPID RUNNERS! GOSH! CAN’T YOU SEE WE’RE TAKING A MOMENT HERE!
Where was I? Yes, enjoying the closeness of God, nature and a good friend. ahh…life is good….stupid runners…. 😉
Some more pics:
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