Had the day off, and all the new winter and other bike gear I got for Christmas was staring at me hard and giving me a wicked guilt trip so I decided to go out for my first snow ride of 2010 (actually, my first in a very long time). I headed out to one of my normal areas and attempted the single-track but it was pretty much unridable (could not even get moving most of the time due to wheel spin). I ended up sticking to some cross-country ski doubletrack and then rode out and back on the **** to a dam.
It was 19 degrees when I started, 22 when I finished, with beautiful sun and a nice biting wind. Most of the snow was packed from skis and feet so it was tough to get any momentum going (every rut wanted to kick the bike sideways) but every now and then I got lucky with some untouched snow that I could spin through. Low and slow was the way to go - but I rode almost everything. Seemed like the best strategy was keeping it in the granny and pedaling the lowest gear I could stay upright with.
The ride was not without its events. As I was riding out on the **** I came across a group (4-5) of 15ish year old kids from the nearby trailer park building a jump to ride cardboard boxes down. As I rode by, struggling to keep in a straight line among all the ruts and footprints one of them yelled,
"Hey, look at that fat ass retard trying to ride a bike in the snow."
Another echoed "Are you stupid you fat ****?"
Not wanting to engage them, I just kept stumbling along at which point they started pelting me with snow balls. At least I know my fat ass still makes for a good moving target after all these years.
On my way back on the ski trail, I came upon a woman and her dog hiking in the snow. She quickly tried to grab her dog (who was not on a leash and looking very anxious at the site of me, understandably) and yank him to the side of the trail. I had already pulled off to yield and let her know she could continue forward as she had right of way (I always yield to hikers). As I saw her obviously nervous dog (a large German shepherd) approaching with suspicion I took off my helmet, glasses, and balaclava, telling her,
"I bet he is a little surprised or scared seeing someone with all this gear on - sorry."
She replied, "Maybe, but I think he is more surprised to see a cyclist out in these conditions." "Most people are"
I laughed, to which she answered "I can understand why. You must be either too hardcore or incredibly stupid."
I told her I lean towards the latter.
All in all - the ride was slow, hard, and wonderful and I can't wait to do it again tomorrow. Although I must admit a large part of that motivations stems from my desire to enact revenge on the little sots who harassed me by leaving a bright yellow stain on their jump...pics below.
Da' View from the dam
My ugly mug
PS: Sorry about the crappy cell-phone pics, I forgot my camera.