With the New Year holiday I had another four day weekend. I spent some time working on Diana and Kenny's bikes, as well as taking care of the post-holiday mess. On Saturday I took the new bike out to West Branch, though I knew with a 99% certainty that the trails were too wet. But the weather was above freezing and I wanted to ride, so I headed out.
|Notice my hand stitched chain stay guard?|
So there was no singletrack on the ride. I followed the old road up to the other gate, and past - to where the road is closed for construction. It was good to be able to ride some hills and not be any more out of breath than I'd expect, and the broken pavement in some places was fun. But I'm dyin' to be out on the dirt and old Ma Nature just isn't cooperating.
Dave and I headed out for a cruise down to Beaver Creek on Sunday. There had been rain off and on in the morning, but the radar showed that it had been pretty spotty down in that area. So I packed up the bike and gear, along with a saw and gloves, and made our way south. The weather was constantly changing - sunny one minute, then raining and with fairly heavy winds kicking up on occasion. After taking a look at the dirt on the trail at the top we headed down to the creek end and parked there. I geared up, packed rain gear and extra clothes in my pack and headed on down the trail in spotty sunshine. Ten minutes later it started sprinkling, which quickly built up into a downpour. The trail down near the creek was in passable condition, with only a few stretches that were soft. As the wind started driving the rain I made my way through the pine woods on solid, pine needle covered singletrack. But as I got to the switchback and started climbing the trail conditions quickly deteriorated, with poorly draining sections that had the consistency of oatmeal. It wasn't worth damaging the trail to get in a little more riding time, so I turned around and headed back. The rain blew over as I approached the end of the trail, and the sun came out to create a spectacular rainbow above the creek. It might not have been a perfect ride, but it was certainly another experience to remember.
|Rainbow over Beaver Creek|
On Monday we woke up to three inches of snow. Kenny and I both had the day off, so I dragged him out to Eagle Creek for a hike through the snow. This is the way to treat the onset of winter - get out in it and embrace the change. We had a nice walk through the woods, with Kenny learning to use his new camera.
It was beautiful in the snow. The marsh was just starting to freeze over, with a thin layer of ice in the shallows. There were a few birds out but it was quiet, with the background sound of the wind in the trees. Light snowfall in the woods partially covered the undergrowth, but the ground pines and wintergreen still poked through in spots.
Even though the trails there are off limits to bikes I couldn't help but notice the conditions - light snow over unfrozen wet earth. Even with the snowfall there still weren't conditions suitable for a cross country ride. Will the snow get too deep before the ground freezes? That is the question on my mind.