Friday, January 20, 2012

Small windows

Another week of weird winter.  We had a bunch of rain again, which made the creeks all come up nicely.  If it wasn't for the fact that I have a big deadline coming up, I would have thought about taking a day off work to take the kayak into Pennsylvania and get me some juicy creeking.

But I didn't.  Too much work needs done, so I stayed at work like a good employee.  All that rain softened up the ground way more, and the temps were above freezing too often.  But finally we got a couple of cold days and nights, and even though it snowed a bit there was a chance that conditions might come together briefly.

And this morning when I checked the ground it was frozen pretty much solid.  So a small window opened - the ground was frozen and there was only an inch or two of snow, so the trails should be good to go.  I got off work at noon and since I had my bike and gear in the car, I headed right out to West Branch.  I started out at the marina and headed in via Cable Line.

I turned down the F loop, extremely glad to see that there was no heaving from needle ice.  When it freezes quick and the soil is wet, West Branch seems prone to needle ice - a nearly impossible condition to ride over.  But there was only an inch of snow masking the rocks, so it was pretty sweet snow riding.

It was great to get out at West Branch after so long away.  I injured some ribs in a collision with a tree there in August, which put me out of riding for a month.  Then in September it rained - and rained and rained - so there was no riding then.  Come October I had another accident and fractured my skull, so I was out again, this time till mid-December.  Between weather, the holidays and my condition after two months of rest, there was no riding except for two quick jaunts to Moraine.  And now over halfway through January this one day window opens up - and I'm lucky enough to get out.

Tonight a big snow storm is coming in from the west, with 3 to 7 inches of snow forecast.  And then on Sunday the temps are supposed to go up to 40 - so all the snow will melt, the ground will thaw, and mud will rule the trails.  I'd like to gloat a little on the fact that for once I managed to take advantage of one of these fleeting opportunities and get out there.  Hell yeah.

It seems that Blogger has grouped my blog along with the photography blogs.  Hmmm.  I'm sure fans of fine photography are sorely dissappointed when they stumble onto this blog.  Maybe I need to type the word "mountain bike" more often...

Mountain bike, mountain bike, mountain bike.

There, that should fix it.

But I have to admit, I've managed to get a couple of really colorful sunrise and sunset photos recently.  When the countryside is limited to white, grey and brown, the burst of warm colors seems to stand out even more than in summertime.

The other day there was a vertical sunrise, where a column of light comes straight up from the rising sun. I've tried to photograph these before with no success, but this time somehow I managed to get a couple of good shots.

Even with the forecast snow I have hopes that I might be able to get out for a little ride around town tomorrow.  With the warmer temps on Sunday, Kenny and I might head down to Beaver Creek and finally get the trail at least partially flagged.  It all depends on how much snow we get tonight - too much and I'm not going to even bother trying to get down into that valley with my little car.

Mountain bike, mountain bike, mountain bike.


  1. It's strange. We have been having near-perfect weather here the last few days and I haven't been out once. You, on the other hand, are out riding your tail off in conditions that I would consider suitable only for Frosty the Sasquatch.

    I am a little ashamed and taking my bike off the stand as soon as I type the next period.


  2. I used to hate winter when I was younger, but these days I'm okay with it for the most part (below zero and I start getting a bit cranky). I just seem to feel better and be in a better mood when I do stuff, so I'll brave a blizzard to go riding.

    Steve Z