Thursday, March 6, 2014

Give Me Patience

Each of the four seasons is theoretically 1/4 of the year and should therefore last three months.  This year we've got more than our share of winter, something that is probably pretty obvious to anyone living in the Northeast.  It started being winter sometime in November, even though the calendar says that winter doesn't start till after the middle of December.  So we've had half of November, all of December, January and February - and now it's March and I'm still looking out my window at snow.

Lord, give me patience.

Patience to wait out the days as the temps slowly start to warm and the snow shrinks and finally vanishes.  Patience to wait out the 'mud season' so that the trails will be firm enough to ride.  Patience to wait until the conditions are finally just right for a great mountain bike ride, or whitewater kayak run, or maybe even a backpacking trip.  Just take a deep breath and relax - that time is definitely coming soon.

But I've been trying to get out and do what I can to get some fresh air and exercise.  I've been doing quite a bit of trail work this winter, cutting new corridor to finish up the phase 3 trail at North Road Nature Preserve.  Last summer we built a section of trail through the mature woods that line the creek.  This is a beautiful area, and pretty easy to make trails through, as the canopy keeps the undergrowth down to a reasonable level. 

Flagging a new section of trail in the more mature woods.
But in the fall I started working in an area with a much younger woods, and another area of dense scrub.  This stuff is HARD to build trail through - I call it 'the most work for the least return'.  Thankfully the distance through this scrub is not that long on this loop, so a couple more work days should at least let me cut the corridor all the way through.  Then as the weather improves and the ground eventually dries up we'll be able to start getting the stumps out and filling in the low spots.  We hope to finish this trail loop by early summer, and spend the rest of the year improving the existing trails and possibly adding a new trail extension.  Even though these are beginner level trails, it is absolutely a GREAT thing to have a mountain bike trail less than five miles from my house.

I headed out a couple of weeks ago to try and get in a ride on the rural roads in northern Trumbull County.  The roads were clear of snow, but any place that I was legally allowed to park was still covered with 8" of soft snow.  So that pretty much ended that days riding before it even started.  But by last weekend there had been a few days where the temps got above freezing, so the snow cover had lessened, and I had hopes that I could park in one of the rail trail parking lots and get in a road ride from there.  It was still mostly snow covered, but clear enough that my little car could get in and out without too much trouble.

Oakfield parking area, Western Reserve Greenway.
It's pretty easy to make a route up there that follows roads with almost no traffic.  I think I usually see an average of one car every 10 minutes (and mistrustful me, I usually pull off the road to let them pass).  There are some interesting old dead ends in the area, too.   Here's one I followed till it reached the edge of the wildlife area:

Don't shoot swans.
The road surface wasn't exactly easy to ride on, but if I wanted easy I could always sit on the couch drinking beer.

Some of the dead ends get very little traffic this time of year, so the snow is easier to ride than on the road above.

Very quiet back here.
And sometimes you can find a bike accessible route on roads that haven't seen car traffic in years and years.

Bridge closed - except to stubborn bicyclists.

Occasionally these dead ends require a bit of hike a bike - especially in the areas with unbroken snow - but its all good.

Hike a bike territory.

But I always end up back on the pavement, heading back into farm country. 

Smooth riding!
I have Friday after lunch open for riding again this week.  And with temps forecast to climb today and tomorrow I'm hoping that this chest cold that developed yesterday gives me enough wind to still get out and ride.  If not - patience...


  1. Man, I just made a long comment that apparently was lost in the lame-ass pirate wi-fi I currently rely on. The comment basically boiled down to me apologizing for considering the sub-fifty degree weather here in Florida to being cruel and unusual punishment, but it is after all, relative, I suppose. Whatever the case, sunnier times are coming, Swampy...


    1. Yeah, that is absolutely frustrating. I lost a map I was making last night on Mapmyride - after like 20 minutes of routing. Just turned it off and walked away.

      We're getting there. Above freezing temps forecast for almost the entire upcoming week. I'm getting ready to head out for the back roads again in just a little while. Temp is a good-enough 38 degrees.

      Hope you're getting some saddle time in between the MdD's. All work and no play makes for a glum boy (somewhat richer though).

      Steve Z

  2. We are getting there too....When Basketball ended I have hit more days on my bike commute than not. Good-enough 38 degrees seems to be expected around here too. I have been participating in the Errandonnee that is sponsored by the blog, chasing mailboxes D.C. It has been a fun way to makes sure to push yourself out the door on your bike here late winter. Although I took a pass this morning at 9 degress.
    Sunnier times are coming!!

    1. Jim,
      It was below 10 degrees this morning. I know it will be much warmer tomorrow, but that don't make today any easier.
      Checked out that blog you mentioned, and learned a bit about some bike events I'd never even heard of! Must be interesting to have enough riders in an area to pull off stuff like that. Very cool ideas!

      Steve Z

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