Monday, January 22, 2007

Owwwwmmmm. Owwwwmmmm. Owwwwmmmm.

OK, now that that's out of my system...

The whole reason for going out into the...erm..."blizzard" Sunday was to get in our annual "first snow ride" of the year. The '06-'07 snow season has gotten off to a late start, and who knows...maybe this will be the last snow-ride of the year (thank you fictional global warming). So as much as I was enjoying my Sunday-afternoon-with-ass-glued-to-the-couch-yet-again, when DT called, I knew I had to get out into the cold.

After an hour in the car to make a ~20 minute drive, I met DT at ye ole Reston Ice Rink. The plan was to do a quick Colt's Neck loop before dark. We had originally planned to meet at 3:30pm, but thanks to driver stupidness (as mentioned in my last post), I didn't get there till almost 4:30pm. We'd be lucky if we were out of the woods before complete darkness. But, we both had suffered...erm..."blizzard" traffic, so we decided to take our reward.

The loop was pretty uneventful. No mechanicals. No crashes. No broken bones. We walked most of the water crossings (at least, I did). The idea of riding back to the cars soaking wet in 20something degree temps wasn't appealing. I've seen a buddy have to do it, and it didn't look the least bit fun.

Snow has an interesting effect on mountain biking. It covers technical sections of the trail, actually making them easier to navigate. There's a rock garden on a downhill that I usually clear, but it ain't pretty. With the snow, I flowed over the whole thing. Without being able to see the rocks and psyche myself out the bike just did the work. The same thing happened in a baby-head-sized rock drainage ditch climb. I can usually make it to the top of the run, where you have to get over a concrete pipe. That's where I usually bungle it. In the snow, I just flowed up, crossing the pipe with ease.

Drive time to trailhead: ~1 hour
Temp at departure: 27
Inches of snow on the ground at departure: ~1
Total miles: ~9
Miles following in the tire tracks of riders gone before us: ~4.5
Miles of virgin snow covered trail-blazing: ~4.5
Inches of snow on the ground at completion: ~1.5
Total saddle time: dunno, but longer than a "normal" Colt's Neck loop due to both of us being off the mountain bikes for too long. Maybe 1.25 hours?
Total drive time home: >1 hour