This week has been what I call utility riding…not for fun or exercise necessarily, just a means to get stuff done. I don’t mean to dismiss this type of riding as it is what the vast majority of rides are around the world every day.
Thursday, January 10
A beautiful, sunny afternoon ride to work with the temperature in the mid-20’s. The forecast of snow seems off and every day I wish there were shower facilities available at work. I’d love to go for a longer ride before work, when the sun is out, but I’m not sure my co-workers or patients would appreciate the predictable results.
Oops, the snow hit later in the afternoon. The temp was still 24F on the ride home but it was a VERY slow ride. 4-5 inches of fresh snow covered the previously dry and clear roads. The plows were already busy on Division and other major roads but the side streets I commute on hadn’t been touched yet. Skinny, slick tires actually are not the best for these conditions…who knew?
The only real issue going home was the big hill down Wall St. I figured I’d give it a try, but decided to go only as fast as I was willing to crash. No cars were out so I was able to pick my best route. Luckily, before going to work, I replaced my clip-less Crank Brothers Candy pedals for flat, grippy MKS Prime Sylvan touring pedals, very similar to the MKS CT-Lite pedals I put on the LHT mid-tour in Wales. I felt much safer in the sketchy conditions with my feet free to step down in a split second, if needed.
Friday, January 11
The clouds are gone, the sun is out and it is cold. I’m guessing it’s only 20F for my ride in but the blue sky and fresh snow more than make up for it. I’m just riding to work and back and hoping the weather holds.
The big thermometer said 22F on the ride in and 14F going home. Damn, I forgot my balaclava AND Buff so my face was very cold on the ride home. Doh!
Saturday, January 12
No pics today…rode to work and back. The temps have risen to the mid-20’s during the day and dropped to the mid-10’s around midnight and I remembered all my layers!
The side roads have deteriorated into very thin layers of compressed snow (slick as snot) and chunks of icy snow, especially as you approach intersections with the more heavily traveled and clear main roads. Riding straight is fine but any change in direction or speed must be done with care. These roads are fun to ride with LED lighting as this type of lighting seems to not produce shadows to give clues to the road surface changes.
Sunday, January 13
Today, I’m on-call until I ride to work at 7 pm so I’m getting caught up on this blogging endeavor. Riding daily, even with the current conditions is easy compared to blogging about it. During our recent Wales tour, I took pictures and did more editing of the blog posts than writing them. Janet and I have very different writing styles, but she seems to be able (or willing?) to write more easily than I.
Janet and the students are having a wonderful time in central Oregon learning to winter camp, ski with packs while pulling sleds and cooking in snow kitchens! Today they’ve shipped their extra food and supplies into the backcountry HQ at Elk Lake Resort.
The wonderful folks at Elk Lake Resort have been our home base for this course since Lin Cabin burned down during the Black Butte fire of summer 2006, only a few months before we first taught the class. The class had previously been taught out of Lin Cabin by professors Drannan Hamby and Doug Cruikshank, both now retired, for over 20 years. The cabin was a great teaching location with immediate access to the incredible central Oregon Cascades terrain just out the door.
Tomorrow Janet, Angela and the students will leave the relative comfort of the old Skyliners Lodge and head into the Three Sisters Wilderness for the remainder of the course.
Enjoy the ride,