Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Chasing sunset

So studs rule. I blew out of work today just in time to catch the last hour of depleted daylight - the 3:45 p.m. sunset and subsequent hour of twilight. Most of the ridge roads are packed snow and ice - a little precarious on treads, but as solid as pavement with studs. I climbed up a steep hill, one that's gravel in the summer and loose enough that you really have to throw all your weight on the back tire. Today I just cruised up it, standing, as sunset's shadow inched over the crest. I thought I could beat those last orange rays to the top, but the packed road quickly gave way to a soft snowmobile trail. I upped the RPMs but just kept grinding into the powder and falling over. I'm learning that when you're an ice biker, powder is bad. Especially when there's two feet of it, and a handful of snowmobiles do not a packed trail make.

Oops ... I forgot that I'm in Alaska now and need to call them "snowmachines." But I'm rebelling and keeping my native tongue. I'm from Utah, and I can say "fark" instead of "fork" and "crick" instead of "creek" if I want to. But to me, a snowmachine will always be one of those contraptions that spits powdery fountains of fake snow all over ski slopes when the real stuff ain't comin.' That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

13 comments:

  1. Beautiful photograph in this post :)

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  2. I agree.

    I'm a sucker for a picture with a mountain bike in it:-)

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  3. Nothin' like the first real sweet ride on good studs. Suddenly, the winter world opens up. I used to fear those shiny patches of packed ice on the road; now I aim for them and think to myself, "Aaaah, sweet, easy speed."

    And thanks for the nice note in yesterday's post. I'm not so sure about the "mentor" part, though. In a couple of years, most of us will probably be following you.

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  4. Skinny tires work well for cutting through the powdery stuff, but for the hard-packed stuff, a mountain bike is nice. I rode a mountain bike through the winter for years, and learning to ride a skinny-tired fixed gear on snow & ice was a totally new experience with its own set of advantages and challenges.

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  5. It looks like it is difficult to take a bad picture there in the winter. Glad you enjoy the studs -- they are a blast.

    Cheers

    Kevin

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  6. anybody who refers to a snowmobile as a snowmachine should have a fark stuck up their crick.

    today i rode in VERY chilly conditions down here in the fertile lowlands of Californo. I think it might have been ... like 50.

    bwaahahahaaaaahahaha!

    ... er, sorry. Just giddy over how this will be the only snowmobile reference I'll have this winter. yip!

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  7. woo hee, you take some great shots!
    Working on getting my studded tires on, it hasn't snowed much here....yet. Also thinking about a mag trainer

    119" of snow last winter in Cleveland, a record! Yikes

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  8. Any blog with a sunrise or sunset picture and I hooked. I am enjoying all of your photos and your words - thanks

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  9. Congrats on the tires and on getting out in the snow!

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  10. I just tried studs in deep snow, with a layer of ice underneath...didn't work so well. But I had already fallen in love with studded tires and with my headlight. Now there is nothing to stand in my way!!

    And maybe we can start a support group for those of us (my native language: Wyomingese) who have found ourselves stuffed into a foreign land (in my case, Massachusetts and now Vermont), where the favorite past time is to make fun of our speech patterns.

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  11. Lovely!!

    Still no snow here. Bring it on!

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  12. I can't help but question the sanity of those who ride bicycles in the snow.

    Don't mind me. I'm from Maryland and just don't get it.

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