Saturday, October 28, 2006

mmm ... slippy

Date: Oct. 27
Total mileage: 41.3
October mileage: 373.6
Temperature upon departure: 38

That's it. Time to break out the studs.

Well, it's not quite that time of year yet. But it is approaching that time of year when nightly freeze-ups and a snowline down to 1,000 feet means it's not a great season to take the roadie up to a ski resort. But, like I said, snowline has crept down to 1,000 feet, and I love snow. I wanted to take some crunchy steps through the frosted grass and wrap my fingers around an dripping early-season snowball. So when I woke up to a blindingly clear morning, it seemed a no-brainer to ride up to EagleCrest. And I did get my feet on some snow. I also had the opportunity to do plenty of walking down the ice sheet that had once been a canyon road. 'Tis the season to keep roadie at sea level.

When we finally did hit the thaw during the descent, I amped up to 30 mph and received my annual lesson in the degrees of windchill. I've never learned the math, but I do know that my odometer screen begins to black out when the temperature drops into single digits. My odometer screen blacked out. I nearly did too, by the time I reached sea level with frozen tears still clinging to my face. 'Tis the season to dress in many layers. Why must I relearn this every year?

In all honesty, I am excited about this semblance of a cold snap. Last winter, I lived in a marginally more temperate climate, where the temperature actually varied by more than 5 degrees from week to week. This winter, I essentially live in the Pacific Northwest - Seattle, if you will, but take away 20 or so degrees Fahrenheit. Like Seattle, it doesn't snow all that much here. At least, it doesn't snow much on the sea-level population center. However, a healthy annual precipitation means that once you hit a certain elevation - terrain located almost solely on steep, foreboding mountainsides - it snows lots and lots and lots (and lots). So winter activity, I hear, is mainly a choice between freezing rain and avalanches.

I know. I have it soooooo tough. But I do think it's a unique situation that poses a lot of outdoor recreation challenges many people never think about. Challenges that I have yet to learn about. But I did get an important first lesson today - wet snow, overnight freeze, skinny tires and gravity are never a good combination. Now where did I stash those studs?

4 comments:

  1. Wow--I think you are the stud! Icy roads? For me, that's a good day to sit inside and read VeloNews and dream of the springtime crits (which I won't be ready for since I've been sitting inside reading VN).

    ReplyDelete
  2. I was thinking about you today (sounds like a love letter, doesn’t it?) while watching a National Geographic show on avalanches. Guess it’s not love after all but pure scientific inquiry such as: I never knew that Juneau or parts of it were at risk from avalanches. Funny that you mention it on your post as well. Just funny, as in curious, not as in foreboding. Please.

    ReplyDelete
  3. God...and I bitched about a headwind today...at least it was 60 and sunny!

    Mark

    ReplyDelete
  4. Anonymous6:52 PM

    "So winter activity, I hear, is mainly a choice between freezing rain and avalanches."

    huh? sounds like someone's been trying to scare you again.
    that said, I'd stay away from mcginnis. and watch the SEAK Av Center web site. and stay away from any place named "snowslide gulch."

    ReplyDelete