Thursday, November 01, 2007

Pugsley's first taste of snow

Date: Oct. 31
Mileage: 13.2
October mileage: 648.1
Temperature upon departure: 37
Rainfall: .98"
October rainfall: 15.65"

This morning, I dressed to go to the gym. Lower-body weight-lifting day. Ug. I thought I should be grateful for the diversion because the weather outside looked monstrous, as usual. But as I walked outside I noticed, stripped ever so lightly below the low-lying clouds, hints of powder white. That meant the snowline was low! Low enough to cover the Perseverance Trail! I had to go to it, to see it, to remember that there is life beyond relentless rain. But I didn't have much time. I ran inside and threw on a fleece hoodie, my helmet, some neoprene booties over my gym shoes, and my snowboarding gloves. With a cotton gym outfit as a base layer, I knew I wouldn't last long out there. But I didn't need long. I needed fast. And I needed snow.

Pugsley and I set out in light, sprinkling rain, but the lack of fenders had me soaked in about 55 seconds. We burned quickly through the late-morning traffic and up the canyon road, hitting the deserted trail in a splash of puddles and scattered leaves, the snowline now mere feet above us. And then, within minutes, it was below us.

I can't call it Puglsey's first snow ride because an inch of warm slush that melts on contact doesn't quite fit the description. But snow was there, coating the canyon like a thin confection glaze, oozing from the treetops and infusing the air with a sweet, metallic taste. I was filled with anticipation I could hardly mitigate. And like a kid who knows the free reign of her Halloween candy is all too temporary, I just had to go for broke.

I launched into a pedalling frenzy, fueled by a sugar snow rush and propelled by the never-say-die burliness of my monster bike. Despite the slush and ice, I was climbing the canyon better than I ever had, clearing a lot of rocky stretches that I usually don't. It's a strange working relationship that I have with Pugsley - it weighs as much as a downhill bike, and doesn't have the suspension that I'm used to, but the big wheels make me feel like I can do no wrong. They instill a confidence that suspension never could. And we burned, really burned. I was sweating bullets and feeling bulletproof.

I stopped at the top of the canyon to take a picture and finally put on the rain shell I had stuffed in my hoodie pocket. I realized there had been a light breeze at my back the whole way up, and it stabbed through my fleece-and-cotton ensemble as though the clothes were made of water, which, for all practical properties of absorption, they were. I knew I could make it home in 20 minutes at a good clip, which is a short period of time regardless of how poorly dressed one is. But I knew it was going to hurt. And I knew how it was going to hurt. And in the novelty of the tiny, sharp flakes of wet snow swirling around me, I took a sick sort of satisfaction in that knowledge.

The descent was short, wet, muddy, and felt like I was on the verge of being sliced to pieces by a chainsaw made of ice. It was everything I needed. For the first morning in a while, I did not miss the sun.


  1. I now know what that irresistible compulsion toward risky behavior, adverse conditions and dangerous environments is called.

    I'm sure it's been said many times...


    But does that make the rest of us Sadistic for wanting to read more?

  2. I can tell when you are truly excited and enjoying yourself. It comes out in your writing. I really enjoy the way you describe your rides. Great writing! Keep it up!
    Posts like this consume me when I am reading them. I can imagine myself owning that Pugsley, doing that first "snow" ride, "going for broke", etc.
    I want my own Pugsley....waaa....
    Great post!

  3. Once the snow starts to accumulate try experimenting with different tire pressures. The first half of last winter I was riding around with 20 psi in the tires. Later I discovered a whole new experience when I was using between 6-12 psi. It took awhile to wrap my brain around the idea that big squishy tires are better, but on snow it gives you amazing traction with the Endomorphs.

    Great post Jill.

  4. "I took a sick sort of satisfaction in that knowledge (that it was going to hurt}".

    I'll need to use that somewhere.

    Very nice description of delight at the first snow, btw.


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