Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Back to zero

Date: Jan. 6
Mileage: 28.9
January mileage: 137.8
Temperature upon departure: 10

Tuesday, climbing on the bike, 29 miles, 3.5 hours. Temperatures continued falling for most of the day today, settling back in the subzero range, where they'll probably stay tomorrow. I hope to go out for a longer ride Wednesday, mostly to see if I can survive, but today was all about working up a good sweat. I made the 1,200-foot climb through two inches of fresh snow on the unplowed road to Eaglecrest (the ski resort is closed Tuesdays.)

I did a little riding on the slopes, but there's way too much new snow - too soft and punchy. The skiers have the right idea. If I ever feel like hauling my board up there one of these days, maybe I'll join them. I've made plans several times to go snowboarding at Eaglecrest with friends, but I keep backing out. I'm not quite sure why I've lost nearly all interest in snowboarding. I do have this new aversion to the idea being carted up a mountain; subsequently, I lack the skill set, avalanche knowledge and equipment needed for backcountry runs. Plus, I've got that big race coming, and I'm genuinely worried about hurting myself doing something stupid.

But the biking today was mostly beautiful and cold. What's new? I love it. I don't get sick of it. I don't know why.

The only bad part about a healthy winter climb is the five-mile effortless descent in minus-20-degree windchill. I stopped halfway down the hill to put on mittens over my gloves, and took exactly two pictures before my camera quit working. My left thumb froze as well, just a bit. I used to downhill snowboard on a regular basis back when I lived in Utah, usually at night, and I have no idea how I stayed warm. A ski lift carts you up a hill and you slide down. Unless you're moderately skilled (I'm not), there's few chances to work up very much heat. I think this is the reason why I have been so much more interested in snowshoeing than snowboarding lately (well, besides the fact that I'm getting old) ... but with snowshoeing, you work up a sweat going both up and down.

Downhill snowbiking, however, is miserably cold.

But on second thought ... it's worth it.


  1. Getting Old? Now I really feel old!

  2. it's the challenges that make it all worthwhile... :)

  3. beautiful pictures as usual Jill! but oh my goodness you look cold.. I've given you an award on my blog problem if you don't want to get it, just wanted you to know I love your blog! now get inside where's it warm =)

  4. Jill,
    I've started reading your blog very first thing in the morning, before I ride in to work. That way the bitter cold of a Phoenix Winter doesn't seem quite so bitter, or cold. :-) But truth be told, 37 degrees still feels cold to me.

  5. For me, a big negative of ski areas is the crowds. In contrast, one of the things that I love about mountain biking is the quiet solitude of the trails. In the snowy winter, I rarely see others on the trails.

  6. If it was easy, everybody would be doing it. Can't imagine ever having crowded bike trails in the winter. I sure wish I had a Pugsley.

  7. Descending sounds super've got some great gear to keep you warm though...keep on ridin!

  8. I have to agree that winter biking has it's own flavor of fun that there's just no getting sick of. Here in MN we don't have any five mile descents but that sounds like a lot of wind chill without any climbing to warm you up. Although, I'd like to try it some time :-)

  9. Keep on keepin' on!

    "Don't let what others think you are doing affect what YOU think you are doing."

    ..I think you've got that down.

  10. I have really enjoyed reading your blog and think you have done a great job with content and layout. I am a blogging "newbie" and am curious if you were able to complete the layout entirely within Blogger or do you use another application?

    I look forward to more winter inspiration!

  11. That's why you gotta ski the bump runs! Moguls give a good quad-burning workout.

  12. Hi Jill,

    I found your blog 2 days ago while searching for recent photos of Alaska (I was curious to see what Alaska looks like in winter - I visited the Inside Passage in June last year and found the scenery breathtaking). I'm thrilled I found your site - you have lots of wonderful photos and I really enjoy reading your posts (just bought your book :)

    All the best,

  13. Mike in WI said

    The outdoors, effort put forth and those great pics make you're Blog one of my favorites!

    Are those Oakley snow goggles?

    Not being very computer savvy, How does one become other than anonymous?

  14. why not a fixed cog in back for the downhills? even if you don't like the idea of fixed all the time, being able to resist the pedals can really help keep you warm...

    anyway, i defer to your immense experience.


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