Tuesday, January 06, 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.