Sunday, December 06, 2009

Sunday, Pugsley Sunday

This seems to be inadvertently becoming a tradition ... the last day of the week rolls around and I sleep in, eat a peanut butter sandwich for breakfast, finally make an effort to look out the window and note that the weather is actually pretty nice, and head out with Pugsley for a relaxing late morning/early afternoon hunt for rare pockets of snowbiking. A recent long thaw means everything at sea level is pretty much bare. Must climb.

Lake Creek Trail - which in the summer isn't actually a trail, so most everything beneath the snow is undeveloped terrain. Climbing to snow means clearing the myriad obstacles - clumps of frozen muskeg grass, rolling glare ice streams and flake-frosted mud. Much of it involves mountain bike moves as technical as any I've ever tried, on uphill slopes as steep as any I've ever climbed, and yet I try them, despite rather painful falls on hard ground that await me, because I have this delusion that Pugsley is invincible.

I was hoping for more hard crust in the meadows but I guess conditions stayed pretty wintry up there this week. This is my best attempt to ride downhill through the fluff. I'm not sure how much I was still moving when the self-timer clicked.

Elusive winter singletrack. Day-old ski tracks sometimes make great bike trails, but they're so narrow that the swerve-margin is near zero. Skiers usually have dogs that punch deep holes in the track and make it very difficult to hold a straight line.

No matter. Half the fun is in trying. Furrowing my brow, biting my bottom lip and funneling every ounce of available concentration into 30 continuous feet of riding is surprisingly satisfying.

Frost feathers. Today was also the day I discovered that the "super macro" setting on the Olympus Stylus isn't half bad.

But frost has a way of even making the ugliest patches of nutrient-starved muskeg look enticing. The temperature today held steady in the 20s, which feels downright toasty compared to 35 and raining (you'll note in the self portrait that I wore neither a hat nor gloves, at least until I started bombing downhill.) I wish it could be Pugsley Sunday every day.

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