Wednesday, December 30, 2015

We Brave the Cold for a Ride into the Forest

It was another Wednesday gravel ride for those of us who don't work between Christmas and New Year's, or those, such as myself, who don't work between January 1st and January 1st, or those who just took the day off. It was just myself, Maria, and Sarah who were willing to brave the cold temps (but glorious sunshine). When I left my house, it was 25 degrees. 

We met at McLane Elementary School. I rode over from home (11.4 miles). It took me almost an hour as I was being a little cautious with the frosty stuff on the road shoulders. I managed just fine, and I t was a good warmup. 

We headed down Delphi, and up Cedar Flats (have I ever mentioned how not flat Cedar Flats is???) to Maple Valley, then through the little bushwhack hike-a-bike to the gravel road. From there it was the usual, seemingly, never ending climb up B-8400. I managed, once again, to make it to the top without stopping. That is due to having the 34 tooth small ring on the front, and a 32 on the back. Both Sarah and Maria had cyclocross gearing, thus making it much more difficult to make it up the steepest parts. However, in gravel riding, there is no shame in walking!

We made it back into the sunshine. Sarah had added extra leg warmers at the start. It was now time to take them off.
Warm work climbing!
Haven't seen this view for awhile!

We continued on, reveling in the sunshine, convincing ourselves it was quite warm (okay, not really warm, but at least the illusion of warmth). As we came up to the higher elevation, we started to see some snow. Fortunately, the tracks on the road were clear (except for occasional spots of ice which I gingerly rode over). When we got to the highest point, Maria noticed she had lost a screw from her front fender stay. None of us happened to be carrying any zip ties, so we took the zipper pulls off three of Maria's backpack zippers, connected them together, then tied the fender to the fork. It looked pretty sturdy. Then I took a photo of the snow.
This is not the road we were riding on. It's just a side road.

What we failed to do was check the tightness of the other screw on the other stay. That was a mistake. When Maria got to the Rock Candy Mtn. Trailhead parking lot, she noticed the other screw was gone. With no more zipper pulls to scavenge from her backpack, she had no choice but to remove the fender. Between my pocket knife, and her multi tool, we were able to get the fork crown screw and nut off. Then the question was, what to do with the fender? Calling once again on our MacGyver abilities, we managed to attach the fender to the outside of Maria's backpack. 

Our plan had been to head across Hwy 8 and go up the S-line to the end, then bushwhack down to the road near Steamboat Island Rd. Sarah was not too keen about riding on the Hwy. But, by then, we thought we shouldn't push our luck (plus, it would have been hard for Maria to bushwhack with a fender on her back). We opted to head back to town on the highway. It's not a bad highway to ride on. The shoulder is wide, and in this case, it was fairly clean. We had a brief respite at Winslow Dr., then returned and rode until Old Hwy 410. It was, maybe, 3 miles on the highway. Even Sarah said it wasn't so bad. 

We made it back to McLane, and Sarah and Maria's cars. Both offered to give me a ride home, but I was fine riding. Our loop had only been 16.4 miles, and I needed the calorie burn anyway. Plus, by then, although it was still cold, it wasn't that cold. I enjoyed my ride home in the sun for a total of almost 40 miles for the day. Not bad for sub-freezing temps!

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