I'll be the first to admit that winter is not my favorite riding season. However, it is the BEST time--at least in my neck of the woods--to ride during or just after a storm, be it a wind storm, rain storm, or the occasional snow storm. While I try to avoid riding in the worst rain storms, riding in the forest during a wind or snow storm can be... interesting.
Tuesday, December 01, 2009
A few years ago, Jon and I rode a section of the North Umpqua trail on New Years Day.
One of the nice things about the North Umpqua Trail is that it drains well, so year round riding is usually just fine, especially on the sections at the lower elevations. We thought it would be fun to ride one of the lower sections (I can't recall which one, but not the lowest or Western-most section) so off we went.
It was quite cold for that part of Oregon. The roads weren't icy, and the trail had running water on it, but there was ice buildup on the trees and it was snowing. It wasn't getting any warmer, that's for sure. We had to ride a section we didn't plan on due to a downed tree that took out a power line, leaving it draped across the road. We knew that this would not be a normal ride on the trail.
There was so much water on the trail that we were soaked in short order. Oh well, we were having fun, so we pushed on, heedless of the cracking and popping of the trees around us. There was quite a bit of ice piled up on the branches and they couldn't take the load. Trees were, literally, cracking around us.
The danger of the ride was driven home on the return leg of the out and back. There was a new tree across the trail. To date, this is the only ride I've ever been on where there were more trees across the trail coming back, than heading out.
We were frozen and even though the ride was short, it highlighted the danger of riding in the forest during a storm.
Not that that's stopped us since.
And it took us the whole way back to town to thaw out.
Jon--who has images to prove it--should relate the time we were caught in a flash flood in Moab. He and I are usually together when semi-dangerous rides happen.
And when I get speeding tickets.
My driving record has improved greatly since he moved to another state.