Monday, December 10, 2012

Returned from the dead, well mostly.

So ever since I rode the mountain bike park at Whistler a few years ago let’s just say that I have not been excited at all about mountain biking here on the trails in the Twin Cities. Besides a bit of a falling out with a local biking club I just lost a little bit of interest. I have never been a biking fanatic like some people are. I like biking but I don’t love it, I find it enjoyable enough but ever since Whistler biking in the cities seems lame. People have asked me, “But you ski out west and ski here, what’s the difference?” Easy the difference is I enjoy skiing more than biking. I have toyed with the idea for the last year or so of buying a winter bike and giving it a try. I love winter, I would rather be cold than hot. So because of that I enjoy being outside in the winter. Anyway, I bought a Surly Pugsley a few weeks ago. Melissa got one as well. We picked them up a week or so ago and took them out for a test spin at Lebanon Hills before we got any snow which at the time didn’t appear that it was going to be anytime soon… They were fun to ride, huge fat tires rolled nice and they were pretty fun to just ride… Hmmm maybe this will spark my interest again. There was a little frustration getting going, the Pugsleys are huge bikes so they didn’t fit on our bike rack so we had to buy a new one, so that stunk but all in all that wasn’t a real big deal just an added expense that made me mad. Yesterday Melissa and I woke up to about 5 inches of snow on the ground. I looked at her and said lets go to Lebanon and try out our new bikes in the snow. She agreed with a fairly large smile on her face, so we got dressed quick and headed out. We packed up and headed over to Lebanon Hills. When we arrived at the parking lot there were 4 other cars in the lot and it appeared as though other people had been out riding already, I could see tire tracks off into the woods on the trail. We took our bikes off the rack, saddled up and headed out. The first couple of pedals in the untracked snow and my smile started to form. The crunch of the fresh snow under my tires reminded me of skiing first tracks in Big Sky and that same sound. Melissa hopped on her bike and off we went into the woods. The “beginner” loop at Lebanon is a little over a mile long and it appeared like I said, a few people had ridden already. The trail was about 12” wide and was nicely packed. I was surprised how easy it was to ride on; I guess I had visions of sliding all over hell and back and it not being fun at all. So far I was completely wrong. The trail through the woods was beautiful, snow clung to the tree limbs and it made for a lovely ride. We headed out of the woods and the snow got a little deeper, but Pugsley was handling the deeper powder just fine. The grin on my face was at its peak, OK I get the hype. I admit it, winter biking is FUN! I love my new bike a lot. Melissa and I did a lap and a half at Lebanon, we stayed on the beginner loop the whole time mostly because we wanted to get the feel for winter biking and we were under a bit of a time constraint. After our ride in the woods we did a few laps in the snow covered parking lot, loaded up the bikes and headed for home. Melissa had a wonderful time as well, we both enjoyed our ride. We spent the afternoon talking about how much fun we had and how we both couldn’t wait to go again. Now I am working out some issues, I am learning how to dress for winter riding. You really work up a sweat so you don't need to dress really as warm as you might think. So I am working on that issue. Also I didn’t wear a helmet riding yesterday. I am really trying to decide what to do there. I understand the importance of wearing a bike helmet in the summer but I am not sure if I get it for winter riding. I think I topped out at a whopping 10 miles an hour yesterday while riding and most of the time I was going pretty damn slow. While I know freak things can happen, I just don’t know. Honestly I would just rather wear my stocking hat. So that saga will continue I am sure. The lights are charging right now at home and we are heading over to Lebanon again after work tonight to give it another go. I am hoping Melissa wants to do the full intermediate loop but I guess I will be fine with anything. Thanks Pugsley, you have returned some life to my Minnesota riding… While it is still mostly on life support it is something none the less.