27 March 2010

First of a hundred days

Spent the last couple weeks patiently waiting... waiting for news from the district about my school and whether or not we're going to be closed next year (any decision was put off (again) until June 8)... for my kid's 5th birthday to arrive (just about 1 more week to go)... and for the woods to begin to open for spring riding.

Got up this morning just super-ready to get some exercise.  And, not being too excited about skiing the frozen cord and riding chilly chairs for a few hours at Snowbowl (not to mention being at the point in the season where another drive up the road to the area just seems so dreadful), I instead headed out into the woods on my bike this morning at around 8:30 for the first time since, like, November.

It's early in the springtime to be out riding.  No question.  But, we've been out in the woods as a family walking a few afternoons recently and we've seen that, while not completely melted off by any stretch, the woods near the base of Mount Elden are nevertheless growing more passable every day.  So, with the streams and waterfalls flowing all around me, I was able to get an easy-going hour in on the bike today riding on local trails (Lower Oldham and Jumps) and what can only be compared to solid rock, akin to slickrock but without the massive relief.

The snow's set-up totally solid at this point, no worries of punching through, no soft spots and no mud (except at stream crossings) if you get out before the temps top the mid-30s.  Riding the ice-cold snow-rock is slowish most of the time.  At this point there are still long stretches off-trail where you can ride for a quarter-mile, maybe more, on solid rock-hard snow... going uphill's a patient-but-reasonable low-gear grind. But, oh man, going downhill on these stretches, whipping around tree-wells and sun-cups, under low branches, in-and-out of halfpipe-like drainages, is pretty dang fun!  It makes these trails on the flanks of Elden, which I ride lots, easily well over a hundred days a year, year-in and year-out, totally new and exciting again.