Thursday, March 05, 2009

Winter Still Hangs On: Part II

<===Good ol' El Mariachi!

Wednesday was fantastic on many levels. It got warmer, for one thing. Secondly, it was sunny and although a stiff breeze was blowing, I didn't mind. Thirdly, I was out riding some killer bicycles. Fourthly: (Is that a word?) I saw tons of great wildlife. Fifthly, there were so many photo opportunities I thought I wouldn't get my biking done! (This is all your fault Gnat and Captain Bob!)

<===The color contrasts were so stunning that I spent about 10 minutes just staring.

I decided to head out on the El Mariachi, (nic-named Briar Rose by my daughter) to the Green Belt. I figured I needed to recon that trail anyway. Well, it was going okay at first. Some impacted ice from the skiers on the center of the trail, but the edges were ridable, and the ground was still frozen....when I started! Later on things got greasy, then downright muddy. But before that, I hit a section of solid snow that was totally rideable. Just way bumpy! I jounced around a corner then saw what you see in the second pic of the day. Stunning!

<====A cantilevered sheet of ice that was dislodged and washed into this position by the floods of a couple weeks ago.

Riding was slow going. I was hunting and pecking for the best lines through stuff. The trail was either washed and scoured by the flood, or covered in frozen sand which was like riding on lava rock. Bumpy and uneven! A strange day indeed! I stopped for a moment and saw a Bald Eagle flying downstream. Two off road rides- three Bald Eagles. What are the chances of that? Well, maybe the chances are better now that the eagles are nesting here, I suppose, but I remember when seeing a Bald Eagle in Iowa was cause for top billing on the six o'clock news!

<===Went home and got the Badger out to play!

I rode all the way out to Ranchero Road, picking my way through water, ice, mud, and snow with the occasional traverse of a huge slab of river ice. Then I headed back home via the bike path, grabbed some grub, and went back out again. This time on the Badger, and closer to home on the Green Belt. The temperature had warmed up quite nicely by now, I suppose to around 50. The mud was everywhere! I didn't ride the trail too long before I looked for other fun places to ride today. And I found some!

<====My favorite image of the day. Can you guess what it is? Look at that texture!

I ended up with three solid hours of riding, but it was so much fun, I didn't notice the time! I am so grateful to be able to ride my bike, and to have a great stable of rigs for riding in the woods and over the trails and roads we have. Folks just don't know what adventures they are missing out on.

I could have stayed home and worked, but then I would have missed the cool ice chunks, the wildlife, the sights, and falling through the ice halfway up my shins in water. It was a ton of fun, and a day that won't have conditions like that again in my lifetime, most likely. I am glad I got to ride it.

Speaking of rides, I have a couple of things to pass along today. First, my buddy Gnat is selling a sweet 18 inch, S&S coupled, El Mariachi custom. Check it out here. The other thing I ran across was this new web-zine coming out that is focused on endurance racing. It looks pretty dang cool, so check that out here.

Okay, if you aren't thinking about riding till you are insane now, you must be dead. It's going to be well above 50 degrees today, and I'll be working. I hope you'll be riding.

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