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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Columbia River Gorge
    Posts
    3,583

    The 2 mph average "exploration" ride

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    At about noon today I looked at my BF and said, "Isn't it time we got outside for some activity?" He agreed and the next decision was whether to drive about 45 min and x-c ski or drive about 15 min and check out some of our mountain biking trails that got hit badly in a winter storm. BF opted for mtn bike.

    We got over to the trail head and things looked OK from the ground. The face of the hill we would end up on is south and it looked like there was snow under the trees but there was also a lot of open ground. We started up the backside of the hill, the easiest way to climb and we were soon off our bikes to climb over a downed log. Our area got hit very badly by an ice storm about 1 month ago and there was a ton of tree damage. Many of the trails closer to our house are not even recognizable as trail but we kept going anyway, especially after running into some hikers who said it wasn't too bad.

    After about 1 hour of climbing with an annoying but manageable amount of getting off the bike to go over logs and/or go through some snow, things started to get worse. We kept going. It got worse, and worse, and worse. It took us a little over 3 hours to get to the top of the ridge. We had bushwhacked around huge groupings of downed trees (4 or 5 very large evergreens) and even when there weren't downed trees there was snow. The nasty kind of shin deep snow with a crust at the top where you punch through the crust unexpectedly hyperextending your knee and cutting your shin.

    Why did we keep going you might ask. Well, by the time I was convinced that the tree fall was going to be continuous, we were already far enough up that it would be just as much hassle to turn and go back and by forging ahead, I was hoping that we would get above the elevation where the icestorm had done the most damage. We were headed towards the south face of the hill which I hoped would have less snow. I cursed my decision every time I had to lift my bike up and over another waist height or higher log. I actually got very good at throwing my poor bike over things. And using it to support me as I slogged up another hill through knee deep snow.

    Why didn't the BF want to turn around? He lives for this kind of thing. He was actually having fun a lot of the time. It never even occured to him that turning around was an option.

    We got to the top and the snow was very deep and we slogged. We started back down the other side and the snow was still deep but the amount of tree fall was a little better, maybe spread out as much as 50 feet in spots. And did I mention that by this point my feet had become numb blocks on the ends of my legs?

    The snow did start to thin out eventually. We actually got to ride our bikes for a bit. Like maybe 25 yards at a time. Then we got a little farther down on the south face and Ta Da!! Open trail, we were below the snow line and the tree fall was much thinner though still a factor. We started descending and it was terrifying. My hands quickly went numb and my feet were already numb, I had no real points of contact with the bike. I constantly felt like I was slipping off the brake levers and I couldn't tell how hard I was squeezing. If I had to unclip for some reason it was an ordeal to get clipped back in.

    I rode conservatively and got down safely. BF kept a very close eye on me the whole time to make sure I was OK.

    The stats: 9 miles in 4 hours, 25 min per mile, about 2.3 mph average without any stopping breaks longer than a couple of minutes. SLOGFEST!

    On the upside, my extremities all have their sensation back and I got to have a great meal at the pub afterward.
    Living life like there's no tomorrow.

    http://gorgebikefitter.com/


    2007 Look Dura Ace
    2010 Custom Tonic cross with discs, SRAM
    2012 Moots YBB 2 x 10 Shimano XTR
    2014 Soma B-Side SS

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Pacific Northwest
    Posts
    3,473
    Oh MY!!!
    "My predominant feeling is one of gratitude. I have loved and been loved;I have been given much and I have given something in return...Above all, I have been a sentient being, a thinking animal, on this beautiful planet, and that in itself has been an enormous privilege and an adventure." O. Sacks

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Portland, OR
    Posts
    326
    Wow, hard core. Hats off for keeping going.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    '89 Bridgestone Radac Dura-Ace | Specialized Ruby, 143
    '92 Bridgestone MB-1 | Specialized Ruby, 143
    '92 Bridgestone MB-1.2 (balloon tire bike) | Specialized Ruby, 143
    '93 Bridgestone MB-5 (my SUB*) | Specialized Lithia, 143


    My blog: Portlandia Pedaler (at Blogger)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Oslo, Norway
    Posts
    4,083
    Quote Originally Posted by Wahine View Post
    Why did we keep going you might ask. Well, by the time I was convinced that the tree fall was going to be continuous, we were already far enough up that it would be just as much hassle to turn and go back and by forging ahead, I was hoping that we would get above the elevation where the icestorm had done the most damage.
    wafflewafflewaffle... I have the feeling you don't turn around much.

    Terrific story!
    Winter riding is much less about badassery and much more about bundle-uppery. - malkin

    1995 Kona Cinder Cone commuterFrankenbike/Selle Italia SLR Lady Gel Flow
    2008 white Nakamura Summit Custom mtb/Terry Falcon X
    2000 Schwinn Fastback Comp road bike/Specialized Jett

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
    Posts
    14,645
    Yikes. Next time bring chainsaws.
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Beautiful NW or Left Coast
    Posts
    5,645
    ow!!! what a "ride"!
    I like Bikes - Mimi
    Watercolor Blog

    Davidson Custom Bike - Cavaletta
    Dahon 2009 Sport - Luna
    Old Raleigh Mixte - Mitzi

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Columbia, MO
    Posts
    2,051
    I'm with BF, that sounds fun!
    2009 Trek 7.2FX WSD, brooks Champion Flyer S, commuter bike

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,143
    The urge "not to turn around" is what gets people in bad situations when they are in the outdoors. I just read a research article about this and how our perception changes, even though we know otherwise. In particular, the cold affects our thinking.
    I know Wahine wasn't in any danger and she was in a familiar place, but just a cautionary statement. I get totally freaked out by the possibility of hypothermia or frost bite, which happens very easily to me.
    It does sound fun, though.
    2015 Trek Silque SSL
    Specialized Oura

    2011 Guru Praemio
    Specialized Oura

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Bendemonium
    Posts
    9,684
    Oh gawd, been there down that. Last time though we were riding around Paulina so there was no turnaround. We could only slog forward -- as we cursed the ranger who told us the trail was clear except for a few trees in one spot.
    Frends know gud humors when dey is hear it. ~ Da Crockydiles of ZZE.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Columbia River Gorge
    Posts
    3,583
    Quote Originally Posted by Crankin View Post
    The urge "not to turn around" is what gets people in bad situations when they are in the outdoors. I just read a research article about this and how our perception changes, even though we know otherwise. In particular, the cold affects our thinking.
    I know Wahine wasn't in any danger and she was in a familiar place, but just a cautionary statement. I get totally freaked out by the possibility of hypothermia or frost bite, which happens very easily to me.
    It does sound fun, though.
    That is absolutely true. My ex was heavily involved in search and rescue on the research end of things and he got to review thousands of files about cases of people having to be rescued in the great outdoors. He told lots of stories of "Type A" athletes that get hung up on finishing what they set out to do instead of turning back when they should have.

    There were several times on this ride that I made a point of going through my "checklist" to make sure we were still safe. My BF kind of laughed when I told him that I had packed a headlamp. He said afterward how smart he thought I had been for doing so. It turned out that we didn't need it but it could've been necessary. And I ALWAYS bring extra layers on a ride like this. I wish I had brought an extra set of gloves, switching out from my wet gloves before the descent would have been much better.
    Living life like there's no tomorrow.

    http://gorgebikefitter.com/


    2007 Look Dura Ace
    2010 Custom Tonic cross with discs, SRAM
    2012 Moots YBB 2 x 10 Shimano XTR
    2014 Soma B-Side SS

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Bendemonium
    Posts
    9,684
    I have a friend who keeps in his emergency bike kit a full size cyalume stick because his children kept "borrowing" the headlamp. We're now doing the same because there is no battery that either runs out of juice or gets too cold to operate.
    Frends know gud humors when dey is hear it. ~ Da Crockydiles of ZZE.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Columbia River Gorge
    Posts
    3,583
    That's a good point. I may start doing that as a head lamp backup. I already carry waterproof matches, a small first aid kit and extra food. But I think I'll throw a space blanket as well.
    Living life like there's no tomorrow.

    http://gorgebikefitter.com/


    2007 Look Dura Ace
    2010 Custom Tonic cross with discs, SRAM
    2012 Moots YBB 2 x 10 Shimano XTR
    2014 Soma B-Side SS

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    West MI
    Posts
    4,308
    Quote Originally Posted by Wahine View Post
    That is absolutely true. My ex was heavily involved in search and rescue on the research end of things and he got to review thousands of files about cases of people having to be rescued in the great outdoors. He told lots of stories of "Type A" athletes that get hung up on finishing what they set out to do instead of turning back when they should have.
    I have a couple of very "go big or go home" friends who have made some decisions that would have made me very nervous, had I been along for the ride (heh, ride). One was very sick in Moab to the point of running a fever and suffering horrible chills, but wouldn't sit out even a day and was pretty catatonic on the long drive back to MI.

    Sometimes I feel like a slacker for not pushing myself 100%, 100% of the time, but I've still got a young kid at home, so self-preservation for his sake ranks pretty high for me (plus I hate being under the weather and/or injured, so will scale back if I start feeling overextended). My severely type A friends are either childless or have grown kids.
    Kirsten
    run/bike log
    zoomylicious


    '11 Cannondale SuperSix 4 Rival
    '12 Salsa Mukluk 3
    '14 Seven Mudhoney S Ti/disc/Di2

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,143
    I am a Type A in a lot of things, but not with outdoor adventures. When DH and I do local hikes, I always have certain things in my waist pack; like my headlamp (it's small) and extra nutrition, Nuun, and first aid stuff.
    One time I was on a CRW metric century. About half way through, 2 guys stopped short in front of us, because they thought a driveway was the turn . DH got around them, I barely did, but the woman behind me, who had been riding with us hit me and crashed. Everyone else left and there were no support people around. People always make fun of me, because I pack so much stuff in my seat bag, but while DH worked on fixing her bike, I was able to clean her road rash, put on antibiotic ointment, and give her an Advil.
    2015 Trek Silque SSL
    Specialized Oura

    2011 Guru Praemio
    Specialized Oura

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Bendemonium
    Posts
    9,684
    Quote Originally Posted by Wahine View Post
    That's a good point. I may start doing that as a head lamp backup. I already carry waterproof matches, a small first aid kit and extra food. But I think I'll throw a space blanket as well.
    I am extremely happy to say I've worn out a lot of space blankets simply through many years of stuff bouncing on top of them in my pack.

    Ha, while typing this I had an epiphany -- make a space blanket case out of a section of old inner tube. Will have to test out the diameter.
    Last edited by SadieKate; 02-20-2012 at 02:34 PM.
    Frends know gud humors when dey is hear it. ~ Da Crockydiles of ZZE.

 

 

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