Today was my one and only day off this week. There can be no doubt if I have a whole day of no work, I am gonna ride. Thing is Mother Nature was set to kick some ass this Sunday and my bike ride was not part of the grand plan.
I took my sweet time, walked the dogs, drank coffee, tinkered with the bike. While inside listening to music, getting jacked up on coffee and food, wave after wave of a powerful spring storm crashed into my westerly windows. It snowed, rained, thundered and at times the light coming into house would go dark as heavy clouds draped across the sky blotting out the sun. Pretty serious shit was going on out there.
The sky became a light and bright grey, the precipitation eased and I got out the door.
Pedaling East on Highway 50 the wind is at my back without seeming to be too crazy. I turn up the Quartz Creek Valley, leaving the roar of traffic behind. The picturesque valley is melting and turning green with many adorable new born calves curled up next to their mommas or prancing around on new found legs. Few cars pass and most folks wave on this back road, it is just about perfect.
I get just past Pitkin, to where the road is no longer plowed. The snow is soft, rotten and still quite deep. I eat a sandwhich drink some water and watch the wall of white that seems to be closing in from all directions. Within a few seconds it goes from calm tranquil and comfortable to the chaos of a spring snow storm. The wind whips the pellets of sleet mixed with flakes of snow sideways through the mountain air. The hard bits of refrozen water sting my face, stick to my clothes and coat the roads almost instantly. So much for avoiding the storm, right?
Luckily I have most of my Tour Divide kit, plus a bunch more clothes loaded on the bike. Constantly testing, dialing and getting the body used to all the extra weight on the bike. So I simply stop and layer up, stop and layer up, stop and layer up. It is down right nasty out. The only thing I didn’t bring was booties for my poor feet, instead just some old plastic grocery bags to keep my feet warm. Whups, there is always more to learn!
The storm eases up after a while, lessening it’s intensity. Still the wind rages. The calm tailwind I milked on the way out has stepped up into a terrible, push you around headwind. For about 18 miles I fight my way home. For the first time I can remember my ankles actually hurt from being so cold. The wind never lets up and I am forced to admit defeat to it, slowing down with every mile eventually crawling into town, my tail between my legs, cooked, tired, exhausted and weirdly happy.
Something extra real about riding through a storm, so much more satisfying than a sunshine filled joy ride. I really do enjoy the power dished out on a regular basis by ole Mother Nature, even if at mile 45 I was cursing that damn wind and dreaming of hot food and warm dry feet. Some like to say HTFU, so GO out there it is always worth it!!