Sunday, June 11, 2017

Winter Weather Mountain Cycling In June...

        Second Sunday in June and snow is predicted. I get two, sometimes three, good morning bicycle rides a week. You see, I am not retired but, my job is not that demanding and my credentials must be kept to a high standard as I am a cycling consultant and I have to know what it's like out there in the saddle. Even though the wake-up temperature is 39 and the storm is moving in, I suit up for a solo adventure into the hills between my house and Lassen Volcanic National Park...not even ten miles to the north. For the first time in fifteen years I am riding a new mountain bike (a Trek Procaliber) and I am excited to give it a workout. I'm in knickers and three layers on top, just in case the prediction comes true.
        I'm climbing a trail behind my house and in the first mile it starts to hail,  just little balls, better than rain, I'm thinking. My usual route is a little torn up (logging activity, they think they own the place) so, I take an alternate...it's been years since I took this old logging railroad route. The hail turns to rain, no big deal...I'm sweaty now. Five miles up this route and I come to a dead-end. I know the creek in the canyon to my right so, I decide to carry my new carbon fiber steed,  over downed trees and through the brush...no problem.
        My wife hates these hike-a-bike adventures. She especially wouldn't like this one as the Buckbrush is tearing at my shins and calves. I decide that crossing the creek (only two foot deep here) is the best plan. I'm already wet and the forest floor is much more open on the other side. That same open forest floor is turning white with accumulated hailstones. I'm squishing in my leather cycling shoes. Within minutes I find another remnant RR grade, now two hours into my "short workout" I find the paved Juniper Lake road...only six miles downhill to a warm shower.
       The hail comes down with a vengeance,  it's looking a lot like Winter...my knickers are white and my helmet vents are filled with ice...without my riding glasses this wouldn't have been possible.  I pull into my neighborhood, the lawns are white and the road is grey with slush...oops, I may be late for work...it's going to take an hour for me to thaw before I jump into the shower. I don't have an hour...I'll have to endure the pain of thawing in the shower and get into my work clothes. There it was, my first offroad adventure as a 67 year old...reminiscent of many other mountain bike excursions over these last 45 years...and I lived to tell about it.