Friday, January 21, 2011

Friendly Friday

I got back on the bike today after a mid-week hiatus. It felt good to ride again. We got a bit of snow and freezing mix overnight but the temp was just above freezing when I set out and the street in front of my house was wet with no snow or ice. So I didn't mount the studded tires 'cause I didn't think I'd need them on wet pavement and I did pack my pannier to ride all the way to work from breakfast. That would be nearly a 60 mile day by the time I got home and help catch up on some miles I've missed this month.

Well as soon as I hit the trail I saw the first patches of snow. I guess the trail heats and cools unevenly based on where the sun hits it mid day. So the cool patches accumulated the crud overnight and the warm patches didn't. The covered spots were a crunchy frozen mix and not too tough to negotiate, less than a 1/2 inch deep.

Dan O caught up to me as I rode and we got the bridge without incident where Earl and Bryan were waiting. We could see more lights coming on East West Blvd. Clint stopped to lift is bike from the road to the trail and we saw him fall almost instantly below the bridge. Dave never rounded the corner to come up to the bridge so we came down to see how they were. Clint was fine. Dave's front derailleur was mangled from his fall, but fortunately Dave was fine. They both slipped on black ice.

After a few minutes Dave had his derailleur twisted back in to a position where he could ride. He couldn't shift but the route home is mostly flat. Dan accompanied him to make sure he would be okay and the rest of us continued to breakfast without incident.

As we headed north after breakfast and climbed the incline on the trail approaching Arnold Rd I slowed considerably, the intersection is at an odd angle and quite blind. Once I determined it was clear I stood up to accelerate and my rear tire spun out, no traction at all. I didn't go down, but missed a good opportunity to fall off of the bike.

It was clear I was riding the wrong tires for the conditions and the forecast called for steadily dropping temps all day. It would be well below freezing, windy and dark for the ride home. The surface could be as bad or worse then we were already seeing. I opted to go back home and drove to work. I'm disappointed in my mileage so far this month and cutting today's plan short means I won't make up any ground today. But I'm confident it was the right call.

Dave reported on Facebook that he made it home just fine without shifting but will need a new derailleur and chain.

Stay safe everyone. Winter riding presents spectacular clear views and a great sense of satisfaction when you can get a good workout despite the elements. Today we got a gentle reminder that we must respect the cold even while we're out enjoying it.

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