Today is the first day of winter, 2008. When I got up it was 6 below zero out, with some light wind to chill things off a bit more. There is now 4” of snow on the flats, and today we are going to get somewhere in the range of 12” more snow. Sunday morning at 9:30 is usually the time when I head on over to Rockland to park just outside of the Bog where I join the Bubbas on one of their now famous thrice weekly mountain bike rides.
Last Sunday It was 14 degrees out when we started, and despite the ridiculous temperatures, ample ice flows and occasional stream crossings, we mustered 10 guys who rammed around in the woods for some three hours, traversing 9 miles of mogul -infested, mostly single track before all we rolled back into the parking lot to swap tales and socialize before heading home to set up to watch the New England Patriots bash their own way up the list of winners.
I did pretty well out there last week, with only three, relatively minor crashes to my credit. These rides are tough, it is such a workout for me. I have taking part in two to three times a week Spinning Classes at the YMCA. I am the only participant who leaves a pool of sweat on the mat beneath the bike. But the Spin Classes are barely adequate preparation for real mountain biking on real trails on real new England single track. The upper body and midsection is always engaged and adjusting to what’s ahead and underneath us. I am still feeling the effects of the last one, when I catapulted over the handlebars and landed on my left side, extending my palm out to cushion my fall. I felt my thumb dislocate at the lower joint, but instinctively pushed on it and I felt it click back into place. I was able to ride back to the car no problem, but the next morning my aching hand was blown up like a balloon. I decided to wait a couple of days, and see if I had to rule out a break, but the swelling went down and it is close to normal now.
What was particularly amazing about the ride last Sunday, in addition to the double digit number of guys that were out on such a cold day, was the the fact that no one had any mechanical failures. For the abuse the bikes take, some of them with 200 plus pounders on the seats, it is no less than a miracle of engineering.
Here are a couple of shots:
I was riding in back of Neal when he was trying to pedal around a ice covered pool of black water. His bike skidded sideways as he was passing by it and things went South from there. Neil ended up first falling onto a log that had been suspended above the pool, then slid off the log and ended up breaking through the ice, where his feet were still engaged in the pedals. Then he struggled, half submerged in icy water with chunks of ice all over the place. I managed to help him get his feet out of the clips, then hauled the bike away and Neil slowly got up, real slowly got up. Neal has taken some serious hits in the past two years, and when you are close to 60, it takes more time to heal up. I know that deal.