The sun broke, the temperature was nice, the timing will work. Yep I went outside to ride my bike today. My original plan to ski was shut down, All the rain and then the freeze was going to make for some questionable conditions and hard to setup grip wax for. All the more reason to spin the wheels.
Opted to take the single speed because that same said ice conditions were on the in town roads and the 29er is the next best thing to studded tires. I'm finding that a 32-16 on the 29er is a perfect winter road riding gear ratio for endurance. Headed out on the service road towards Port Severn. I'd predetermined that I would try to ride fairly close to home and just venture down random roads to see where they go. I had no idea what I was in for.
The first 40 minutes of the ride were pretty sane, clear roads, snow/ice covered gravel roads etc. Nothing to spectacular. As I made my way down one random road which continued to get narrower the farther I got, it eventually turned into forced winter single track. You know the stuff, frozen car wheel trenches that you make sure you pick the right line or your pretty much screwed.
Eventually made my way to the first destination, Gloucester Pool is part of the Trent Severn water way which links up with my favorite ride, the Big Chute Loop. Not much in the line of boat traffic right now. I did get waved to by a snowmobiler though.
It's going to be a while before the ice is safe also, at least in this section. Being a dead end I didn't have much choice on the return trip. Pedalling along a thought popped into my head and a vision into my eyes. The snowmobiler, the snow mobile trial is just ahead. It could be better than the road or it could turn very bad. Of course I was not thinking about the bad side of things.
A few tips to snowmobile trail riding. Ride in the center of the the track not out where the skis were. packs the snow better. Look for the dirt spots, lots of grip. When riding in temperatures around the freezing mark stick to trails which are shaded. Open field sections soften up to much to ride and you will be pushing your bike instead of riding.
After those tips, lets just say that the ride was good, most of the trail was rideable and the swamp sections were frozen and ride able. Not much on the sled traffic which surprised me. I know where the first trail section I was on would meet up with the road, oh ya that is one more tip. Know where you should come out. After the successful ride of this area with only one hike a bike section I figured I might as well try the next section.
Things continued to stay smooth and I stopped for a quick drink right at the back side of the quarry.
Finished up this sections with no problems. So what is that quote, 3 times a charm or is it 3 strikes your out. Those apply is you some how mix them up in some twisted way. Headed out on the last planned section that heads to Coldwater. I should have know what I was in for when I looked at the start of the trail. Not as many tracks heading in, runs along the edge of the marsh from what I could see and it's in the open. Screw it got to try it.
Things were going questionably down hill as I pedalled along but then the hike a bike over puddle sections became more and more common. It was only a few inches deep but I was pretty much riding on frozen bulrushes. I few times my feet dropped down lower and lower into the snow. I should have got the hint but I kept trudging along. Then I hit this.
And my face gave the look of this!!!
No this picture was not taken in the same place on the ride but the expression was much more fitting now than earlier. I did start to attempt this section, until my foot went deep enough that I felt some water seep in. That's it turn around. I pretty much hammered this section as quick as possible. Now with a slightly wet foot which would turn into a slightly frozen shoes to a frozen foot, meant no screwing around. I was still minimum 30 minutes from home.
I was almost surprised that I wasn't all that far from the road, it felt much longer heading into the swamp. Hit the road and pretty much hammered as fast as a 32/16 would let me. Control of the zone was pretty much out of my mind at this point, frozen foot pain was what I was trying to avoid. I did stay aerobic though, can't spin my legs that fast to break that zone. Rolled through Coldwater and out on to highway 12 turning right. No Vasey line climb for me now.
20 minutes later I was turning back into Waubuahshene. My foot was just starting to feel a little unhappy. Surprisingly enough my time on the bike was exactly what Heather had me scheduled to do. The tear off of the footwear did not take long. I rubbed the curve on something going bad very quickly but it was a great adventure and beat riding the rollers anytime.
Now to top off the ride no more than 10 minutes later I was walking out of the living room with bike gear in hand and I ended up catching one of the Molly Monster's rawhide chews with my left foot. Ok, more specific with my left middle toe. It was in that perfect position that it caught the door jam and didn't move. I'm not a doctor but I'm feeling wonderful things this morning. Pretty sure I broke a bone in my toe.
I've done the icing twice and that wonderful thing of polysporin with pain killer is helping. After the first icing as I removed the pack I squeezed the toe. Ya I'm the type of guy that would pour salt in his own would just to check it out. Actually it wasn't hurting to bad but I did feel a little pop of a bone. Advil may come out also. Not much you can do about it. I'm able to walk with little irritation so hopefully that means I'll be skiing in a day or so. I don't think riding will be a problem. Why are dogs so good at pulling out all their toys but totally suck at putting things away when they are done?
Does coffee have magical healing powers???