Saturday, December 23, 2006

Cabin Trail Freeze Ride

Today as I headed out the door to go for a ride and build at The Woodlot I knew that the weather was going to a little cold and wet so I dressed appropriately for the weather. It was raining on the way to the parking area but rain soon turned into snow. At the parking area there was about an inch of snow when I started my climb up the hill on my Heckler. Once again I was getting fresh tracks in the white fluffy stuff.

The plan for today was to go all the way up to Cabin Trail then down to Snakes and Ladders, meet Tim and his wife Joanne on Snakes to build for a while then ride out down Shotgun. So up the hill I went with the snow falling a not a soul in sight. I had the fresh pow to myself. The further I went up, the deeper the snow on the trail got and the more I realized that my shoes and shorts weren't quite the lower body attire I wished I was wearing today.

The picture below is taken a little ways from the power lines looking up through the green tunnel created by the canopy of Spruce and Cedar.

A shot of the climb at The Woodlot.

So once at the power-lines I could tell that there was a rather significant amount of snow on the ground considering how little there was lower on the hill. I'd say 7" of snow at the power-lines and I was heading even higher.

I was able to pedal part of the way to Cabin trail but that soon came to a halt once I encountered the fallen trees across the skidder. There were at least a dozen trees down and in several spots you have to venture into the forest to get around them. At one point I considered turning around because the snow was getting so deep. By the time I was at the trail head I was in at least 14" of snow. Fortunately the trail only had a couple inches that had fallen through the canopy so the ride was wicked fun. In fact I would say that this is the best condition I have ever seen Cabin Trail in during a winter season. Someone had been up the trail and cleared ALL of the fallen trees on the trail. There wasn't a single thing that needed to be cleared. The trail simply flowed and I had an absolute hoot.

However the trail didn't completely escape unscathed from the recent wind and snow storms. The last and largest bridge on the trail took a direct hit from several trees. It was completely broken in two pieces and will need to be completely rebuilt.

The bridge that didn't survive the storm.

After Cabin trail I headed down to Snakes and Ladders. Along the way there was only one spot that had not been cleared which was a pair of completely up rooted trees that I think we will put an A-Frame over in the near future.

On Snakes and Ladders I ripped down the trail with glee to the rock face section that Tim and Joanne were working on. In the past I have had many people roll up on me while working and I know how it can literally scare the crap out of you. So as I approached I yelled out, but it was too late, I scared the crap out of both of them as they were nailing some rung on our new bridge section on Snakes. By this time I was cold and wet and not SUPER eager to build. But I went to work nailing rung while Tim cut stringers and bucked up a log for rung. Then the saw jammed, I ran out of rung and we all decided it was time to simply stop building.

I was now starting to get uncomfortably cold as it was now 11:30 and I had been in the elements for 3 1/2 hours wet to the bone. Tim and Joanne packed up the tools and went for a hike and I rode down to my car staying off the brakes because my hands were now too cold to feel my brake levers. Shotgun was brutal for me at this point because of my numb hands. I stopped several times to try and get feeling in my fingers and fortunately I made it out in good time to my car unscathed. I then quickly started my car, turned the heat on full blast and loaded my bike. As I was loading my car up I informed a few younger guys of the conditions up the hill (snow) and warned them to dress appropriately as they were in jeans and cotton hoodies. I guess you have to learn the hard way right?

Over all a good ride, but I think I am going to invest in some warmer winter weather riding gear.

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