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Sunday, January 4, 2009

Rime ice and fast trails

What an awe-inspiring beautiful day!

Last night, the weather suddenly changed, becoming humid and cold. As it was changing, a group of coyotes gathered outside our house and serenaded us. This morning, the trees glowed with rime ice. It was especially beautiful on the delicate leafless branches of aspen trees.
It was 1 degree when I started riding and 8 degrees when I finished. Long rides in the deep cold are new for me. Last year, I declared that riding when the temperature was below 20 degrees was impossible for me. Then, I started reading blogs by mountain bikers in Alaska, and I realized that I was a wimp. Today, much to my surprise, I managed to stay warm. My new pogies, a recent gift from my husband, played a key role in keeping my hands warm. I used windproof fleece mittens inside the pogies with chemical handwarmers. I also used Hotronics heated insoles in my shoes plus chemical toe warmers on the roof of the toe of each Lake winter shoe. I have a bad case of Raynaud's syndrome so usually my fingers and toes get cold first but they never were cold today!

The one thing that I haven't figured out is how to use a camelback in this weather. I blew back into the hose to clear it after filling it but the hose was frozen when I first tried to drink after 20 minutes on the trails. Then, I tried tucking the hose into the compartment with the bladder and the hose thawed. However, I hate having to stop to drink so I didn't drink enough today. I need to work on this problem.

The trails had a 1-2" layer of new snow on them but they were hard packed and easy riding. My labrador, K, and I romped around the trails together first thing this morning. K and I have many special times on the trails together because we both love it.

The snow literally squeaked under my tires. I feel like I've discovered a whole new sport -- mountain biking in the snow. It's amazing and beautiful!

By the end of my ride, the sun was beaming through the icy branches.

One of the things that I love about biking is that each ride feels like a journey. I travel beautiful places on my bike and my mind wanders far and wide. I feel so lucky to live in paradise. The world looks and feels different when I get home than it did when I departed.

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