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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Relentless wind

Overnight, a blast of frigid air carried by a relentless and powerful wind brought snow to us and all the animals who have to live outside all the time. A couple of bucks walked across our property in the dead of night while the storm took over our world. I also saw tracks of a bobcat, a doe and fawn, a pair of coyotes, and a fox. It's amazing to imagine those animals enduring all that nature throws at them without houses or fireplaces!
This morning, when I read the outdoor thermometer and heard the house shake with each wind gust, I found myriad ways to procrastinate about going outside. Finally, K convinced me that it was time.
K is now taking no pain medication and is moving as if she feels great. I've been "de-leashing" her for photos but I need to be more careful now. Just after I took the photo shown below, she started to gallop up the trail, plonking her cast on the snowy ground with each bound. Fortunately, I yelled "wait", and she did. No harm done.
Then, on this evening's walk, she tugged relentlessly at the leash. She wanted to go faster, further, off-trail, and, did I mention, FASTER! She's my dog at heart... I can certainly understand how she feels because I've felt exactly the same way after each of my spine surgeries.

As soon as we arrived home, I called to make the big appointment to have her cast taken off for the last time by her surgeon and then to have her first physical therapy appointment immediately afterwards. K started tap-dancing in excitement! The big day is about 10 days from now.

Then, it was the moment of truth - would I be tough enough to go out in the 70 mph winds and 20°F temperatures for a mountain bike ride? My motivation always is that riding my bike makes my back feel better. Since my spine felt creaky, I headed out with the black Labradude.
For those of you new to this blog, biking is my pain reduction plan for my back. Consequently, I ride all year long. It's a very rare day when the weather keeps me inside on my indoor bike trainer. Soon, I'll put studded tires (360 studs per tire) on one bike to make it my ice bike. I also have my snow bike ready for deep snow. It has 4" wide tires and is the style of bike used by mountain bikers who race the Itidarod Trail every winter.

This morning, with less than an inch of fresh snow, I didn't need fancy gear except my extreme cold weather clothing and my orange. R and I headed out, and he spent a lot of time during our ride trying to figure out how to pick up sticks despite his muzzle. He finally succeeded but wasn't too happy about it. He came and stood in front of me to request a stick removal operation!
We visited Hug Hill, where I literally couldn't feel my fingers after 2 minutes. R's ears flapped in the wind so vigorously that I thought that he might take flight and visit friends in Kansas.
It wasn't snowing over top of us but the freight train of wind plummeting down off the Continental Divide blew snowflakes with it. Horizontal snow nearly obscured nearby hills.
After I dropped R at home, I headed east on my bike, with the thought that the wind might be gentler and the air warmer down lower. I was so wrong. The wind whipped a reservoir deep in a ravine up into a froth.
I did find a few quiet oases where the fingers of the wind currents hadn't reached. I didn't initially see the deer lying in the aspen grove below. I had stopped to enjoy a break from the wind that was ripping every ounce of my energy out of my body. Then, the deer moved, and I spotted him. I think that he was enjoying the oasis as well.
Shortly beyond the quiet aspen grove, I emerged onto an open slope leading to the spine of a ridge. The wind blew so hard that I repeatedly had to put a foot on the ground to avoid being blown over. Then, it happened. As I climbed up a steep hill, the wind grabbed my front wheel and twisted it hard to the left. I managed to stay upright as the wind whipped me through a 180 degree turn. Before I knew it, I was flying downhill at mach speed! Now, that's a powerful wind gust.

I made it home in one piece, without falling, but completely depleted of energy by the wind. I hope that the wind's fury burns itself out tonight. For now, I'm sitting next to a roaring fire, still trying to warm my toes.


  1. And at 9:34pm, it is 70 degrees here -

    Something is wrong with these pictures!

    Hope it doesn't get to brutal too quickly in your world!

  2. Wow, I can imagine how fighting that kind of wind on a mtb would be exhausting. We had Santa Ana's whip through yesterday, turning my afternoon outings into a dodge the falling palm frawns extravaganza.

    R gets the goofball award again! I didn't get to comment yesterday but wanted to say how much R looks like a super hero in his orange cape/ black mask costume =)

    Hope your back feels better after your work on the bike.

  3. We had the wind here today too, but it was not cold at all, very nice temps in the 60s. Oh how these pups here would love for R and K to head to Kansas:)

    We think we might be almost as excited as you are to see how K does with the cast off. Hoping for the very best results.

  4. You are one hardy soul! I stayed inside most of the day, listening to the gusting wind and watching the white-outs from blowing snow! I love the pics of K and R in this post. R made me laugh with the stick stuck in his muzzle.

  5. Windy here too, but not so cold! You are very brave to go out riding in such cold weather. The warm fire is more my speed.

    Your pal, Pip

  6. If we were having 70 mph winds I would know that would be my signal to stay in and ride the stationery bike!


    Its rainy and drizzly here, my friend Mary from Bismarck says we are going to get high winds, another friend from Missouri says the same, so if it hits tomorrow,it should be good!

    I must tell you, I loved reading about Sweet Chloe!

    Cheers and hugs,


  7. We've had wicked winds here, too, but not as bad as yours! Ours were only about 60 mph. I don't want to think about more! You are, obviously, a MUCH heartier soul than I!

  8. I am shivering just reading this!

    We had a lot of wind here today, but nothing like what you described.

  9. Even though your words are describing the rampage of mother nature, your words are calming.
    After a couple days filled with thoughts that make my heart quiver, I have found my way back to your blog.
    Sunday night,, the moon had put a trance on me, and I was sleepless.
    Last night big storms... but not snow like you. Our Cascades were dumped with 40 inches,,, but not here.
    I can feel that wind blowing you.
    I can imagine your cold toes and fingers... and I can also feel the frothing at the bit as K wants to go faster and faster.
    K and R are sooo magestic!
    Oh my gosh,,, the oases!!!!
    I have never heard of the kind of bikes you have. Studs? Geeze.
    My bike is just a moutain bike,,, nothing special. It does not go in the snow,,, well, maybe its me who does not.
    We also are anticipating the removal of K's cast. We have our paws crossed.
    Thank you as always fos sharing

  10. Oh it looks cold outside. Love the pictures. Good job R that takes talent to hold a stick while wearing a muzzle. And no more pain meds for K, YippEEE
    Benny & Lily

  11. We too are having the brutal winds here and they are suppose to get worse tommorrow. I think it is awesome that riding your bike helps you with your back pain. And I'm glad you were OK when the wind whipped you around. :)

    Walking is my thing and in any kind of weather. I know the feeling of wanting to move.

    Great pictures. There is nothing like nature for healing.

  12. WOW!! What beautiful pictures and what a WIND! We had tornado force winds last night too, but fortunately we were inside.

    Lilly, Piper, Carrleigh and Ruairi

  13. I know the anticipation you are feeling in having K's cast removed. We once had a puppy that had a broken leg and had 3 surgeries to try and save his front leg--We thought at one point he was going to lose it, but luck was on his side and he didn't. Today he's 8 years old and walks a little funny and runs like the wind! I'll hope the same for K, and that the wind settles down in your time-zone! Enjoy your day!

  14. Strange. Both the Alps and the Pyrennees have been blanketed in snow over the last couple of days. They seem to be mirroring the weather on your blog.
    Here its still a balmy 70 but not for much longer. Guess the cold ground is good for paws ?

  15. You are so much tougher than I am. This wind has kept us indoors for days now. Winter is indeed upon us. Brrr....

    So glad to hear K is feeling so much better and can start rehab soon.

  16. Like Khyra's mom said, it is 70degrees here! It was so hot last night.
    I bet K cannot wait to have the cast off.
    That picture of R with the stick is really funny! Well funny for us but probably not so for R.
    I do have a question, why the orange vest? Is it because it's hunting season or do you wear it all year round when you are out in the wilderness?

  17. 9 days until "cast freedom!" Yay!! I can't wait to see the seasons, as captured by your camera lenses! What an amazing corner of the world in which you live!

  18. Oh R! I too would be stickie snoofin' and probably having a bit of a tough time wearing the muzzle. We do have lots of mushrooms popping up, and mom walks the (small) backyard every morning when we go out..and is very watchful wherever we go. Sounded like some outrageous winds!

    Hugs and snaggle-tooth kisses,
    Sierra Rose

  19. Yikes, how scary KB! Don't like thinking of you careening downhill over rocks at mach - truly hope you are okay. On the other hand, it's SUCH great news about K getting off her cast! Wonderful wonderful! And LOVE pic of R with stick in muzzle/mouth - however does he figure these things out?
    Lovely photo of buck and deer in last pic! Thanks for sharing all the news! Rest!
    Sammie, Avalon adn Mom

  20. I'm glad you weren't hurt. The wind can be very scary.

  21. I live in the southern part of Denver and think of you every night when I watch the weather! I love to ride my bike as well, and it also helps my back. I've ridden in some rough weather, but nothing quite like you describe. I'm just a lowlander - not nearly as hardy as you mountain types! I love to start my day with the Thundering Herd and look forward to your words and pix when I get home from work.

  22. Hi YD,

    The orange vest is for hunting season. It's rifle season for deer and elk right now, and we play on national forest trails where people are allowed to hunt (but very rarely do). So, I wear orange and the dogs wear orange. We hope that it works like a bullet shield!

    Thanks for visiting!

  23. Stick removal cracked me up. Me thinks R and Rusty have another issue in common.

  24. I can s relate to you. I'm 10 weeks past major back surgery. Much of my life has been spent riding and showing my horse(s). Somehow, I hope riding again will be my own personal physical therapy. Thank you for this wonderful blog...

  25. There's a feeling of survivorship that comes from a day like you had, when you realize the veil of security is thin.

  26. Some of us would LOVE this weather. We get very energetic when the temps dip below 70 here :) A cool snap really gets us going, so we understand. Others of us just want to hide under the covers.
    We're so happy to hear how well K is doing! Yay!

    The Road Dogs


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