Thursday, October 6, 2011
The fury of the mountains - a close call
It was a warm Indian Summer morning. During our mountain bike ride, K and I stopped and relaxed in the sunshine. Or, I should really say, that I relaxed in the sunshine. K seemed convinced that something very dangerous lurked behind some pine trees and fixed her stare on it.
Soon, I felt my mind starting to lose it from being so cold. My brain was swirling in circles as if I had low blood sugar, but I knew that I had plenty of sugar in my system. So, I started talking out loud to myself, growling out jumbles of words like "go girl, you can do it, you can make it home". I yelled some unmentionable words when my fingers started hurting so badly from the cold that I could barely brake. I must have appeared to be a lunatic to anyone who heard me.
I made it home, just barely. My first challenge was opening the door. I couldn't feel my hands to work the key - but, by dumb luck, I eventually (after about 5 minutes of fruitless tries and a temper tantrum) got the door open. By then, I felt like I was on the verge of collapse. I couldn't manipulate my fingers to take off my shoes, helmet or backpack. So, with all those dripping wet outdoor accouterments still on me, I curled up with K on her dog bed, trying to borrow as much body heat as I could. After a little while, her body heat started to work its wonders, and, as soon as I was capable, I dragged myself into the shower and sat in its steaming hot stream.
It was one of my scariest bike rides ever. I've lived in the mountains for a long time, and I should know by now that winter can arrive at any instant in September or October. Instead, I was stupid, stupid, stupid, and I brought no warm clothing. The thermometer read 38 degrees when I arrived home in the rain and snow mix, and I was dressed for the summery sunshine and 50 degrees that had greeted me this morning.
I took this one photo when it started to snow but I wasn't too cold yet. After that, I had far more serious things to worry about. I honestly questioned if I would make it home at various times during my frantic pedaling in the winter weather.