Like a good doctor, my first thought was to do a quick body and bike survey:
- No feeling in my fingers – despite wearing two pairs of my finest summer riding gloves. Nothing.
- Feet were wet stumps – sloshing around a slurpee of nature’s finest snow and Arbutus debris. Less than average.
- Helmet was stuffed full of the white stuff – a small ‘off trail’ experience and associated bike-less tumble. Cold.
- Bike lights: All on ‘RED’ or simply dead. Nothing left.
Yet, here were four fine fellows and I dancing around, smiling and hollering at the moon like a bunch of monkeys on the side of the road at 9:30pm on a weeknight in the middle of winter. Passerbys drove by very slowly, consoled that they had a locked door between their warm cars and those…. those….. those… weird people out there in the snow.
3 hours earlier, we were all in our warm cosy cars. Looking out the snow lined road and looking up at the snow bank to climb into the trails. Not very appealing or inviting. Lined up down the side of the road all waiting for the someone to climb out and take their bike off the rack. Or not climb out – maybe heading to the pub was a better idea?
Then, Marcus climbed out and unloaded his bike. Dammit. Ok…. Deep breath. Here we go…
After the initial shock of getting outside and learning about the amazing tire traction in the new snow, the next 3 hours might have been the best bike ride of the year. Ok, climbing was tougher than expected. And my cleats may not have been designed with snow in mind. BUT, the ride was awesome.
Our initial quick loop of trails slowly expanded with the crew wanting to add more and more to the ride. We finally found ourselves outside the main riding area and up on top of the mountain. Full moon, no tracks and nothing but descending left. With hoots and whoops, we all scrambled to be the first to descend. With the snow, it was difficult to follow the trail, thus opening the floodgate for each rider to determine fastest line between point A and B. The snow hid larger obstacles, but smoothed out smaller ones. Open areas of trail were greeted with fresh yells from all and another choose your own adventure line picking sojourn – imagine 5 guys racing downhill, each on their own parallel line. The tricky part came when 5 riders were all pointing at the same gap between the trees… hence my ‘off trail and bike-less adventure’.
Finally hitting the road 3 hours later, we were soaked to the bone with a mixture of sweat and snow melt, yet smiling as wide as possible. Everyone had crashed somewhere, everyone had an epic story to tell about their lines (generally at full voice volume) and everyone was stoked we had climbed out of the cars.
Sometimes the best rides are the most unexpected ones. The rides you didn’t really want to go on, but you knew you needed the exercise. If we had been ‘smarter’, we would have gone to the pub. If we had ‘listened to everyone else’, we wouldn’t be freezing cold. If my friends were more ‘intelligent’, we would have got a good nights sleep before work the next day.
However, they are not any of these things and I am grateful.
- The best riding buddies are those whom are keen to ride bikes – no matter the weather.
- Don’t stop riding because it is a little wet/snowy/cold outside – it is just another epic adventure to be had!