So often we mountain bikers fight against winter: we flee to the desert or to the South to ride our bikes, we complain about the snow and the rain, and we grumble and refuse to do anything when we can’t ride our beloved singletrack.
However, I think that most of the time, it’s foolish to rail against the weather and wish that we were in a different season. This is a general lesson I’ve been learning: longing after something that I just can’t have is a sure-fire way to create a spirit of discontentment and dissatisfaction, which is no way beneficial.
Rather, in order to live a happy, contented life, I’ve been learning to accept, and even embrace, what life throws at me, and that includes the curve balls from mother nature. This lesson applied directly last weekend when Salida got pounded with snow, rain, and cold weather. After a month of having dry singletrack out my back door, only to be denied it right at the beginning of the 30 Days of Biking challenge, this was the perfect time to learn to embrace winter, even during the month of April.
In the spirit of working with winter instead of against it, I decided to get up to Monarch Ski Area for a half-day of skiing.
I was after some of the delicious powder that had fallen on Wednesday and Thursday, so I spent the morning doing hike laps up Mirkwood with a friend.
Knee-deep powder on the 5th of April? I can roll with that!
Of course, I had to get a ride in, despite the gloomy weather that was rolling into the valley that afternoon.
Since the trail conditions were still a bit iffy, I decided to try to squeeze in a quick road ride before the rain hit. This would only be my second legit road ride in Colorado ever! When I lived in Georgia, I found road riding to be the perfect way to embrace the wet, cold winters. While maybe you don’t like riding in the rain or in the cold, but there’s nothing holding you back from pedaling wet pavement besides your dissatisfaction with the weather.
Rolling towards the mountains as the clouds close in.
Quiet country roads.
Mountain peaks hidden in the clouds.
Unfortunately, I didn’t make it home before the weather hit, so I got stuck finishing the last five or so miles of my ride in freezing-cold rain, which turned to snow. All a part of the challenge!
For day 6, I turned my tires toward Cottonwood Pass Road in Buena Vista. Since the in-town singletrack could still be too damp, I decided to embrace the snow and pedal on up on my review fat bike!
Yay fat biking!
Two inches of snow had fallen the night before, and while the snowmobiles had packed things in a bit, it didn’t look as if the groomer had been out. Consequently, going was very difficult. The snow was slushy lower down, packed part way up, and still pretty fine and loose up high. Despite the snowmobiles helping pack things in, the going was still incredibly slow: I was doing about a 3 mph uphill average.
While the riding was slow, the incredible views more than made up for it!
Unfortunately, the snow got so fine and soft up high that I couldn’t pedal any longer. I topped out at about 11,200 feet, about a thousand vertical feet shy of the top of the pass. Still, all in all, it was a beautiful, snowy ride in the mountains!
I encourage you all to embrace what mother nature sends your way!