Riding on snowy and slushy roads is a lot like the Thanksgiving feast. They’re both kind of fun but not really what you’d like to be doing given the amount of time it takes to do it. They’re both reasonably dangerous; removing the bread pudding from the oven without an oven mitt always hurts. As does losing traction and falling onto the same hip and elbow you always fall on. They both smell nice. They both have great but all too short rewards. Seven hours of cooking for 17 minutes of eating. Six of the eight miles of descending covered in slow, scary snowpack. And most importantly, while doing either, whether preparing copious amounts of food for not enough people or riding too-skinny tires through unpredictably slippery frozen water vapor, one never has to think about babbling idiot Sarah Palin calling for us to stand by our allies in North Korea. Whenever she talks I’m reminded of what the character Billy said in Predator: “we’re all gonna die.” (out of all the great lines in Predator that’s the one I chose. Weird, huh?) That whole paragraph flowed like a Zach Galifianakis stand up routine.
On the November Eating Holiday last week we rode Dixie Mountain, you may remember as the third dirt climb in the NW Gentleman’s Race this year. It tops out around 1500 vertical feet, which, apparently, was well above snow line. As we ascended, the road went from nicely packed gravel to nicely packed gravel with patches of slush and ice to several inches of snow with minimal patches of nicely packed gravel to what people in the South believe roads of Canada look like all the time. (Snow covered, in case that made no sense.) Six plus inches of fluffy snow covered the sides of the road. It was much more than usually seen in this area and 100% more than expected.
Some are more adept at riding on uncertain surfaces. Some ride in blissful naivete faster than they would if they were un-naive. Some have proper skills. To my surprise and relief, no one wrecked on the snow sections of the ride. We had 16 riders so the chances were above average.
The pictures (taken by Simon Robbins, owner of the slush filled Zero Gravity brakes) give an idea of how much snow we saw. (For readers in snowy states, this will seem unimpressive, weak and daft. You would think this because, as Arian Brody said in Predators “that’s exactly what I would do.” Much better line choice. Be sure to read it in an obviously-forced gruff and scratchy voice.) They were taken at the top of climb at the Dixie Mountain Grange. I’m not sure what a Grange is but it looked like a place that would serve pancakes on weekends and holidays. We asked to gentlemen coming out of the Grange if they had any. Alas, they did not but they did offer some traction chains for our tires.