Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Difficult Ride On Treacherous Ice...

Yesterday's ride was a true test of perseverance in difficult conditions. I guess you could say good for developing mental toughness.

I was having difficulty getting motivated to ride yesterday, that is until the snow started falling. Once this occurred it didn't take me long to get out the door. My plan was to circumnavigate Eagle Lake by riding on the lake and following the shore line all the way around. Mileage wise it's no big deal, but riding on a frozen lake can often present challenges you don't encounter when riding on the roads and trails.

Since our thaw last week, ice has become a major issue for cyclists and runners alike. Now with the fresh snow things will be even more challenging because much of the ice is covered and can't be seen. Especially if you're out after dark or before sunrise.

I knew conditions on the lake would less than ideal, but hey, that's what I find fun about winter riding. However, to my dismay conditions were far worse than I could have imagined and without the studded tires I doubt that I would have made it ten feet onto the open lake before falling.

During the thaw snow mobile and ATV enthusiasts apparently had themselves a field day in the slush. However, once the temps dropped back to below freezing the entire surface of the lake became a maze of frozen ruts that criss crossed each from one shoreline to the other. This of course made for some interesting riding. It took me nearly an hour to completely ride around the lake which is no more than several miles. Average speed approximately 4 mph. Now you would think that this would have been pretty easy given the snails pace, but in actuality it was quite a difficult ride both mentally and physically. Every ounce of energy went into staying focused, choosing good lines (which were nonexistent), and keeping the bike upright. The studded tires were tremendous. By the time I had completed my short journey around the lake I was literally soaked with sweat. Which of course made the rest of the ride somewhat chilly.

Once I exited the lake via the public access the rest of the ride seemed pretty easy. All in all it was a fun day, but I'm disappointed that the lake will now be in this condition until the spring thaw. Also, because of all the ice my challenge to not run inside all winter may have come to an end. I'm generally running in the dark during winter months and right now the patina of ice that exists on the streets and trails may keep me inside on the track for a few runs. Unless of course I find some studs for my running shoes. Hmmmm! I'll have to start looking ASAP! Good thing REI is only a short distance from the home.

Happy New Year!!!


Doug said...

Looks like tough conditions. Not even a Pugsley can smooth out that ice.

Vito said...

It was not very good for riding, but it's still fun getting out.

WheelDancer said...

I've been out a couple times since the rain/re-freeze and agree that this is some of the toughest riding there is. Battling invisible ice ruts sucks but at the end of the ride there's a feeling of accomplishment. Oh and also the exhaustion of a great workout.

Happy New Year!

Jeff Moser said...

I crashed twice in the ice a couple weeks ago, but my studded tires finally arrived! Just in time for a strange stretch of 50 degree weather... I'm hoping I get to try them this year!