Sunday, October 18, 2009

Autumn Rain, Snow, & Mud

This past Saturday I found myself in northern Minnesota riding the forest roads north of my hometown of Chisholm. The day turned out to be cool and gray. Much different from the sunshine that was forecast. The temperature when I started my ride was 40 F and it never would go over 42 F.
The temperatures were cool, but the riding was phenomenal despite the wet mud and the number hunters scouring the woods in search of the elusive ruffed grouse. The forest roads were quite wet from the rain and snow showers that have been occurring regularly the past couple of weeks.
The precipitation along with the heavy hunting traffic had turned many of the area roads into a wet greasy mess. I didn't have to venture far before realizing that both me and my bike would definitely acquire a nice coating of mud when this was all done.The duct tape on my shoes is there to keep the cold air out. I also have a tendency to start using toe warmers around this time of the year. Booties would have been preferred, but I left them at home and it turned out that the duct tape along with the toe warmers worked wonders.The autumn colors were least the ones that were still clinging to the trees. Many of the leaves have already fallen due to stress, and early cold temperatures along with a couple of early snow falls.
I think many of those on the roads were somewhat surprised to see someone out on their bike cruising the back roads. It is definitely not a common sight at this time of year or anytime for that matter. Cycling is just not really popular in this neck of the woods. Most people prefer their ATV's to get around in the woods. I got some peculiar looks, a lot of waves, and was offered a cold beer by a couple of young hunters who had stopped to chat.
I declined the beer as I was already somewhat upset by the number of beer cans and 12, 15, 24 pack boxes I had seen littering the sides of the roads. Not only does hunting season bring the hunters, but also some very moronic behavior. When they asked me why I was out riding in the cold and mud I replied..."I just wanted to enjoy the day and couldn't think of any better way to do it." They looked at each other and back to me smiling and wished me a good ride.
Once again they offered me a beer to stick in my pack for when the ride was done, but for a second time I declined and was wondering how many of those Michelob Golden Draft Lights I saw littering the roadside belonged to these two chuckle heads. So I continued on listening to the sounds of Organic Groove on iPod. I ended up with 44 miles for the effort which left me feeling pretty good. However, as the day wore on my right side (ribs) became quite uncomfortable. Saturday evening the pain grew worse. I suspect that in my fall this past Monday morning I may have fractured a rib or two. The pain is just not going away like it should.

I did end up having a cold beer or two, but it was in a warm bar with my brothers and a great college football game on the T.V.


Thursday was a rainy wet day here in the Twin Cities. I knew the mountain bike trails would not be in very good shape for riding so I decided to head to the park and do a trail run instead.What I found once I was there was absolutely amazing and once I started running I knew it was going to be a good thing.Elm Creek Park does not disappoint. It doesn't matter what you are doing: hiking, road biking, mtn. biking, trail running, walking, or frizbee golf. EC is always a great place to spend time doing what you love to do.The forest floor was awash with color.

After running a couple of laps on the inner loops my legs along with the pain in my ribs were telling me to stop. So after about 90 minutes I called in a morning. It was definitely a day for Gore-Tex and I must say that I love my new Mountain Hardware tights. I ended with about 10 miles on the day and actually felt quite good. Doing a long run in the rain always brings back memories of my days as a college CC runner. Always happy to be out doing the things I love. Definitely a good day to be alive and kicking.

No comments: