So, this morning dawned bright and somewhat chilly at -8 (F) -22 (C) and I was feeling that I needed to get out once again and ride. There was an event going on at Hillside Park in Elk River. It was the 5th Annual Cold Bear Challenge which attracts a good number of the local snowbikers along with a lot of hardcore mountain bikers that just can't get enough. Racing started at high noon, along with beer, bonfire, and a good deal of fun.
I ended up choosing a more quiet option and decided to hit the multi-use trail at Elm Creek Park Reserve for a quiet morning ride. Upon arriving the temps were still hovering in the single digits below zero, but with the sun shining and no wind it actually seemed rather nice.
As I was preparing myself another person on a Pugsley showed up at the trailhead. She had already been out for two hours and I could tell she was eager to keep riding. She was riding a newer Pugsley frame with the sloping top tube. I would find out later in the morning that having a good stand over height is a good thing in the winter with a lot of snow. Can you say ouch!
Anyway! Jennifer (I didn't get her last name) was decked out in what appeared to be all brand new, expensive gear. All Eddie Bauer First Ascent outer wear. Along with a pair of spiffy -40 mountaineer overboots from Whittaker Mountaineering and some very cool Dogwood Design Pogies. Man, those things looked very warm. Our conversation turned to the Arrowhead 135 and as it turns out, she is entered in. Having never done a bike race, she said that she was a bit nervous, but was looking forward to the challenge. We made small talk for a couple more minutes, but I wanted to finish getting my bike ready and she wanted to be on her way.
I had a wonderful three hours on the bike and was feeling good despite being sick for the past three weeks and the fact that I still have a nasty cough. I found the multi-use trail fun as I could see xc skiers and skijorners. The fact that we could all share the same trail was nice and nobody seemed concerned about having a fat tire bike on the trail. As a matter of fact I was greeted mostly with smiles and questions about the bike. I now know where I'll be spending a couple of evenings each week, because I know that after dark I'll have the trails mostly to myself.
Anyway, as I'm putting the Pugsley on the roof rack I hear someone holler good-bye and turn to see Jennifer doing yet another lap. Here I was feeling pretty good about my measly three hours and she was just getting into her sixth hour on the bike. In my mind it made my three hours seem pretty damn insignificant, then again, I'm not training for anything. I wish Jennifer well in her Arrowhead 135 pursuit and hope to run into her on the trails once again.