Monday, January 16, 2012

In Search of Winter...

I left the Twin Cities and this brown dull winter to head in a northerly direction. Why? To search for that thing that I am missing...WINTER!! Snow has been very spotty in most of the state. XC ski races are being canceled, snowmobiling put on hold, businesses that depend on winter suffering, The John Beargrease sled dog race canceled, it's absurd!! However, I think I found the sweet spot and I didn't have to travel very far.

Between Saturday and Sunday I logged a solid 10.5 hours of wonderfully blissful winter riding. During that time I saw only two people on sleds (snowmobiles), no vehicles, and no other bikers (ha!). What I found was profound beauty, silence, and a good mind & soul cleansing experience. So, for those of you missing it, here is a little taste of winter. I do have to apologize up front for all the images.

Saturday's Ride:

I had been taking a lot of photos and my camera battery was dying, so I was trying to keep it warm be slipping inside my right hand glove. Somehow I lost it after taking this photo and I didn't notice until about 2 miles later. I'm not quite sure how that happened, but I did turn back and somehow was fortunate enough to find it in the snow. Lesson learned!!

The only motor on the trail this day was me. Fueled by lotsa pasta:)

I returned to the trailhead parking lot in time to get back in town to join my siblings in take my parents out for their birthday dinner at Valentini's. My mother turned 89 on January 6th and my father is 88 tomorrow. My family is so blessed to still have them both with us.

Sunday's Ride:

"Making Tracks"

There were plenty of wolf tracks and others to follow. I often times felt as if I was an intruder or interloper.

"Off the Beaten Path"

I would have preferred some Italian bread with prosciutto or boar salami and provolone, but I was in hurry when I left my folks house:)

With 20 mph winds I was happy to have my down sweater for additional warmth when I stopped for a break.

Perfect ending to a perfect day:)

I am very happy content right now. Getting up north and having the opportunity to ride through the northern forests is always a special treat. It provides me with what I love, the openness and the freedom to ride wherever one wants. There are so many miles of forest roads and little fire trails in the Superior National Forest that the opportunities and possibilities are limitless. Having wonderful single track to ride is awesome, but for me this is what winter riding on a "Fatbike" is all about. The other three seasons bring even more opportunities to get out and explore. It's going to be odd, and frankly, somewhat boring to go back to the park which is so limiting compared to what awaits a cyclist up north. Going north is worth every single penny spent on gas and I wouldn't give it up for anything. In the meantime, I will enjoy and appreciate what we have available to us and wait in anticipation for my next trip north.

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