No matter how much I love my job (and most days I really, really do, especially this year), I’m really never quite ready to go back after a weekend or a holiday break, even a break as fun-filled as the one I enjoyed over Christmas. I was, however, ready for my sweet child to go back to school…his school started back on Jan. 2, while my first day was the 6th. Instead, we got 4″ of snow, enough for Jacob’s district to close the schools that Thursday and shoot down my snow biking plans. Grr.
The following day, however, roads were clear, the schools were open, and I happily headed to Lost Valley to get that snowy ride in after all. The temperature had started in the low single digits but was in the mid-20’s by the time we met up, perfect riding conditions! There were a couple of tire tracks on the Hamburg Trail, where we quickly learned it was easier to ride in fresh snow than in someone else’s line, but we were the first bikes on the snow-covered singletrack.
|Selfie with Chuck crossing the icy creek in the background|
As excited as I was to ride in the snow, I quickly remembered it was hard work. It takes me even longer to warm up mentally than physically, and the snow added to the head games I always have to work through before I feel comfortable riding. Trouble with hills, trouble clipping in with my snow-crusted cleats, trouble with off-camber sections in addition to my usual timidity…it was “fun”.
|Looking back at our tire tracks on one of the doubletrack sections|
Actually, it was fun, mostly…during the times I wasn’t having mini-tantrums and wondering how long it would take me to hike back out after I threw my bike downhill. The day was absolutely beautiful, the company was great, and we had the trails all to ourselves. Pretty cool.
|Chuck working on his ice beard|
Luckily Chuck is super patient (a result of a few years of riding with and waiting for me) and enjoyed lots of rest breaks while I muddled through. Like I said, it was fun, but I was exhausted by the end and most definitely NOT up for a repeat the next day as we’d initially planned. Instead, he, Lori, and I hit the trails at Bangert Island.
Bangert had the same amount of snow, though a few more tracks to help us make our way a bit more easily. The terrain is much more gentle, too. I had 100% more fun than at the Lost Valley and got some good lessons on skidding, traction, and momentum.
|Chuck and Lori by the river|
We rode a couple of laps and then headed back towards the parking lot. Chuck saw a tree across a creek and thought that would make a good picture, so Lori and I obliged him (well, Lori agreed to, and then I went too bc you know I can’t stand to miss out). I’ll admit…he was right.
|Lori and me|
That little 4″ snowfall we got was only the tip of the iceberg. Back-to-school-eve (otherwise known as Sunday) brought temperatures in the negatives and about a foot of snow. No school for us on Monday. Instead, Jeff and I shoveled the driveway.
|Jeff and Jacob|
…and the boys played football…
|This boy LOVES to play catch|
As the temperature dropped over Monday (I think Tuesday’s high was -1) the schools quickly called off again. Unfortunately, it was really too cold to do much playing outside for the next couple of days, so we hibernated inside and relaxed together. Can’t complain at all about that.
|This is the most “playing in the snow” we did for the first half of the week.|
By Thursday, the temperature had risen into the teens and twenties, but roads and parking lots were still a mess. No school, and Jacob and I finally got to go sledding.
|He’s heading up the hill.|
The older boys weren’t able to join us, which is a shame because we had a blast. There were only two cars in the parking lot when we arrived, and at most there were about 10 other people by the time we left. So much fun, and thanks to me being just a little heavier than he is, I destroyed him in every single race downhill.
|He’s not enjoying himself at all.|
And then I dropped him off at my mom’s and went back to Bangert Island, which was a very different experience in a foot of snow. It was perhaps not the brightest idea to go ride, but Mickey wanted to try out his new mountain bike and I’m not smart enough to say no thanks. I fell twice on the flat Katy Trail in less than a mile. I fell more on the singletrack.
|This isn’t me, but it’s an accurate representation of what I did. A lot.|
I pushed my bike a LOT. I tried (and failed) to get going a LOT. It was frustrating but funny, so I laughed a lot. I did get a good reminder of how much more effective it is to “look where you want to go” rather than right in front of you. That strategy might have given me a few extra feet of ride time before I was back to pushing. And, you know, falling.
|This is my bike. And my snow angel.|
The snow didn’t stop my more ambitious riding buddy from tackling the little bridge off the trail. Well, attempting to tackle it.
|You can see where this is headed. I think this is considered a “controlled fall” by the fall-er|
We rode 5.5 miles in two hours. TWO HOURS. I could’ve walked it faster, even in the snow. But it was a lot of fun…and when I got back to my car I found out I had ANOTHER snow day. Hurray! We ended up missing a full week of school, and while I know I’ll be regretting it come the end of May when I’m still in school, I thoroughly enjoyed my extra time off.
All good things come to an end, though. Most of our big snow is gone, and I’m back to school. That’s ok, though, because now we have a three-day weekend. 🙂
|Jacob and his friend in what was left of their igloo after the thaw started.|