I had a day off but somewhat tied close to home w/ kid in school, husby coming home late in the afternoon, etc. Everything is getting riddled with hunters and the high country has some snow, so I decided the best option might be one last lap of the season in the Taneum. So... parking at the junction then pedaling South Fork to North Fork was the plan.
The day dawned brittle and brilliant and still, with a faint crown of frost over every leaf and twig. Overnight low at the house was 29F and it was taking a while to warm up... a classic central WA fall morning.
... and I'd left my bike in the back of the truck. As I got the Buglet off to the bus and food & coffee down my gullet, I just kept thinking that seat is gonna be SO COLD.
Fortunately it wasn't totally miserable temperature-wise at the junction. However, there were a LOT of puddles all over the place and even the roadbed was squishy where it wasn't frozen. Thankfully I was mostly just getting wet (my feet got much colder than my butt ever did) without the tires totally packing up, but I wasn't making very good time either and the miles were a lot more work than usual. Deep into the SF drainage a tree had gone down, so I stopped to dig out a giant pile of limbs and bark, leaving only a 5' section of broken log across the trail that I didn't feel up to rolling while out solo well beyond cell range... hopefully a couple burly moto guys will be able to roll it out today or tomorrow and all will be put to right. Good stuff, but it all was eating up more daylight and I noticed my internal batts were already starting to drain.
However, the scenery is wild and beautiful in there. Hey, look- snow! Whoa, it's so beautiful!
Honey... about that fat bike I keep asking for....
The snow on the trail wasn't continuous, but it and the patches of ice on the ground and breaking through iced-over puddles slowed things down even more. And there was a lot of clay mud under the snow, which wasn't conducive to any kind of speed at all. It took a lot of slow pedaling and hike-a-biking to finally make the 4-way junction.
Dan- this was the trail down from Peaches that we were on earlier this year. Only one brave moto I guess, lol.
My tracks and the moto's... these tracks peeled off at a logging road maybe '100 before the 4-way. The only recent prints on the upper SF drainage today for quite a few miles were a big elk, a coyote, and my tires/footprints.
By this point my legs felt like lead, and working down the descent towards the north fork that Borneo and I normally like so much was just ugly with patches of greasy clay, snow, and ice in the shade. I was starting to get worried that north fork, which normally rolls sweet, might be a mudhole abomination between more frequent moto traffic and being so far down in the valley that it wouldn't get much of a chance to dry out in the sun.
I took a break in a sunny meadow to get some food down but the dashboard lights just weren't getting any brighter. Then after I'd taken off for a few hundred feet I realized I'd left my helmet behind in the meadow.
That was where I folded. Not only was I wrung out, but I was starting to make stupid mistakes deep in the back country while out alone... the idea to head down north fork was abandoned before I even got there in favor of simply taking the road out. It would mean climbing clear back over the ridge but at least there would be nothing technically daunting from that point forward for me to screw the pooch on.
Not to be outdone the road still had a squishy consistency, what Shig once described as "riding on gym mats". Blarg. This is right where you turn to go over the north fork bridge.
At the gate I pointed out an elk-butt across the valley to a couple hunters glassing out of their truck... they said it was the first one they'd spotted there. Apparently they just needed to wait for a mountain biking chick to show up and point one out, lol.
Fortunately the ride out was somewhat painful but otherwise uneventful.
But for some reason my shifting just kept getting worse as I went along...
Tonight's dessert was a few ibuprofen washed down with beer. Glad to have gotten back out into the south fork Taneum, but not sure if I'll be back before next year between hunting seasons and the weather.
Mtbr's 2016 Winter Biking GearReviews and Roundups
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Thread: RR: Taneum hold em... fold em