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  1. #1
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    Winsor - Rio en Medio...or how I almost lost my feet to frostbite (NM passion)

    Myself, Bryan, and Stu decided to do a ride to check out the condition of the upper parts of Winsor and Rio en Medio trails. This involves a 3500 ft climb up to an elevation of 10K to the Santa Fe ski hill, followed by a 7 mile descent along ReM trail. In fact, about 7 of us were supposed to do the ride, but when reports of some snow up high came in, all but the three of us bailed. Probably an indicator that we're a little slow on the uptake compared to the others. The ride took a wee smidge longer than planned. We packed in some saws and trail clearing equipment to get any deadfall we encountered off the trails. I had a 10" folding saw in my pack, Stu and Bryan had their bow saws stuffed in their packs...




    Found some deadfall on Winsor and started clearing it. Rolled off a number of smaller trees, slid some stuff out of the way, then we ran across this big fellow. Bryan went after it with his bow saw...





    Then Bryan and Stu went to work on it. Maybe two guys with two bow saws working on different sections could get 'er done...




    Stu did manage to lop off part of the tree clearing a portion of the trail...but we had to leave the rest of it blocking the trail a bit farther up. We pushed on toward the ski hill, and started hitting small pockets of snow. Here, you can see Stu trudging through some of the white fluff...





    As we climbed higher and higher, the snow pockets started becoming snow fields, and the snows got deeper....





    and deeper ( I was starting to worry about my feet)....





    and deeper still (the feet were beyond cold and starting to go numb)....






    We had hiked maybe 3 miles in snow trying to reach the upper road. The going was really slow. You'd take a step, your feet would break through the top crust and sink three feet. The icy crust was scratching our legs with every step. Finally, near the top of Winsor, the trail swept around to a sunny side of the mountain and we had some clear trail almost to the top. Yeah! No one would lose body parts due to frostbite! Here's the point where the snow ends with obligatory snow covered bike shot....






    Our feet were wet and cold and numb. Our legs were scratched and bloody, but we had made it to the top...I'm not sure how, but we did it. We could turn around and ride the road out, or we could take Rio En Medio down. We had come this far, and it was all downhill from this point, so Rio it was. We started down Rio En Medio from the top of the ski hill and found considerable pockets of snow for the first couple of miles. Here's Stu riding through a drift near the top....





    And Bryan getting stuck in a drift that was too deep to ride through...






    after a couple of miles of descenting Rio En Medio, we finally finished trudging through the snow. We were low enough at that point to find the sweet rocky technical singletrack that makes up most of Rio En Medio. Here you can see Bryan on a clear section of the trail next to the swollen Rio....





    and Stu navigating a nice section of singletrack that is snow-free....





    The trail has a number of river crossing to get your feet wet. Since we were soaked anyway, it wasn't going to be a big deal. But, why wade when you can shimmy across an impromtu log bridge? Here is Stu hauling his bike across one of the many river crossings. Did I mention Stu is 58? Go back and look at the photo of Stu thigh deep in snow, trudging along like a trooper. I tell ya, I hope I can ride like Stu when I'm 58...





    Farther down, there are some steep rocky sections that are brutal. In one particular section, the trail drops over nasty rocks for a good 50 yards before hitting a granite drop about 4' high. Bryan, who has taken a few too many whacks to the noggin', does the drop and then slams into a tree (survives with a bruised ego). Here he is holding on for dear life just above that granite drop...



    We continue down the trail. The rio is swollen with all the snow melt creating numerous waterfalls. Rio En Medio is worth the ride for spectacular scenery like this...





    Near the end of our ride, there is a 10' rock roller...conveniantly located right next to a picturesque waterfall. So, while we watch the falls, Bryan hits the rock roller (hard to tell how far the drop is, but it's 10' at least) ...





    We finally made it back to the cars later than expected. The total round trip time for the 15 or so miles should be about 4 hours. We arrived at the parking lot at 9am. We left the lot at 7pm. So about 9-10 hours do that 15 miles! It was a hell of a ride and as much as I'd like to complain about it, looking back it was fun. Yea, my feet were ungodly cold, and my legs look like I've been wading through a field of broken glass, but...I'm happy we stuck it out. I'll leave you with this shot as a final image of our ride. I took a multishot series of Bryan hitting the granite drop. I ended up too close to him as he dropped, and I forgot to crank up the shutter speed. So the shot of him dropping off the ledge is motion blurred. After looking at the photo, I found the blur to be really interesting. You get the trees blurred horizontally in the background due to his high speed, but Bryan is blurred downward as he drops out of frame. Plus, there's some freaky blurring/distortion going on with the rear tire and bike frame. It's almost like they're morphing into a gas. I just really like that shot....

    "My life's ambition is to see a musical version of MacBeth performed by chickens."

  2. #2
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    Thats what it is all about! Von, thanks for the moral support....mmmm tacos!

    I

  3. #3
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    Witnessed!

    I hereby claim victory! There were many opportunities to bail, but we pressed on with the sweet smell of singletrack (and tacos) around every corner.

    Through the minds eye




























  4. #4
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    A passion post at it's finest. Thanks for sharing.

  5. #5
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    I meant to take a photo of all our legs at the end of day but forgot. At least you've got evidence of the personal sacrifice your legs gave to that trail.
    "My life's ambition is to see a musical version of MacBeth performed by chickens."

  6. #6
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    That sounds like quite an adventure! Kudos to you guys for taking care of the trail of your own volition.

    I think that last pic is cool, too.
    "We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are." Anais Nin

  7. #7
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    cool photos.

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