Saturday, December 27, 2008

Buzz Ride

Looking south along Lake Michigan shoreline. Ice walls are 10-15ft high. All photos taken Dec 26.

I woke to thunder and lightning this morning. Pretty bizarre for December 27 in Michigan, but I do remember thunder snow one New Years Eve as a young child. Temps peaked around 60F today, along with torrential rain. The two foot base has been decimated, most fields now devoid of snow. I did not bring rollerskis or street tires from my bike. I only have studded tires. I went out for a 2.5hr ride today, studs on all pavement. Makes a nice buzzing sound, slower than heck, but I got a great tempo workout in. I stayed dry the first 1.5hrs by timing a small hole in the storm system. It poured the last hour. How often can you ride the end of December in pouring rain, no booties, no balaclava, with only single light layer on under windshell and not get the least bit cold? I may have to modify my theory of global cooling.

Looking north along Lake Michigan shoreline. This is Holland channel and Big Red lighthouse.

I attempted to ski yesterday, but it appeared to have rained overnight. A quarter to half inch of ice conformal coated everything on the ground. The trees had no ice. I waxed up the skis, drove 30 minutes to the Pigeon Creek trails, only to find them suitable only for hockey skates. A park worker was there and said their grooming equipment would be ineffective on that kind of ice, so they had to wait until temps rose before they could groom. Well, they rose alright, now I'm sure the base is completely gone. The gentleman said he was confident they would have enough base left after the warm spell. I really doubt it. I came back home and road studs on road. Back roads were so icy you could not stand up on them. Pretty dicy with cars on same roads you're riding. Fortunately cars were few and far in between.

15% grade, half inch of black ice, Nokian Extreme studded tires, no problem.

That makes over 4hrs of riding in two days. It looks like any outdoor activity will not involve snow for the rest of our stay in Michigan. The only good thing might be some unexpected trail riding. If it gets cold enough to freeze up the mud, I can hit Yankee Springs or Fort Custer. My son would like that, as there is a nice indoor skateboard area near the Fort Custer trail system in the Kalamazoo/Battle Creek area where I could drop him off for a few hours. If you ski and bike, you will always be able to do something outside in the winter. With Lake Placid just over a month away, I'd prefer a little more opportunity to ski.

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