Saturday, February 9, 2008


It's not that I have an ethical problem with snowmobiles, even if they leave a big carbon footprint; it's mostly that I'm basically lazy. I would rather spend my little bit of leisure time actually doing recreation, rather than loading sleds onto a trailer, driving for an hour or whatever, unloading, and then finally having some fun.

All that to say that my title is a little bit misleading: I didn't technically go snowmobiling, since that would require the use of a snowmobile. Instead, Jim Bell, Matt Williams, Ben Nemeth, and I went MTBing on snowmobile trails this morning, resulting in a truly epic ride. Skibby is a little miserly in his use of the word epic, and for the most part, I agree. Riding through a little bit of mud or a rainstorm or getting lost isn't really epic in my book.

No, to be considered epic, a ride needs to result in some level of morbidity, bodily harm, serious risk of death or disability, or at least a significant amount of blood loss. Today's ride qualifies in several categories, since I fell several times, risking at least a fractured clavacle; had near-death high speed brushes with trees numerous times; and endured 30 minutes of blizzard conditions with headwinds of 30mph, white-out zero visibility, and drift-busting up to the axles while on glare ice. We had a great time.

Sorry there's no actual video documentation to this blog today, but the spy camera froze immediately upon departure, and with -40 degree wind chills, I wasn't about to pull a glove off to try to warm it up or operate it anyway. Blizzards mostly look the same, so if you've ever been in one, you know what it looked like, and if you haven't, a white picture with some vague shadows in it wouldn't help you understand it any better anyway. The photo is from NOAA, but our conditions were basically the same, except we saw the sun once in a while.

I can say that my bike handling talents are improving quite rapidly; 6 inch drifts over glare ice can do that for you in a hurry. Having to drill it over sketchy trails to try to catch up to "friends" who don't wait when you fall is good for training as well. (To their credit, if I dropped out of sight behind them, they would probably come back looking for me). My average heart rate was 140bpm, and our average speed (including the tailwind section) was 9mph. Not too efficient, but a great workout on an otherwise unrideable day.

BTW, despite the recent snowfall that covered all the bare trails with nice snow, we didn't see a single snowmobile today. I guess it's just too cold for that.

Tomorrow I guess I'll try to spin on the trainer while watching the Pro Bowl, but I doubt that will last 5 minutes. If Randy Moss is skipping it, it's obviously a lame game. Oh, wait, didn't he skip the first half of the Superbowl? Maybe he's not the best lead to follow, since he can't stay interested in most games that he's actually playing in. Anyway, Big Jim has a backup plan: "The Assasination of Jesse James", 2 hours and 47 minutes of Brad Pitt and guns. That should keep us in the saddle for the prescribed time.

And if not, Big Jim's got a really comfy couch...


Jeffro said...

Being an ex-snowmobiler I can tell you that when it gets that cold the bars are where you'll find the sleds. But being a new-found skier the prision loop is where I was. The fresh tracks were mine all morning. Skiing is not over yet!

Doc said...

According to Big Jim, skiing season is officially closed. Who am I to argue with him when he comes up with adventures like yesterday?

Kevin said...

Give me wind or cold but not both at the same time. Looking forward to some moderating temps real soon.

The rollers may get old but it sure beats not having them.

Doc said...

At least the blizzard kept my mind off of the passing of time. Even a good movie can't always make the roller time pass any faster.