elisa jones mountain biking winter

Riding in Snow is Hard

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.”
― Helen KellerThe Open Door

Yeah. I said it. Riding in snow is hard. Even riding snow-packed trails is harder than riding generally difficult dirt and rock trails. Here I went out on my mountain bike to do a little fast and fun shredding and something absolutely unheard of happens: I had to stop.

I mean, I’ve had plenty, plenty of times when I’ve wanted to stop, or thought I might have to stop. But today was the first time my body was like, “Look, Lady, if you don’t stop right now you are going to die.” So I stopped.

Typically I would look my body straight in the proverbial face and say, “Ha! I’ll show you! I got a few more pedal strokes left in me!” but I just couldn’t do that this time. My heart was exploding. And it was curious to me. I had ridden up Tabegauche on the mountain bike machine before- several times in fact- without hitting this same “heart explosion” issue. And I’ve been feeling in pretty good shape lately. So I came to the conclusion there is only one explanation: The snow. It takes more work to push up a +15% grade when traction is negligible.

And that same lack of traction was the order of the day. I continued up Tabby until I had to choose my torture: Holy Cross, Prenup, Widowmaker Hill, or Eagle Connector. I decided the hike up Eagle Connector was perhaps the least strenuous. I was probably wrong. But I’m getting pretty used to that.

So a little lack of momentum hike up the Connector, then back to the trail I know well: Eagle Tail. By that point my technical skills had been warmed up and I was able to maneuver over the techy bits at the top like I haven’t in months. For some reason, maybe it was the fact I had yet to experience injury or death on this outing, I felt a bit of confidence.

The champion of the day? The dropper seat post. I can’t believe the confidence it gave me to not have a bulging mass of saddle hovering between my thighs. It feels like riding a little kid bike. Precarious, terrifying, and yet controlled fun. I even achieved a couple of obstacle crushes I hadn’t before.

……..

Reading back on this I just realized how very prejudicially mountain-bikesque I sound. If you had told me even 3 years ago that I would be shredding an advanced trail in Grand Junction, in the snow and ice on a full-suspension mountain bike with a dropper seat post…well, first I wouldn’t have half a clue what you were saying, and second I would never have believed you. Yet here I am. Doing just that. And actually enjoying myself to the point of giddy laughter (because I just couldn’t help but jump my bike on anything sticking up from the ground more than 3 inches. Funny. As. Heck.)

When did I become the kind of person that is into these crazy things? I used to be so reserved, so afraid, of anything outside of my comfort zone. And my comfort zone was my house.

I guess I shall ponder on this…

Photo Jan 04, 3 39 21 PM (1) photo