Monday, March 24, 2008

Post-Season, Pre-Season

Always ski with someone who’s slower than you...

Every year Minnesota winters battle with March, but this year the battle came later than usual, and with less fervor. The accumulation was only a couple inches compared to last year’s and 2006’s foot of snow.

In true skier style, we rallied the troops and headed out for one last (?) day on the boards.

The trails close to home have been closed and unmaintained for a couple of weeks now, a few stretches of 50-degree days saw to that. Good trail reports were still coming out of the Rice Lake area in Wisconsin from two days ago, however. We took the gamble and hit the road for a couple hours.

The trails were soft. What was left of Thursday’s grooming groaned under our weight and an inch of new, wet snow pulled at our skis. What were typically screaming downhills became slow glides that allowed us to rest, stand straighter, and adjust our grips while maintaining some semblance of forward progress.

In 90 minutes, we only accomplished 10K, but between the conditions and a couple of us either coming out of, or being in the midst of, some illness (post-flu-mid-strep for me; snorting-hawking-cold for my friend), we got our workout in.

All-in-all it was a nice outing. A good, sloppy ski always preps me for the cycling season. I’m ready. It’s time.

- TOB and it was a nice sloppy mtb ride on Sunday

Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Way Bobby Sees It....

Blind Mountain Biker, Bobby McMullen
WTB-sponsored rider
Full Spread in Santa Cruz Bicycles

Thanks to Cycle SD for the heads' up!

- OB...go ride.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

My Favourite Bit of Trail

Fat Lad Wants to Know

For the past few days, our temps here in Minneapolis have hovered around 50. I’m contemplating my annual spring trip south to the desert. The Sweetie and I walked into the LBS last weekend, blinking and peering at all the sparklies hanging from the ceiling. And now Fat Lad has called me out.

It’s all converging, forcing me out of mourning.

I suppose.

I have to think bicycling.

There are more important and timely issues to contemplate than the passing of the snow, specifically:
What's your favourite bit of trail? Not ride, but your one, two or three hundred yard stretch of dirtly nirvana that you would put into every ride if you could.
My favourite bit of trail...

it’s that one section where equipment and weather and fitness and challenge are all in agreement...

the spot on the edge of the woods that explodes into the prairie-covered meadow...

it’s the place where buddies converge after the ride to drink a beer around the fire barrel...

you know that mud pit that stops you dead in your tracks? and you have to put your foot down? it's that part...

it’s that two hundred yard stretch that’s far enough away from the work week that, when I look behind me, I can’t see my way back...

it’s the theatre of bullshit, the passage to agony, the challenge for the soul, and the playground of the enchanted...

it’s just around the curve from inspiration

in the vicinity of grace.

- ob

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Mourning Ski

It was a blue, sunny Sunday morning with temps in the mid-20s. After being down for a week with influenza, I was ready for skiing but my legs weren’t quite as up for the task. However, as slow as I was going, perfect trails and plenty of rest breaks made for an effortless ski.

We stopped often so I could rest and catch my breath. In those slow times, I also found myself catching other things.

In spite of a good foot of snow that’s still on the ground, the sun’s changing intensity is apparent. Even under protective shade, the snowpack in the woods is gradually retreating. Tree trunks are radiating warmth, and the snow just can’t cling to them like it can in January.

High spots next to the trail expose brown, wintered prairie grass.


We’re in an ebb-and-flow time of the year as days in the high 30s trade places with those in the single digits. They’re all first signs of spring, and that Sunday was the day I finally slowed down long enough to know I’m leaving soon, but you also know how I am--never did perfect the art of the clean break, so I’ll ease my way on down the trail...if you take up with something else before I’m gone, well you’s OK.

It was a beautiful day and it’s been a beautiful ski season--the best in years--and it’s winding down. It’s leaving me. Slowly.

It would be easier if it were just gone.

...but, there are these things hanging out in the garage....