Saturday, March 2, 2013

When Will Winter End...

The winter of 2013 has seemed longer than winters in the past, with Super Storm Sandy dropping nearly two feet of snow in October 2012 to the six inches of fresh powder falling as I sit here in Preston County, WV on the second day in March of 2013.   Throughout this winter, the ground has been covered with enough snow to keep me off the bike...at least outside.


Misery loves company.  As you can see Nova provides excellent coaching. 

 So, winter recreation has involved  traditional winter activities, such as cross-country skiing and hiking, to the not-so-traditional activity of the day-long extraction my truck from a thigh-deep ditch.

An unexpected vacation from work.


Every few weeks, the temperatures will reach a level that all of the white stuff will melt.  For those brief moments I harness the cross-bike and explore some dirt roads (usually the day after, because as luck would have it I'm working on the warm days).  A couple of weeks ago Travis and I ventured out on some frozen dirt roads to see what Preston County could offer for Hilly Billy Roubaix training.   Within the first two miles we were careening down a icy road to Rockville, fairly certain that we were the only idiots brave enough to dare the 20 degree day...until we reached the Big Sandy River.  At that moment, it became obvious that there were indeed a braver breed of idiots.  Riding a bicycle on frozen roads seemed much less challenging than the whitewater kayakers competing in an organized, free-for-all, down river race just beneath the bridge we had stopped to take in some winter scenery.

Cannondale represented on Rockville Bridge
 over the Big Sandy River

Sponsor alert
Honey Stinger Waffles never freeze 


Throughout my years as a bicycle enthusiast, I have been presented with many mechanical issues requiring a little ingenuity to keep the wheels rolling to get home.  However, having my cables freeze over with mud was a first on this glorious day, just four miles into what would eventually be a 35mile ride.  My cross-bike had now become a 2x1 drive train with a shifter cable that had become frozen too thick to pass through the guide below the bottom bracket.



Many attempts were made to thaw the cable to provide at least a 2x2 system, from melting the ice with a still-smoldering road-side cigarette butt to peeing on the cable guide (don't judge...desperate times call for desperate measures).   However, nothing seemed to do the trick, until I poured some Camelbak Elixir from my bottle onto the cable guide.  The sodium content semi-worked for a few miles.   Eventually, the bottles froze to a slush too thick to be squeezed through the nozzle.

Camelbak Elixir...does more than replenish electrolytes.


For the next 25 miles I got to work on slow pedal grinds on steep climbs to intermittent fast pedal cadences when the front shift cables froze over leaving me with a 1x1 system.

Since the Dynamic Physical Therapy Powered By Pathfinder's Biggest (Canine) Fan Challenge was presented by Billy and Jonathan....

Can't wait until the new Nalini kits arrive...
Nova and Gus may never give these back