Sunday, December 28, 2008

Worlds Collide

When the snow is good, I pick cross-country skiing over biking for my workout. You just never know how much good snow there will be in a season so it gets priority. The snow has been perfect and I have been out cross-country skiing quite a few times and riding, at best, a couple times a week. We’ve had some below normal temps so some of the skiing has been in the sub-zero range but when the snow’s nearly perfect you just go and sort out the cold toes after the fact. The morning of Christmas day was my last day of skiing and it didn’t get above zero until after we were done.

When I woke up the following day, the temp was already 35 degrees heading for 40. That’s 40 above zero. And just to add insult, it was threatening to mist/drizzle/yuck all over our beautiful snow. My plan for the warmth had been to head out for some skijoring since the pooch doesn’t do very well in the bitter cold.

Puttering around delayed my exit and when I let him out to do his business before heading to the ski trails, he came back in soaked after only a couple minutes. Sure enough, what I had thought was a light fog was actually a heavy mist/drizzle. I decided that skiing in rain gear didn’t sound like much fun so I bagged the trip. It was supposed to turn to snow at some point so I figured we’d go the next day.

It never did turn to snow. It stopped raining and then froze turning everything into a very rough skating rink. Skiing on ice isn’t my idea of a good time but taking the bike with the studded tires out can be quite a hoot. Before I got studded tires, I was terrified of riding on ice and parked the bike anytime it was below freezing. But with the studs, I could do so with little trouble. Riding on ice with studded tires is like hitting a patch of road that is covered with sand. You can’t ride it the same as you would dry pavement but by taking it a bit easy you can get through it with no problem. Don’t be stupid and you won’t go down.

So I headed out into the freshly glazed world, happy to have an outdoor workout option. I decided to take a spin around the trails that make a nice loop over here on the western side of the Twin Cities. We have the good fortune of having a great mountain bike trail right in the city of Minneapolis at Theodore Wirth Park. I’ve written about these trails before and ride them quite a bit since they are only a quick 6-mile ride from home. I also thought it would be fun to hit that trail system since two days earlier we skied this same park. How many places have a huge inner city park with both top-notch mountain biking trails AND cross-country skiing trails?

I only had my phone for snapping a picture and dusk was coming on so the shot didn’t turn out that great but an active mountain bike trail crossing an active ski trail (in really crappy shape...) seemed like a picture that had to get taken. So I did.

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