Tuesday, January 1, 2008

New Years

147,090, that was the mileage on the van on January 1, 2007. Today, the mileage on the van was 152,544. Yes, I'll do the math for you, blogs are not designed to make the reader think, so I'll do that part. 5,454 miles, including a ~1500 mile trip to Arizona to visit my mom and go hiking. I was shooting for less than 100 miles a week because I wanted to ride more miles commuting than we put on the van. We were over the 100 miles per week, but I would estimate that I ride between 5500-6000 miles a year for my commute. That takes into account the fact that there are many weeks where I don't ride to school. Like this week that I have off, and last week. It also takes into account days that I take the bus because of icy roads.

I started the New Year off right, I went on my second annual New Years day Squaw Peak Hill Climb. Squaw Peak is the local "make out point" (I've never been there for that purpose, in fact, I've never been up there in a car) and the road is closed in the winter. Snowmobiles still go up there, and they keep the snow packed down a little, but otherwise it's not well traveled in the winter. On New Years Day Fatty organizes a ride up there and I like to attend. I must admit that last year was much better for me. This year I just couldn't get going on the snow, so I ended up walking about half the time. In fact I didn't even make it to the top, I turned around when everyone else started heading down (I was probably .5-1 mile from the top). On a certain level I felt that I should have been embarrassed about my performance, I really did not ride well. Actually I didn't "ride" much at all, I pushed my bike up a lot of the hill.

Even worse than walking my bike up most of the climb, was walking my bike most of the way down the hill as well. I have two major weaknesses in cycling. First, I am tentative. I am not a daredevil and I get nervous when I get going faster than I feel comfortable, and that's not very fast. This is especially a problem off road because I don't spend a lot of time off road. Second, I don't have great bike handling skills. Sure, I can track stand forever, but when it comes to picking a line on a descent, I am not good at it. The combination of these two major weaknesses is that I am REALLY slow coming down hills, especially off road (or on a road covered with a couple feet of snow). So by the time I got back to the bottom, most of the others had already left.

I think I just made it sound like a bad experience. It wasn't. In fact, I don't think I would change a thing. I was able to enjoy the solitude of the outdoors. On several occasions while I was climbing the hill, I stopped and enjoyed the absolute silence. What is it about snow that makes the silence so much more intense? I also got to a few overlooks where I could see the city below and the Utah Lake which looked to be frozen all the way across. It was really pretty up there. And my feet were warm. That was a highlight, there's nothing like being out in the snow and having warm feet.

Happy New Years


Emily Allan Wood said...

Ahh. I really miss mountain biking and I really miss the still silence of the snow. Jealous...

I'm glad you had such a good experience.

Bri-onic Man said...

I've never found snow and cycling to be very compatible. Congrats on your great cycling mileage and great low van mileage too. Nice work!