Winter er, Spring Fling

Talk about the best laid plans going all amok. Nick and I both took the day off yesterday so we could ride and run down at Lake Pueblo State Park, then head to Canon City to go to Spring Fling at The Winery at Holy Cross Abbey. It was the release party for the Sauvignon Blanc Reserve and the wine was paired with a local Japanese restaurant. I like the winery and wine and we both like Japanese food. It was going to be a fun day with some good training.
Then the weatherman started freaking out about an impending blizzard. The dire news started Monday. “Don’t travel unless you have too” was the word of the day. Nick and I didn’t worry – the weatherman is usually wrong about the weather in Colorado So we slept in, packed up all our warm clothes, running shoes and bikes and headed south. There was snow on the grass in Colorado Springs and clouds hiding the sun. The snow was gone by the time we reached Fountain and the sun was out. The wind was blowing, but it was warming up. We reached Pueblo and it was still nice. The temperature was mid forties with a brisk wind. The only sign that weather might be moving in were the ominous clouds blanketing the mountains to the west, north and south.
Our plan was to ride for three hours, then I would run for four miles. We both had our Gore jackets on to start, but warmed up quickly. It helped that we can both ride technical climbs and descents, although I’m not nearly as strong or confident as Nick. We were able to stay in the canyons and out of the strong wind. After an hour, we stopped at the car to fix Nick’s rear brakes and add some air to my front suspension. The sky was darker and the clouds were sweeping in from all directions. We both put our jackets on and headed back out onto the trail. At this point the wind was really starting to pick up and the clouds were starting to brush the outskirts of the lake. On the last climb up Rock Canyon, the snow started falling, gentle flakes at first. On the top of the ridge and the wind started driving the snow like BBs into our faces. Five minutes from the car and the previously bone dry trail was rapidly turning to mud. The clay mud coated our bikes in muck by the time we reached to the car. Two hours and fifteen minutes after we’d started and the blizzard was upon us. That third hour and run were out of the question.
After quickly changing into dry clothes and getting the bikes loaded, Nick and I huddled in the car to warm up. We’d been fine riding, but the minute we stopped, the wind stole all body heat, even with the Gore Jackets. Our ride plans had been foiled – would the winery still be having Spring Fling? I called and they said the party was still on. We drove the back way to Canon City, through gusting winds and deep drifts of snow. There wasn’t much snow in Canon City yet, but the wind was still blowing. We spent about an hour at the winery, tasting the wine and enjoying the food.
Then came the drive home. Down south, there was just blowing snow and poor visibility. The further north we got, the icier the roads became. On 115, the visibility quickly decreased as the wind strengthened. About ten miles from home, the road turned into a sheet of ice. Cars were scattered on both sides of the road. We could feel the wind blowing the jeep sideways across the ice. Thankfully, Nick is used to driving in snow and ice and we had no problems getting home. It just took a while.
The bikes are still in the garage, frozen solid and covered in muck. We’ll have to deal with cleaning and maintenance when they defrost. Both the Y and 24 hour fitness are closed, so the workouts for 3/27 are looking a little questionable. I’m not running outside, that’s for sure. The good news is that we did get two solid hours of riding in and its March. Snow in March always melts quickly and the trails need the moisture.

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