This month’s rapid rise in temperatures transformed an epic snow season into a sorry mix of slush, ice, & Cascade concrete. Was I ready to shift gears & get my mountain bike out of cold storage? Not really. But what was the alternative?
I was taken aback when the best ski season of my life came to an abrupt, slushy halt. I had found a groove, the right people to share it with, and even ordered my first pair of backcountry skis.
Enter false spring, a compelling yet unfaithful heartbreaker offering the allure of warmer weather without any long-term commitment. I’m certain that as soon as I adapt to the more moderate temps, she’ll turn her back on me, sending in her sub-zero sister.
Having developed a regular pattern of exercise, I’m not quite ready to shift gears from one activity to the next. I am still in love with skiing. But warmer weather is making change a necessity.
This is where my trusted band of outdoor enthusiasts have stepped up to ease the transition. The die-hard cyclists among the groups have been waiting eagerly to ditch their spin classes and trainers to experience real-world riding. Those of us still enamored with skiing are having to cheer each other along. True friends don’t let friends wuss out.
We agreed to meet at Maston trail head for the first mountain bike ride of the season. We were greeted by stunning blue skies and temps in the 50’s. Two returning riders called out, “It’s hero dirt!”
On trail, our legs barked about the switch from one form of exercise to another. Nordic skiing had kept my legs and lungs strong but cycling up the smallest of hills had my quads complaining about being called into duty.
Moving from the knee-deep snow of Meissner Sno Park to the high desert trails of Maston within the span of a week boggled my mind — the conditions were so vastly different. As I re-familiarized myself with my bike, I considered the contrast between one sport and the next. How I wish there was more of a crossover benefit between the two. Regardless, I know that within a few rides my bike handling skills and endurance will come back to me. Cross training is good, right?
As a post-ride reward, my friends and I regrouped at The Bite in Tumalo, which is just minutes from the Maston trail system. This small but top-notch collection of food carts has become a popular meeting place for road riders and mountain bikers with an appetite. The food was excellent — plus there’s beer.
Changing gears is hard when you’ve fallen in love with an activity. Thankfully, I’m surrounded by like-minded people, too crazy to give up. Their enthusiasm is my motivation. Much as I’m holding out hope for another round of winter … I won’t be doing it from an armchair. Back on the bike is the new normal, weather permitting.