Sunday, January 10, 2010

Frozen Head

With several great rides under my belt in recent weeks, my tolerance for cold temperatures is at a high level, and I am now equipped with new winter riding boots.
Last weekend I had made the trip south for the first Snake Creek Gap time trial, and was caught off-guard by the 18 degree starting temp, so I opted for the 17-mile version of this race. The shorter route worked great, I finished strong, although with frozen feet. But in the end I had plenty left over for hanging around the camp fire.
I came up short rounding up the troops for a ride up Frozen Head, but I had always wanted to check out this route and my dog is always ready to go. So we packed up on a bluebird day and powered through the deep snow; seven miles to the top. There was snow all over the mountain, but the top was covered like a winter wonderland. I made it to the top freezing and sweating at the same time. Hank, the dog, looked like a snow ball and had icicles hanging off his chin and undercarriage. We rolled along the top of the mountain looking for the fire tower, and everything was blanketed in white. I had been over an hour since I last saw a sign, and longer since the last mention of the fire tower. It could have been easy to get turned around, except I could follow my tracks back out. But I kept on, and eventually started a long descent, which I was sure would have taken me deeper into nowhere (not a bad place to be, but the temperature was brutal and the deep snow made for slow going.) I made the call to turnaround. It was hard to do, but I thought I could have easily missed a turn.
The seven mile descent off the mountain was a blast. Like one long ski run.
When I reached the bottom and looked again at the map, I realized I had turned around just a quarter mile from the tower. I guess I have to go back.

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