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Bailout Option

Posted by Gale Bernhardt Jan 21, 2008


With a growing case of cabin fever, I decided I was going to mountain bike ride on Sunday and I welcomed company.



On Saturday I sent a note out to my cycling group to let them know that I had done a short run on the trail west of the city on Thursday and the trail was dry in most places. It was freeze-dried (read: like riding on concrete), but dry nonetheless. Some parts of the trail still had ice with a thin layer of dirt on top of it, disguising it as trail, so caution was needed.



I decided to ride to the trail from my house, which is about 25 minutes away. I decided if I got too cold, I'd just turn around at the trailhead and ride back home. When conditions are dicey, I will often have a bailout option. It's a way to get myself out the door to take a look at the situation. If the conditions are bleek, I've agreed to just go home. If I'm lucky and conditions are good, I have a plan as well.



When I rolled away from the house on Sunday morning at 10:30 am, it was 20 degrees Fahrenheit. My self-prescribed lower limit is 23, but I thought I'd give it a try. When it takes as much time to get dressed for a ride as it does to do the ride, you have to wonder if it's worth it. For cabin fever relief, yes. 



When I got to the trailhead there was only one other soul, Eric Houck. I guess the email about ice and Meeka falling on Thursday, even equipped with four-paw drive, didn't encourage many participants.



As we rolled onto the trail, we were surprised to find conditions much better than either of us had anticipated. There was more dirt on top of the ice and the dirt was sticking to the surface. This made the ice sections rideable, with caution.



The longer we rode, the more we were encouraged about the conditions. It turned out to be a great day on the trail.



The experience just reminded me that sometimes I have to just get out the door and give it a shot. I need to have a bailout option, in case of poor conditions, but sometimes I get lucky and don't need to bail.



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