Editor’s note: Montana Miller is our new columnist, and Knobby Meats is a weekly column about bad decisions, good times, and riding bikes. Enjoy!
By Montana Miller.
I munch on a raw potato, while drawing a big loop on the computerized topo Saturday night.
The loop climbs seven miles to the top of the ridge, goes along some old trails that might not exist anymore, then back to town on a winding stream bed, which is probably full of water right now. There’s four inches of fresh snow in town and it’s still dumping, but we have fat bikes, so we should be ok.
My friend Cinder Bloch gets to the house at noon the next day. We fill our bottles, flasks, and let air out of our tires. It snowed a lot last night. I stick a ruler in the ground: six inches of fresh stuff. This should be something.
We start up the climb. The snows light and dry, and we’re making solid progress up the ridge. Spinning our lowest gears. We have to push up a few steep parts, but otherwise this seems fine. Maybe we will be able to knock out this loop.
I stop to let more air out of my tires, till I can squish the tire to the rim. Keep on moving. I hear a roar in the woods. Spin around corner. My housemate, Grizz, is stomping towards me. He’s a huge furry sasquatch looking guy. His little lab puppy is bouncing through the powder behind him.
“These felt soled boots I pulled out of the dumpster are the worst things I’ve ever worn in the snow,” he shouts, “Did you hear me yelling?”
“Yes Grizz,” I say, and pedal past. Apparently there’s not anywhere I can go to get away from my roommates.
We stop at an overlook about two thirds of the way up the ridge.
“So how long did that take?” I say.
“Well, looks like two point three miles, and it took us an hour,” Cinder Bloch says.
That has to be a new record for slowness. And I have another twenty miles mapped out. Hope it gets easier up top.
Thirty minutes later, we hit the top. Celebrate with some peanut butter sandwiches and good beer.
We get back on our bikes, roll down the road.
“This is our turn,” I say, and start to swing right.
“Where, through that snow pile?” Cinder Bloch says.
I crash through the snow mound. Start laughing. This is ridiculous, the powder is hub deep. We plow through the open field, snow spraying off our tires.
On top of the knob, I pull a glove off to check the GPS. The wind blows little snow tornados through the field. My fingers start to freeze. We need to get on a pipeline, somewhere off to the right. Charge through the snow. This looks like it.
Now we’re at the experimental point in the ride, where I’m not sure if the trails are still intact. Down the pipeline, then off the bikes to hike up the other side. After fifteen minutes, we’ve made it less than half a mile. We’re sinking to our knees.
I sit down in the snow.
“So if we do find this theoretical trail, where does it theoretically take us?” Cinder Bloch says.
“To another theoretical trail. And we have another fifteen miles of this,” I say, and toss some snow, “At this pace, we won’t finish until Tuesday night.”
We decide to find another way out. There’s an old trail that looks like it goes to a logging road, which should take us toward town. We take it, lose the trail for a while, wander through the woods, then pop out on the logging road. The snows so deep that we can hardly pedal downhill.
And the layer of ice under the snow keeps putting me on the ground. At least landing in snow is nice and soft.
It takes us another tiring hour of descending to get back to town. I’m super glad we took the short way. We finish the ride at the pub, where that big football match is on the TV. I ask for a cookie, and get served a crappy crispy rice bar with a lemur on it instead.