Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Winter Wonderland

Snow hit the Seattle area yesterday. Doesn't really happen that often and when it does, usually a wet, heavy type snow that's crap for riding. Not this storm - cold enough for dry powder - and lots of ice. Perfect for riding, so that's what I did. Skipped work today and buzzed around the local trails for two hours or so. Growing up in New Jersey, I did a fair amount of two wheel exploring in the snow, and riding today reminds me of that. Cold and clear, with great riding snow. Nice.

Woods, snow, low level winter sun. Sweet.

Compact snow and ice makes for fast snow travel. Only fell once today, not bad considering I don't get much snow practice. And that was even running the Kenda Small Block 8 tires - not exactly the best tire for snow rolling. At times, they were basically two giant snow doughnuts - almost like snow slicks.

The bargain Sette Razzo 29er continues to impress.

Later in the day, took the kids sledding, as Ian demonstrates. Sun was setting, it was cold - maybe 20 degrees. Daughter Amy had enough after a few runs. Wife scored some rare alone time, while we manned the plastic sleds.

As mentioned, the snow hit yesterday. The Seattle area completely falls apart when it snows. We're talking multi hour, gridlock traffic disaster. I drove to work yesterday, it was snowing a bit - two hours to drive 17 miles. Temps dropped even further and more snow during the day. I bailed out of work around 4:00 PM, knowing it was a mistake. It's best to wait until much later.

Sure enough, after sitting in traffic for 30 minutes, moved maybe half a block. I attempted a different route and spent an hour sitting in another gridlock mess - and have yet to even get to the highway entrance - still stuck in downtown Seattle. I park the car and hit a pizza place to grab some dinner and waste time. After another hour or so, go for it again. Same deal, maybe half a block in 30 minutes attempting to hit Interstate 5 to get home. Insane. I peel off back into downtown, park and head back to work. Even work beats sitting in complete gridlocked traffic, watching the windshield wipers and brake lights.

I wait until 10:00 PM for the final attempt, even though all routes north are still gridlocked. I head south, completely out of the way, and take the long route home. After driving for over an hour, finally home around 11:30 PM. Crazy. I should have ridden my bike, would have been hours faster and a bit of a epic trip, for good reasons - not annoying ones.

Here's a little example pulled off YouTube of what happens in Seattle when it snows. Steep hills, lots of ice, little to no sanding or plow trucks. Then toss in inexperienced snow drivers and it becomes a virtual fun fest. The roads and highways become littered with abandoned vehicles. It's crazy town.

Pro rally driver I'm not (except in my dreams), yet I have no trouble getting around in the snow. I guess flinging Fiats around the East Coast as a kid in the snow helps - as well as years on dirt motorcycles and mountain bikes. It's all about the controlled loss of traction.

Lucky I'm off tomorrow and for Thanksgiving. Temps are supposed to remain below freezing, preserving the winter wonderland for a bit longer. It's fun while it lasts.

1 comment:

  1. Yeap, snow can can be fun. Freezing rain here in Iowa tonight. Not sure if I should stud up the CX for tomorrow or not.
    I enjoy your enjoyment you have for bicycling.