Wednesday, May 14, 2008


With restless needs to explore I am continuing to test the snow depth/elevation...which means I ride as high up as I can until I hit impassable snow. On my last re-con mission I found the snow level at 5100' was the end of the ride...much improved over just a few weeks ago. I anticipate that this weekend's high temps may put a final end to the over-abundance of impassable snow for this year. The cool thing on this trip was finding flowers growing right beside the snow at elevation. The snow seen in the back ground is 3-feet deep which also just so happens to be the road I was's like someone just drew a line and said, "The snow will end here!"

It was a great place for some lunch amoung the little purple flowers, with a wind-block provided by a sizeable ponderosa pine, and just enough sun making it through the thin clouds to provide some warm comfort. Aaaaa...this is the life! After contenting my self with wild-flowers, fresh-air, and the green of pine trees I headed back to the wastelands below.

Knowing that snow still blocks my desired routes I turned to my next essential life need...Pizza! Yesterday morning I decided it was "Eric Needs a Slice-of-Pizza Day" in Pullman and promptly found myself drooling with anticipation on what became a hungry sprint ride to Pullman on my mountain bike...taking as much dirt road as possible of course. Coincidentally there is a Pizza shop that sells by-the-slice that is remarkably close to B&L Bicycles in Pullman.

My mouth was watering all the way up Stepto Canyon in anticipation of that Pizza slice and I was making great time even with the increasing strength of the crossing-headwinds to full-on headwinds. The sky had been cloudy since I left and did not look threatening, plus the mighty National Weather Service-Disney-fantasy-weather-machine said there was only a very slight chance of rain...hmmm that should have clued me in a bit more. About 3-miles from Pullman I could smell not pizza, but rain! The winds were suddenly much colder and stonger, which dissolved my Pizza hunger in a hurry.

Then a sinister smile appeared on my face and the self challenge had changed into a 34-mile race home to see if I could beat the inevitiable rain, now on the immediate horizon. I turned the SuperCal 29er around into another (now changed) headwind and started my sprint home...I was sickly happy, chuckling all the way. At Johnson I was being hit with some very fine little sprinkles which made me tap additional power to speed this endeavor along (Note: At this point I was riding down the road at a tilt to compensate for the huge cross-winds). Down Stepto Canyon the sprinkles turned into a fine mist...not enough for a rain jacket, but enough to mildly dampen the outer layer. On my doorstep as I was getting my key out the clouds let loose which started a gentle, soaking rain...(smiles)

Experience has shown me that weather and seasonal predictions are incompetent wizardry at best and seem to be more of a whimsical brain fart than a science. The fantasy computers used to predict weather and seasons I'm sure were programmed by Disney characters on psychotropic, mind-altering la-la drugs. So what this means is when the National Weather Service predicts there is a "very slight chance of rain" it really means it's going to pour on you while at the farthest point from home...."sunny" means cloudy, warm can mean either cold or blood-boiling HOT, a mild 3-5 mph wind means gail-force wind (a 10-15 mph wind means hurricane force winds) and the wind direction is always in your face no matter what they predicted.

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