Rain fell most of yesterday, just hung out in my heated dry van. Snow fell further downslope. Checked out farmers’ market in the rain. The sellers all have tents overhead, customers stand in the rain and shop quickly. I bought cookies again from same seller who likes coconut. Another night out Democrat gulch. The road out is hard packed dirt gravel that doesn’t get mushy. I watched rain runoff down the steep hill right from camp spot carve away soil. Between the rain showers it would dry up.
Forecast for today was for 30% probability of showers b4 noon then clearing. Good news. My plan was to linger getting started then drive up to Greenhorn gulch for a ride. The skies cooperated. A short piece of the gravel road was sloppy but the van pulled it OK w/o the differential making computer driven changes. Higher up snow was visible. Temp was in the 40s.
With season changes I fuss figuring out what riding clothes to wear. Just knee warmers or full tights? Long underwear top and long sleeved jersey? Route was climb up Greenhorn gulch then over and down Imperial Gulch. Heat up and chill down. I chose tights and long under wear top and short sleeve jersey but full fingered gloves. The trail was soft and certainly free of dust. As I climbed I encountered snow but not on the trail. My breathing was distressed hampering my climbing. High heart rate also. 3 days off pain? Turned onto Imperial Gulch. Up high the trail was wet and solid. Several short trail reroutes eliminated hellish steep hike a bikes and screamers on back side. Most of the trail is out in the sage brush open slopes. I reached a point where the dirt turned to glop. I set up for a hard right turn and the dirt went with me. I narrowly saved my bacon slithering between rocks set as choke points for the turn. The mud was the right stuff to cake my 2.4 tires and prevent them from turning. I was done as most of the remaining trail was of the same mud. I cleared the build up w/ my fingers then coasted my bike until the mud caked up again. I carried my base weight 31# bike plus however many more pounds of mud. In places the trail was soo nasty that foot traction was like walking on slippery snow. The downhill was almost as much work as the uphill. 10 miles, 1946′ in 1 hr 45 mins.
The dirt has clay in it. The trail crossed a creek @ the bottom where I rolled my tires in. The mud didn’t loosen. Too much stickum clay. Sprinkles started just before the creek. Swell I thought: rain and lugging my bike thru the mud.
My XM reception has been crapping out, sometimes it would receive for days then fail to receive signal. Previously I called their listener care line to try and communicate w/ a person who’s native tongue was not English. I hate that. I called today and listened to a non english speaking person. Frustration. She transferred me to a trouble shooter who speaks English as first language. She performed her tricks to successfully reconnect my receiver. Score. I told her about Todd’s Toddy for making cold brewed coffee.
Next up was dinner on the town @ Powerhouse one of the top 100 bike shops in America per an article written by Chris Lesser in Bicycling. Funky place: part bike shop, part restaurant, part tavern specializing in Belgian beers. Tonight I was introduced to the owner Billy. During dinner a guy greeted me saying he saw my van outside and noticed my muddy bike. He offered me facilities to clean it up tomorrow. The place was packed. I left just after sundown of 7:21 for Democrat Gulch.
Tomorrow is a sheep festival in Hailey and maybe Ketchum. During the grazing season sheep are high up in the hills. Tomorrow is a token amount driven thru town. Big festival. Leavenworth, WA might have apple blossom and Christmas tee lighting gigs, but this place celebrates the driving down of the sheep. Going to get in a ride then join the festivities.