When I woke up yesterday, I wasn’t motivated to ride. I could hear the strong wind blowing from the north, and I don’t care for the wind. In fact, give me anything else—searing heat, freezing temperatures, rain—and I’ll be happy to ride in it. However, the wind and I have always had an uneasy relationship. When I say this, I’m just trying to be nice. The truth is, we absolutely hate each other.
Until the last few years, I have always been a pretty skinny guy. Even now, at 5-10 and 167 pounds, nobody would call me fat. But as recently as five years ago I was racing at 148 pounds. The wind has its way with someone that size on a bike. The wind is a bully. It pushes, shoves, pulls and kicks sand in your face. It laughs at you. Calls you weak. Says stuff about your mom.
Ask a big, strong rider how he feels about the wind, and he might just shrug; it has little effect on them. Ask a skinny guy, and he will tell you in great detail how much he hates it, his diatribe most likely peppered with expletives.
Years ago, I remember my buddy Steve and I setting out on our daily training ride on a windy day. We were planning on a ride around Folsom Lake, which was about 65 miles round-trip from where we lived. After around 15 miles of the wind blowing in my face, I turned around and went home. Steve completed the ride alone, and didn’t speak to me for a couple days. I loved riding with Steve, but I hated the wind just a little bit more.
Since Wednesday is the only day I’m guaranteed a mountain bike ride, I felt like I had to go. I dragged myself out of bed and prepped the bike, ate breakfast, and headed out the door with the kids. After dropping them off at school, I drove to the trail.
It was clear and cold, and the north wind made the 46 degree morning feel much colder. I spun out of the parking lot eager to reach the woods where the wind would be blocked somewhat by the trees.
Riding in the woods on a windy day has always given me the creeps, and yesterday was no different. It’s unnerving to ride under huge trees and hear the creaking and groaning coming from above as they sway in the wind. It was only a couple miles before I saw proof my uneasiness was not unfounded:
The branch was so freshly snapped the scent of pine was still in the air. Nice.
I rode on and enjoyed myself in spite of the cold. When I reached Beal's Point, bulldozers were working on the dyke. The dirt levy road was blocked off and a detour sign pointed me down the entry road to the left. When I reached the bottom I found this sign:
Yep, the detour was through illegal singletrack.
While part of me was happy to ride some of my favorite trails without fearing The Man, part of me was also pissed. If riding these trails is such a horrible, heinous crime against humanity that it carries a $270 fine, why is it OK now? Shouldn't we be routed out to Auburn-Folsom Road so that no horsies or hikers lose their outdoor experience? So that no calamitous collision occurs between equine and our knobby-tired killing machines?
Yes, I'm being over dramatic. Sue me. But if mixing user groups on these trails is a huge problem, a dangerous situation, then wouldn't the trail just be closed to mountain bikes during the dyke work?