January Thaw

The January thaw is an observed but unexplained temperature rise in mid-winter found in mid-latitude North America.During this “thaw” period, usually lasting for about a week, temperatures are generally about 10 °F (6 °C) above normal. This varies from year to year, and temperatures fluctuate enough that such a rise in late-January temperature would be unremarkable; what is remarkable (and unexplained) is the tendency for such rises to occur more commonly in late January than in mid-January or early February, which sinusoidal estimates have to be slightly warmer. — Wikipedia

Mid-60s temperatures, shorts, the Rocky Mountains, and dirt

Dry trails in our neighbor to the south and temperatures in the 60s?!  Time to break out the mountain bike – ’nuff said!

Road riding gets to me.  I’m not a roadie at heart.  The monotony of the road can drive me bonkers, and there’s always the fear in the back of my head some redneck or angry idiot will take too much offense to me using the right most 12 inches of the road and decide to do something crazy and harmful.  So when I saw that temperatures were suppose to reach the 60s, I quickly researched trail conditions in Fort Collins to see if there was a possibility of getting off the roads and on the trails.  Oh boy, I was in luck!

Thursday, January 24th Matt and I headed down to ride the Blue Sky trail outside of Fort Collins, which connects to Devil’s Backbone in Loveland.  We took the Epics on a day pass from prison (um, ok, layaway.  Feels like prison… they told me so!), and exposed our blindingly white legs to the world.

My Epic! Soon she’ll be able to come home for good
No snow in sight… great for January mountain biking, not looking so good for this summer’s fire outlook


I’ll be blinding them with neon white at my first race!


Matt, his Epic, and the mountains with no snow!
Climbing Indian Summer

Oh man, I forgot how hard mountain biking is!  It’s a big readjustment going from 3 months on the road/trainer back to the trails.  Luckily I didn’t have any crashes (amazing for me!) and soon found a rhythm.  The Epic still isn’t sized me to, so I know it’ll feel more comfortable with a shorter stem and new seat.  I still can’t get over how fast the bike is!  We rode about 13.5 miles and headed out for some Mexican food.  Great reward for a long day getting my “dirtie” legs back under me!

Not to miss out on the warm weather, on the 26th I headed back down with 4 guys from Cheyenne for a group ride on the same trail.  Epic-less, I dragged out the good ol’ Giant, which I grumbled about riding.  Much to my surprise, the bike isn’t really that bad aside from the tires which were sketchy at moments, and the retarded half SPD/half platform pedals.

Not as sunny, not as warm, but just as much fun!
Laughing Horse Loop… I mean, the hike a bike trail. Or the “I fall and land in a bush” trail. Either way, I missed my full squish


Devil’s Backbone… I’m truly smiling like an idiot in this photo!


Jon and Dustin spent a lot of time trying to clear certain technical sections. Something I should probably try doing sometime… 😛
Check out the great positioning of my elbow pads, LOL. Ponytail adjusting time!

Saturday I had a better rhythm, and felt better and stronger in my climbing.  Which is ironic, considering I was riding a bike that is 10 pounds heavier than the Epic, and geared more wonky.  Maybe it’s not about the bike?!  I can’t quite decide… I only fell once, and it was really that I just fell over into a bush that caught me and held me upright.  Still bruised up the left knee.  Then carrying my bike down a technical feature I slipped and bruised my butt pretty bad.  But damn, the elbow pads are completely fall repellent in my mind!  We finished out 15.03 miles at a nice, easy pace which was awesome.  The trail was a little crowded and busier than I liked, but I guess that’s what happens when it’s 50 degrees in January on a Saturday in Colorado, right?

My faith is now restored in my Giant Rainier.  I think the plans are some better tires (probably the same that the Epic comes with), and normal SPD pedals (no more hybrid crap).  What I like about my Giant is I’m not afraid to scratch it or wreck it, as it’s already beat up.  It’s a great bike to go out and try some crazy stuff with.  The Epic I’m still too scared to scratch, and of course it still needs tweaks to make it fully comfortable.

Getting out on the trails was just beyond awesome… and makes me do a whole lot less of this:

Going bananas road riding…

And wouldn’t you know, it’s all snowy and cold again.  I’m thinking I”ll hit up the trainer in the basement and then head to the gym.  Finally getting back on a mountain bike reminded me I have absolutely no arm strength, which leads to some sketchy moments on the bike.  Hopefully the “resolutionists” won’t be hogging all the equipment… LOL!

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