Mama Nature Still in Control

Today I had time to reconsider risk and reward. The short explanation is that I am writing this from the comforts of a Motel 6 in Kelso, WA. Mama Nature came out to play. Written in the snow I was riding through, or perhaps whispered in the wind in my face, she said, “you think you can get away with a bike trip in November, see how you like it now.” At which point a car would pass me and send a wave of slush up and over my head. Was I surfing, or skiing? Surely anything but biking. I was soaked through to the bone, the temps hovered around 34 – 38 degrees, and still I persisted. I persisted for 7 hours and 55 miles. Riding into Longview/Kelso I was stuck in a single gear because my whole drive train was bogged down in slush and ice. One ring was open on my rear cassette, but I still couldn’t shift because my derailleur was to caked in crud. Since I was riding on backroads, I didn’t encounter much; little traffic (who must have been in shock at seeing a crazy biker in these conditions), or towns. My options were very limited, so I just kept pedaling south.

I don’t feel I was ever in particular danger, but often just one action away from danger. I was riding in the clear tire tracks that cars made in the slush, which forced me into the middle of the road and very exposed to traffic. All cars were then forced to jump track to the other lane. That was my concern, I was essentially putting cars and drivers at risk by my being on the road, and therefor, putting myself at risk. One car slides out trying to pass me, and that would have been it. Still, I had no options, so I rode on.

Camping would have been a joke, and maybe even more dangerous. There was not a patch of ground not covered in slush or open puddles. It would have been like pitching a tent in a kiddy pool. Temps are predicted to dip into the twenties tonight, so I would have been frozen into a block of ice. If I plan to make it to Portland tomorrow, the only way I could imagine it being possible was to start out in the morning with dry gear.

Maybe I am weak, and bowed out to the pressure of Nature early. But, maybe I am just not ready to be that crazy masochistic lunatic out riding his bike in the middle of winter. As far as I could see today (not that far, to many snow flakes in the face) there really wasn’t much point to what I was doing. Miles for the sake of miles, all in the grand scheme of making it to Argentina. At its core it is a bike trip, an adventure, but not a needless death-wish or torture regiment.

2 Responses to “Mama Nature Still in Control”

  1. Annie McNamara says:

    And you told me not to worry. Loved the calendar, thanks

  2. pete blau says:

    Hey Duesch,
    I will arrive in portland on Turkey Day, give a holla you hear!
    (406) 570-5890

    love pete

Leave a Reply