Two riders got out yesterday for a lunchtime workout in the hills of West Virginia. Birdman and the Fat Cat started out in cold weather but on clear roads. Being averse to clear roads this time of the year, they headed up steep old Mayfield. The climb kept the furnaces burning and the toes warm while it degenerated into a rocky stream of winter runoff.
The Grimpeurs plunged down the other side on Mt Zion road, bunny hopping potholes and shedding glassy shards of ice from their rims with each squeeze of the brakes. Two youts shouted out something ending in “giddyap.” Who knows what preceded that. One can only imagine, being that we were in deepest, darkest. As the Grimpeurs headed out towards Masontown the snow really started to come down.
It was decided that the bike path would be the best way down the hills they had traversed. The 3% average grade and absence of traffic would alleviate the need for braking, allow the riders to control the effort instead of being at the mercy of wind chill and it would be to the liking of their hardy bikes.
The trackless white of the path was stunning. The powder churned up from the tires and through the forks like shavings from a metalworker’s lathe. Birdman must have been getting cold because he quickly shucked off the sight-seeing pace and stoked the old internal fires. He had the Fat Cat just on the red line all the way down. The snow fell harder, the eyes stung more and the effort increased to levels that had The Cat feeling like some musher in a desperate bid to deliver vaccine to stranded, diphtheria stricken, Inuits. But, he wasn’t cold.
The final six miles over Dug Hill and into Cheat Lake were gloriously horrible. The roads were covered and untreated in the heart of a snowstorm. Cars were parked along the roadside, unable to top the hills. All the while Earnestina’s tires just kept digging in. You know you’re having fun when someone yells out from their porch, “Be Careful!” What a wonderful world.