In the saddle: Rain over me |

In the saddle: Rain over me

Bob Ward
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

BASALT – This last weekend wasn’t even one of the rainiest or wettest among recent weekends, but my two days of bike riding were dominated by either mud leftover from rain, the threat of rain, or actual rain.

That’s not a complaint, because I had a great time. It’s just an observation about the nature of the local riding these days. One way or another, the rain and its aftermath can’t help but figure into your plans.

Saturday was a mountain bike ride on Basalt Mountain. We started at the trailhead above Spring Park Reservoir and rode the Forest Service road 5.4 miles to the top. There was an unusual amount of mud on the road and, sure enough, when we struck out on the singletrack from the gate at the top of the road, we were soon deep in squishy mud and walking our bikes around huge pools of standing water.

We changed plans, went back downhill and rode a shorter loop, then added a “bonus loop” on another little singletrack above Cattle Creek. The trails were soft everywhere, and occasionally downright messy; we came home covered in mud, but happy and satisfied. And the sun shined the entire time.

On Sunday, remembering Saturday’s sun, I had a bacon-and-egg breakfast and started rather late on a road ride from Basalt to Meredith. I had been overly confident about the weather; clouds were already gathering when I left home, and I got clobbered by rain and hail on the return trip, on my way up the grade between Meredith and Ruedi Dam.

Fortunately the pounding only lasted about 10 minutes and the temperature was still fairly warm. Below the dam, the clouds parted and by the time I rolled back into Basalt it was warm and clear.

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All in all, a great weekend of riding. It just involved more mud and rain than usual. Of course, if things continue this way, summer 2009 may redefine “usual.”

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