Unexpected Gifts

We had a week of rain, snow, ice, with sleet in there somewhere. By yesterday I was stir crazy so I headed out to the W&OD to see if enough pavement was clear to get in a good ride.

W&OD Ashburn Rd

I might need to redefine “good ride.” This is an intersection with the W&OD trail where the other side was clear, the crosswalk was clear, but the west side was like this (I turned around to take the photo). I gingerly walked through it.

Then I discovered I couldn’t clip in. I felt like a cyclo-cross rider – too much detritus in my clips! I banged my clips to no avail. Finally got back off the bike, dug out my car key, and used it to flip the ice out of the clip.

From there to the next intersection was a nice ride. Pavement mostly dry in at least one lane.

I saw three joggers and only two other cyclists on the trail, and they were together, heading the opposite direction from me.

There were only a couple of places, mostly where roads were overhead, that looked like this:

W&OD Ashburn Village Rd

More digging out ice.

My tires are a little wider than the typical “skinny” tires of road bikes, but I’m a bit gunshy about ice and snow. In December 2015 I crashed on an icy bridge (that did not look even wet) and broke my thumb. It didn’t really heal for about 6 months and it was a pain to deal with. Since I’m getting ready to head out for spring rides, I didn’t want to take any chances.

I was only able to ‘ride’ about 15 miles total and there was more walking than I wanted to do, but it was still good. There were so few trail users out and that’s always awesome. I find that when the trail is quiet, I get to be respectful of the other trail users by slowing down and watching the way they move.

If you look closely on the ridge line, you can see a bunch of deer looking down at me. I couldn’t figure out why they hadn’t run off, but then about 8 feet away from me, a young deer came from the north embankment, lightly ran across the trail, and up the embankment to join them. There were 7 total, unafraid of me, and enjoying the day on the trail with few humans.

So yes, I’m looking forward to dry pavement and sunshine, but this was an unexpected last blast of winter gift.

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