A frozen slip and slide

Some things in life are more difficult in the snow.  Activities such as building a house, sunbathing and gardening come to mind.  Some activities are easier in the snow; such as skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling.

And then there is riding a road bike (with aerobars) in the snow.  That would fall into the category of ‘less than ideal’.  I figured that with temperatures in the mid/upper 30’s, and with 2-3 days since the last snow – that the WO&D trail would be generally clear.  After all, the majority of it is in the sun and while most of the ground still has traces of snow – the roads/sidewalks and trails have since cleared.

Except that apparently didn’t apply about a mile from where I started out on a 2 hour road ride this afternoon.  Less than 60 seconds into the ride as I started up a hill there was snow on the trail.  No biggie I figured, I can get through this.  It cleared a few dozen yards later and I was off and cooking again.  Then half a mile later crossing a bridge – more snow.  Now we’re not talking deep powder, we’re talking wet mushy yet crunchy snow.  You know – the last stage before the snow fully disappears into just a puddle of water.  Like a big slushie.

And then a third of a mile later – I ran into this vast expanse of white stuff:



Ummm…crap.  I could see further down the trail, and it was only going to get worse.  Quite crossable in a mountain bike, but I was sliding all over the place in my road bike.  So I turned around, and headed back towards downtown DC (on my bike).  The trail got better the closer to DC I got, but I was taking a huge hit on my average speed.  Primarily because I kept running into 25 or so yard patches of snow, which I would have to carefully navigate and then get back up to speed.   The first hour – I averaged only 15mph.  That’s 5-6 mph below my average for this section of trail.  Ouch.

I ended up wandering down to the Potomac via some rather weird routing occasionally onto local roads and parts of Four Mile Run.  From there I hit up the Mt. Vernon trail and connected to Curtis trail, and then back to the fun on the W&OD trail to get to my car.  A wee bit circular, and 10-15 miles shorter than what I had set out to accomplish.  I’ll toss in a hard trainer workout tomorrow in an effort to make up for it.  I did get some nice good 20mph+ sections though along the Potomac, as that was both dry and empty.


As an side – I got my first run in yesterday since getting Runner’s Knee.  It’s soooo nice to get out and run.  Had no problems whatsoever, and kept a nice casual 7:50/mile pace for a 5K loop around a nearby lake and then along the river I live on.  My shins are a touch bit sore – but that’s somewhat expected due to lack of running for two months.  Obviously I’ll have to be careful with that one and focus on running initially softer surfaces to avoid Shin Splints.  But all in all – good start to the weekend!


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  1. Oh gees, you are way more hard core than I would ever be! My bike is securely in the basement on the trainer. Not that I even ride it on the trainer, but whatev.

    And a bar-hopping fun run would definitely be rad – I think with 43 miles between the two breweries at brew to brew that it can’t be considered “hopping” :-)

  2. I agree with Danielle. From late October until things warm up in early March I am downstairs on my trainer.

    You are definitely tougher than me.

  3. Good on ya for getting out for the ride. And definitely good on ya for recognizing that it wasn’t very safe and heading for “greener” pastures.

    Take that knee slowly. No sense in pounding it too hard yet.

  4. Skinny tires w. snow and ice – that’s just crazy!

    Good news on the running, glad you’re taking care on the ramp up.

  5. It appears there was more snow out to the west than we had in town, nor did it melt. Better you than me on the trails in the snow and ice.

    I did get in an 8 mile run yesterday. Now its me, Sonny Crocket and my trainer.

  6. “wet mushy yet crunchy snow”–you almost make it sound yummy! yep, you’re in d.c.

    the farther out you go towards leesburg (sounds like that was your direction), the worse it got.

    Not that I know from personal experience or anything. My bike is safely stashed at work until spring comes!

    But nice job coming up with a RIDE! (I do think the CCT is pretty clean. I’ll find out in the a.m.)!

  7. The CCT was mostly clear on Saturday with only a few patches of icy slush–nothing like your pictures of the W&OD. Bicyclists were out during our 20K run on the CCT, and I looked on in amazement as they hit those slushy patches and slipped sideways a few inches. Of course, one bicyclist provided me with all my pre-race excitment down on K strett under the Whitehurst as were milling around waiting for the race to start. The street was clear of cars (they honked at us milling runners anyway). Talking to someone I took a half-step to the side and a speeding bicyclist went wizzing by at 15 mph, close, heading for the trail. Man, I complained, that guy came within inches of me. That wouldda hurt! No, said an onlooker. Within one inch. Yikes! Is there a fund runners can contribute to for bells for bikes?

    I’m glad you’re back to running. Nice pace. I’ll bet it felt good.

  8. I’m stuck on the “casual 7:50 pace” after two months off. Whoa! That’s fast!
    As far as biking in the snow… You are one brave soul. I’m scared to ride outside when it’s a little damp and sandy, let alone snowy and icy! Geez!

  9. Brrr, I don’t mind the snow etc but never in lycra!

    Glad to hear the knee is feeling good.