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30 miles of white… knuckles

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Yesterday was sketchy. Not “this is fun!” sketchy, more like shaking-when-I-got home sketchy. There was something unusual about the snow that fell in Denver this week. I think the combination of quantity and the consistently frigid temperatures combined to make it more treacherous than I’ve ever seen. It was extremely dry snow but simultaneously as slick as snot. After a hand full tense slides and maneuvers of I probably should have turned around at mile 10 and cut my losses, but the allure of Cherry Creek State Park when it is covered in a layer of white perfection baited me on.

Most people are too smart to go on rides like this, so my goal was to bring back some photos to share the feeling of being out there. Cold, vulnerable, but happy. I snapped as many shots as I could. Frozen batteries in my cameras warned me not to push my luck. After a while I decided that stopping and taking my gloves off to push the shutter was no longer a smart idea, especially after the sun dipped below the horizon and it’s warm encouragement faded.

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I knew that I was losing body heat faster than I was replacing it, but toes are more or less disposable and I developed a hand reheating method of balling up one inside of my glove while using the other one to steer or slow down. Actually, who am I kidding? Slowing down with brakes was a sure way to wipe out so I barely touched them in those 30 miles, instead preferring to rally through the scary stuff and pucker hard hoping for the best. It mostly worked. Butt cheeks never impacted frozen tundra but some Bambi/Thumper-esque tripoding did occur.

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The reward for all of this was having the paths and park almost completely to myself in the fading light of the day. If you’d have asked me when I got home yesterday if it was worth it I would have said no. Too many close calls. But if you ask me today I’d say yes. It was another adventure I won’t soon forget and wouldn’t trade for the relative safety of my desk chair. Desk chairs are the new cancer, after all.

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