At first, it was just mud. And the mud was fun, maybe just a little slippy, but mountain biking through mud feels really elemental and soulful.
As we climbed higher on Middle Peak, the snow patches alongside the trail crept quietly until at last they covered the width of the fire road. You could ride through the shallow spots at first. Then it got deeper and you had to walk. I noticed that Mark’s track through a snow patch would start out with just wheel marks and then you could see where he dismounted and walked. I resolved to ride farther than he did on each snow drift.
Around a switchback the snow was omnipresent, covering the entire trail, as far as I could see. Mark stood about 50 feet up and called down to me, “Go up or go down?” He already knew the answer, but was just checking to be polite.
With Mark’s question, I saw the world split into two distinct groups. The first larger group would reply, “Bummer about the snow, but we better head back.” The second, much smaller group would exclaim, “We go to the top!”
I was proud to be in the smaller group as we continued climbing. It got harder, of course. Deadfalls across the trail became a constant problem. So did cold feet. We continued on, nevertheless, joking that the Search and Rescue Team would ask themselves, “Why didn’t they just stop?”
On the descent along Green Valley Fire Road, the snow gave way to mud and two boys played.