Sunday, April 11, 2010

Season 2010...It's on.

The bison in the photo below looks more nimble than I feel on the bike. I've had a serious case of winter blahs this year. I've done some riding here and there, but nothing sustained. Whenever the weather cooperated I had some excuse not to go out.

The season finally got underway for me with yesterday's Yellowstone Park Ride with the Gallatin Valley Bicycle Club.

My nephew Brian and I set off for West Yellowstone on Saturday morning. There was nary a cloud in the bright blue sky as the sun was coming up, but it was chilly. Others reported temps of around 7 degrees on the drive down through Gallatin Canyon. When our group set off at about 10:15 a.m. temps were in the 20's, but on the rise. By the end of the ride in the early afternoon it was nice and toasty in the low 40's (that's toasty for West Yellowstone in April).

The April ride in Yellowstone has become a nice tradition for our bike club over the years. The Park is still closed to motor vehicle traffic, but the roads have been plowed and are nice and dry. Other than a rare car of a park employee, cyclists have the Park all to themselves (at least the portion they let us ride in). It's a rare treat to have such nice roads virtually car-free-along with the incredible scenery and occasional wildlife. Anyone who knows anything about Yellowstone knows that riding a bike after it has opened to cars isn't quite so much fun.

Due to some road construction by Gibbon Falls, our ride was cut a few miles short, but we still got a nice easy spin of 37 miles done. I wish the Park staff would let us go towards Old Faithful, instead of Norris Junction, but apparently that way is a "bear management" area (whatever that means).

I rode very easy-staying with several other riders, most of whom are also just waking up their legs after the long winter. I felt great-just warmed up really-at the end. I considered turning around and riding the route again-but Brian, who is just getting in cycling, had had enough. He rode very well-it probably won't be long and he'll be dropping me.

Riding in the Park without the cars is a great thing and a rare treat. If I was King of the World-I'd close the Park to motor vehicles for about two weeks in the middle of the summer and turn it over to bicycles and other human powered vehicles. Seriously, I think they should do it-people would come from all over the world to ride! It'll never happen-but I can dream. At least we get the opportunity for a little taste in April.