So yesterday I contemplated an attempt with the bike, of course, on Mt. Grace. But put it off to another day.
That turned out to be today.
Promised Gail I would behave myself, ie. not do anything stupid, though I suppose just starting this outing was stupid. But I've always felt that I have at least some common sense. I remember one time long ago with a group of runners, we were doing a traverse of the Presidential's, south to north, midsummer, and the weather was not good. Got up somewhere near Eisenhower and the rain started coming down harder and the wind getting stronger and the temperature dropping, and I stopped and said I was going back, this was crazy. Talked the others into too. As it happened, someone died up there that day.
And so today I was totally ready to turn back if conditions called for. Not the weather, specifically, though this time of year any accident that limits your mobility can get very serious, very quickly. Just because of the cold.
Started from Northfield, just to make a proper climb of it. Felt OK on the half-hour climb up the Warwick road, then circled around to the east side of Mt. Grace and headed up the access road. There was snow in the woods in places, and I had no idea what the jeep trail to the tower would be like.
First obstacle was the gate, nothing you could get under or through, easy to climb over but not so easy with a bike. There was a stile on one side, also easy to climb over, and then lots of barbed wire and electric fencing. Took a bit of figuring to determine the best way to get the bike over, eventually sort of swung it up and around and over everything. Time to start climbing.
And there was snow on the road, sporadically at first. Very old snow, crusty, a little icy sometimes, sometimes smooth, sometimes footprints had chopped it up. Made it a couple hundred yards, hit the first bit of snow and under the rules for the day, if there was any doubt, get off before you fall off.
A break at this point, off came the booties, figured I might have to do a bunch of walking, no point in trashing them, plus less traction. Walked not much, back on the bike, working my way up. Probably got off a couple more times for short bits, but generally making good progress until I was about 300' below the summit.
At this point the road got a little steeper, and there was definitely more snow, very little bare ground now, plus a little more ice. Well, time to walk a bit. And so I walked. And walked some more, And walked some more, trying to remember where the ice was (black ice, had melted and refrozen, the worst kind, no grip at all). Took a while. And then maybe 100 yards before the tower, back on the bike as the road flattened out.
Took the obligatory photo (evidence), climbed the tower. easy to see Monadnock, Quabbin, Toby, but there was a lot of haze, so no sign of Wachusett, or Greylock, or the southern Green Mountains. Or, I suppose, Pomeroy... :-)
Beautiful day, the haze notwithstanding, sun and clouds, low 30s, S 5-10.
Back down the tower. And then back down the road, which was mostly a pain in the ass, hanging onto to the brakes, feet unclipped, never knew what the bike would do, trying to not take any chances.
Once more past the gate, gave the bike a better swing this time (first time the rear wheel dropped onto a piece of barbed wire, and I figured that wasn't the smartest thing).
Back on with the booties, around to the west side of the mountain and then six miles of downhill. Maybe I'm getting acclimated, wasn't even cold, though I was pedaling all the way down to generate a little heat.
Fine outing. As good as it gets these days.