What can you do when a snow storm dumps more than five inches on a Tuesday in late February in the mountains of western North Carolina? Schools are closed. Roads are treacherous—if you’re lucky, the power is on. Should you build up the fire in the woodstove and hunker down? Maybe, but if you’re fortunate enough to live just down the road from the famous Tsali Trails, you can do like I did: get out your mountain bike and go for a ride.
Riding a bike in the snow takes a little getting used to. For one, you can’t go as fast. The snow slows you down and to be honest, going fast is pretty scary—you can’t do anything too quickly. Try to make a sudden dodge or hop and likely you’ll go down. But you don’t want to go too slow either; you need a certain amount of momentum just to stay upright and keep from spinning out. And don’t even think about looking back over your shoulder. Do anything that throws off your balance, just a little, and you’ll find yourself slipping one way and then another until you either regain your control or turn into a human snowball.
Given all this, is it worth it? You bet. The woods are beautiful, quiet, and peaceful. Likely you’ll have them to yourself—I did. Check out all the animal tracks. Was that a deer that crossed the trail? What big bird has been walking here? Even the little mice leave their tiny trails. And if you’re looking for a workout, you’ll get that too. The slightest uphill requires a pumping spin that you can’t let up on until you reach the top.
Snow comes to this part of the south rarely. Finding a way to enjoy it instead of dreading it is the key to getting through those cold winter days. Spring will be here soon enough.