All day I teetered on which bike I should go bikepacking with. It would have been cut and dry with the El Mariachi but then again outside was everything but “dry”. A raging snow storm had me grounded and I was considering just watching movies and canceling the entire weekend. But I couldn’t do that.
Finally I decided upon the my 29er which would keep me to the roads … right? When the snow let up and started to melt I made a break for it. It looked to me like the roads would be dry in an hours time.
It all looked good. Most of all, it felt good. I just wanted to rip up the first pass I could find. It seemed amazing to me that I could carry such a large load so quickly and effectively. I did not regret my decision on which bike at all. Even when it began to snow I didn’t care. I just pedaled my way up the first pass, attacking it like I was in a major bike race. I rejoiced on top … in the snow … which was not all that bad … yet.
I coasted down Battle Ridge Pass at such a blazing speed I was loving the extra weight. At the bottom I pedaled towards my first section of dirt road, Seitz Road. I was delighted to find dry land but looking ahead knew this was about to change. How could a area that escaped that last 48 hours of snow be all of a sudden in the path of a giant storm? I could see it coming and had a chance at the corner to make a decision. My second decision of the day. Road bike to White Sulfur Springs, spend the night with friends, and soak in a hot springs. Or! Head towards Flathead Pass some 8 miles and at around 7,000 feet. I started towards my friends place. I got 15 feet down the road and for some reason turned around and said, “what the hell”. I started towards Flathead Pass.
Seitz Road was muddy and started to drift in. But that was expected. I was determined to see how far I could get before turning around and maybe still heading to my friends place.
Then mud turned to snow and I was still not deterred so I turned onto Flathead pass Road. I would just bike hard through snow and slush and rest at the little land oases here and there.
Then I ran out of ground and knew from there on out it would be all snow. But I was only 3 miles away from the pass. Surely I could push that far … right?
After a hour and a mile covered the snow deepened. I stopped to take my last photo of the day. I could carry it for two miles right? It was still only 7 pm. Surely I could make the pass and off the other side by nightfall … right? And with those questions in my head I made my 3rd major decision of the day. I started carrying the bike … now I was committed.