Text and Photos by Dustin + Natalie Randall
Not every continent experiences the four seasons but to those who live with them, love them, brave them, or suffer them — the Seasons offer change. Not just a transition from hot to cold and cold to hot, it is also a transition from one form of human powered movement to another. For many it is the move from two wheels under foot to two planks under foot. These are some of the ways we prepare for, say goodbye (for a season), and hello to nature’s great transition!
First, get that last ride in the high country if you can. Enjoy the movement and forces of nature at work, let your two wheeled steed say goodbye to the high places for a time, but don’t forget to whisper your promise to visit them again (hopefully soon) on skis!
Second, focus on what you can ride and maybe dial it back a bit. Nothing worse than an injury at the end of a season to ruin the beginning of the next. Turn the pedals to keep the lungs and legs strong, skip the sketchy drop and hold back max speed in the rock garden. We might do longer rides on two tracks where you can keep the need for speed but also have a little more room for error.
Third, take your bike for a hike. For years I was a wildland firefighter, and a pre-fire season tradition I came up with was to shoulder my bike and take it on a ridiculous hike. I would try not to put it to the ground until I reached the destination. Hiking a bike long distance can be painful and awkward yet I found suffering through this helped my mental game when it came to long boot packs and big mile days. It mixes things up muscular and mental alike and lets you experience terrain differently.
Fourth, as the seasons start mixing so does my riding kit. Fall can bring it all; iced over streams and frost covered meadows in the morning, intense sun and high temps at noon, followed by an icy wind with snow flurries at the end of the day. Out comes the blessed winter gear storage trunk full of down, fleece, softshell, and gore-tex.
I usually choose the fjora flex 1 pants over shorts in the fall. I have used these pants for skiing, climbing and biking! The material hits the sweet spot of durability and breathability on cold days. If it warms up? Open generous vents. Sustained uphill? Roll the pants up. When it’s time to go down, roll down and zip up, the pant legs are trimmed when down to stay out of the chain and brush when riding.
Up top the fjora equaliser long sleeve has the zipper upfront and super breathable material in the back to adjust to swings in body and nature temps. The skibotn crew neck sweater is a favorite of mine, it’s near the top of the pack to be handy when it’s time to ride down. The two back zipper pockets keep little treats, buffs, liner gloves, and so on near at hand.
The Fjora dri1 jacket packs a one-two punch with its small size and wet weather/wind protection to make it into the pack if clouds threaten. If it’s going to be a long day, or an unexplored trail I pack the falketind down jacket, another personal favorite, as the backup piece. I love the synthetic insulation on the shoulders and especially the sleeves, it’s less frightening when working on a flat tire or broken chain, it’s easier to wash out chain oil and if you catch a sleeve on a chain ring you don’t have to worry about a down shower!
Fifth, depending on your location you might have to put up the trail bike but look for ways to utilize other two wheeled options. We are lucky enough to live in an area where we can pedal an old road or gravel bike a few miles to the high places and ski.
Perhaps the only downside to winter taking over for a season is the shorter daylight hours, but even this has its perks. Gather your friends, pull out the maps and start dreaming and planning for the next season while enjoying the one you’re in. It’s a never ending cycle!
Dustin and Natalie Randall spend their time in the Utah frontier with their son Roman. They explore the region by rope, skis, and bikes; in no particular order and often in combination. Together they own and operate Roam Industry, a guide and outfitter out of Monticello Utah. They enjoy small town living and all things human powered adventure.