At last it is slightly easier on work, freezes are passing and after more than 1 month of work without holidays and with half-sleepless nights, I managed to go to ride in forest to the mountains, exercise my legs and relive myself from winter freezings. This time I rode not alone and agreed to ride to Old Man Rock and middle and northern rocks of Shunuth Mountain with 3 local skiers and bicycles riders. Part of them in technical and equipment areas and in physical training too were not completely prepared for such ride, so, we agreed, that everybody will look on their own strengths and other factors and decide for themselves how far they’ll be able to ride and walk to Shunuth.
They are riding, joking and laughing – do not know what awaits them ahead; this exhaust very much and knocks down psychological and physical tune to overcome the things, that are ahead; because here not jokes and joy are needed, but mostly sternness and even hardness are, otherwise psychology will stop and turn back there, where weather and conditions allow and there is ability to go further. In result : as soon as asphalt ended up and potholes with puddles and snowy mass in some areas started – strong words on Summer-time road tires or with weak physical exercising started to sound aloud in the forest, I did not heard them too much, because not much can be heard from so far behind, but sometimes they were reaching me from a distance. Then two of adventurers understood, that they’ll not be able to ride any further, than Large Lavrovka village, somebody due to technical state of their bicycle, somebody due to weak physical state, but both mostly due to psychological and physiological tune. Two of those, who rode to Shunuth Mountain, even smoked : this kills, but here lungs, heart, neural system and muscles are needed, so, they should free themselves from such killing habit or only dream about long-distance rides, because in really long trips they’ll fall down from bicycles. Further we rode with local bicycle-skier Andrey. We agreed, that we will wait those, who lag behind, near Large Lavrovka, but they rode too slow and we were not able to wait for them for too long, because we had long and difficult way ahead and it the same in a returning trip, and Sun sets at this time at 7:30 p.m., so, we were not able to stay on one place for 30 minutes or longer, cooling down and freezing. All in all, they made right decision to not ride any further, because the hardest part is ahead and they would not withstand this.
After Large Lavrovka on the field there is a rolled down snowmobile road goes on and there is ability to more or less walk on it, however legs and bicycles periodically went knee deep or even higher in the snow; near cordon we slightly strayed on the snow-filled roads with drenching pants knee high and even higher and filling boots with melting snow; there was even wish to turn back there and return home, if there was no road, because in the snow drifts with bicycles we would got stuck; but away from cordon on the fields near it there are good rolled down roads go on, so we walked further. On the fields snow is the most loose, so it was the most hard to walk on them, in the forest it is much more dense and solid, so we walked freely there and there were even ability to easily push bicycle nearby. Andrey placed his 16 kg down-hill bicycle shortly after large field near cordon, I raised my 11 kg MTB around to half of a Konovalov Ridge height and then placed it too near tree in the forest to wait for our returning back, when road started to be much more steep and not so rolled-down, further we walked much faster on the light. This time snow-mobile road is much more packed and leads much further, than in January, we walked to North-South road and turned North on it; then arrived to sign “Strictly protected nature area Shunuth-Rock Mountain” and to turn to Old Man Rock : hope arose, that we will reach it : now there are around 500 m up to it, now there are 300, we already managed to Konovalov Ridge passage and from the West, without protection of the mountain, wind started to blow; but not reaching 200 m to the Old Man Rock snow-mobile turned South and further covered with melting snow road laid ahead of us, on which we fell in snow-drifts up to the stomach level, further there was ability to move only by crawling on the snow, but even so hands and legs periodically went into it without reaching bottom; so, even those 200 m on such road would took of us 2 – 3 hours of crawling there and back the same and completely drenched our clothes + we wanted to ride at least part of road from Large Lavrovka village while there is still dusk above the forest, so that we would not walk on feet whole path to asphalt road. We checked road to the South for approximately 100 m, but it did not turned West to Old Man Rock, so we decided to return home from here : further I’ll ride into such trips only without snow, to not depend on snow-mobiles whims and to not turn back after such 50 – 55 km in 200 m away from the chosen target.
Returning slightly back : there is ability to say, that in his eyes and on all face view, it was clearly visible, that it is hard for him on the fields with bicycle, he has strengths and physical exercising, but his psychology after jokes, laughing, songs and illusions about “to lite some bonfire, to cook some food and to sit and talk” stood in a shocked state from what is going on, and wishes to turn back or walk further were fighting inside of him. I encouraged him as much, as I could : “After this you’ll had what to remember, you’ll be able to tell to your grandchildren how you walked to Shunuth Mountain on the snow in April,” – “There is a Konovalov Ridge ahead, Old Man Rock and Shunuth are peaks of it,” – “Around 4 km are left,” – “3,” – “There’ll be small river, crossing road, it can be jumped over,” – “Here is it,” – “Further there’ll be North-South road, we’ll walk North on it,” – “Then we’ll meet ‘Strictly protected nature area Shunuth-Rock Mountain‘ sign, we’ll walk West from it,” – “Here is it, now 500 m – 1 km to the West and we will arrive to Old Man Rock sign and then to rock itself,” – “In the face wind started to blow from the West, so we arrived to pass of a Konovalov Ridge and it is already close,” … I hope, that this helped him a little, but in any case : fighting goes on inside human himself or herself and human will pluck up a courage and will walk so much, how far weather and conditions allow to go, when walking any further can have consequences to his or hers life and health, or will turn back much earlier and go home. To his credit it can be said : he has physical training and ability to withstand and walk through all this. From one side : when I walk and ride alone – it is easier for me, because I lead only myself and I just switch on movement forward and walk further; however, with other people in such situations they move not on their own, they are walking there, where I lead them, and, if they’ll be left alone, then they can turn back and walk home, and this is slightly harder, because I lead not only me, but other people too; however, if there are other peoples nearby, then this stimulates me to rotate pedals and ride much faster and not just freely ride, look around and admire views and fresh air, and the same way on the uphill path to the mountain. So, all this have its pluses and minuses and it is useful to ride this way and the other.
We ate and drunk some tea near Old Man Rock, to replenish strengths and nutrition before way back home; it is much easier to walk from the mountain, here is a North-South road, then turn to East, here is my bicycle, small river, crossing road, here are fields near cordon and Andrey’s bicycle; and further second larger field lays, we sweat on it, then in the forest near cordon road is much easier and we walked through it without a problems and arrived to large field near Large Lavrovka. During day snow melted on it much more and became much more loose, so even those 500 m with frequent legs and bicycles goings into snowdrifts exhausted us very much, so we managed to the exit from it quite tired, then small rest with bicycles technical maintenance followed, ahead is walking via quite flooded road with snowy mess and potholes on it up to village and entrance to rolled down road near it.
Near Large Lavrovka even in the ending dusk on melting road with fresh snow cars and bicycles tracks were clearly visible, so there was ability to more or less ride on it. After 30 km walking on the snow in heavy winter boots, pushing bicycle nearby and periodical pulling it and myself from falling into snowdrifts knee or higher deep, my legs started to exhaust quite much, during riding on the bicycle it was not felt, but further on the clay areas there was no ability to ride, at light time there is ability to ride there, but in the darkness bicycle on such potholes and snowy mess often stuck and slips from one side to the other. So, on these 12 km of walking it started to switch me off and often we made stops to rest, take off exhausting and activate again; there were even wish to take some fir tree branches, go to sleep in forest ( thank you to the weather there were 0 – +2 degrees on Celsius above the forest ) and ride all this mess at morning with Sun-light on the bicycle, to not exhaust so much. For all that walking on feet on such distances in such conditions – is not my kind of sport, it is much easier for me to ride 150 – 200 km on the bicycle, even on the ground roads and trails in forest, I almost do not tire from this, than to walk for 40 km. So, next time I’ll ride in such journeys only without snow or with its 1 – 2 cm thickness in the first half of October, when there is ability to ride on the bicycle in the forest, to not invest so much time and strengths into walking on the feet. And next time I’ll take with me more food with meat, because carbohydrates, of course, give energy, but after so long and intense work there is need in complete feeding, to walk such distance, if needed. To Andrey’s credit : he prepared in this area better, then I, also he took with him replacing warm and dry socks, next time I’ll account this experience.
The most interesting was ahead : while we rode and walked to Shunuth, Heavens’ Manna – asphalt almost completely melt and became dry, as soon as clay area ended and it began : strictly straight line separated snowy mess from good and smooth asphalt, as soon as I sat on the bicycle, started to rotate pedals and started to feel cohesion of tires with the road and speed : all my exhausting and pain passed at once, and what “To stay in the forest for the night” : “To home!” – after this, for sure, I’ll rode there. Closer to night it started to freeze and rear shifters of both of us froze completely and turned into single-speeds, so, periodically transmissions were not optimal, but this did not disturbed us at all and we just rotated pedals to home; also on rims and bushings of both of my wheels by around 0.5 kg of ice froze up, so it was harder to spin them up, then without it, but this did not disturbed any much too.
On one of the crossroads on the entrance to Northern part of Polevskoy we said “Good bye” to each other till our next meeting and went further independently, I arrived to home at 2 hours o’clock of night : everything to dry, wash myself, eat food and go to sleep. Next : continuation of the trainings in the city, reconnaissance of the roads and preparation to the competitions in the rides to mountains; at Spring, when everything will melt and more or less dry and wood ticks will calm, we will for all that manage to Shunuth : Old Man Rock and its middle and northern rocks, because to ride and to walk 50 – 55 such km and turn back in 200 m away from Old Man Rock : not very interesting, it is very useful to breath fresh air, to be on nature and exercise legs and whole organism, but there is a large desire to arrive to set target. While wood ticks are very active, on trainings in rides to Shunuth I’ll ride only on ground and stony forest roads and will not turn to grassy ones to rocks to not cling dangerous blood-suckers. At this Summer, at beginning of June I’ll ride to Taganay, there are plans to ride to other mountains, but we’ll see how ride to Taganay will go on and what load will be on the work and it’ll be seen, maybe, these plans will be adjusted slightly. Plus : main marathons, part of XCOs and part of other competitions of this season. This is all for today, see you on the next event.
You can see additional photos here : additional photos of ride to Konovalov Ridge and Old Man Rock in April of 2016 year.