Friday, April 29, 2011

Chill out and wait

Springtime in Alaska means many things, but you can always count on two: muddy trails, and dickheads who think it’s OK to ride on them.

Overnight temps have only recently started staying above the freezing point. There’s still snow scattered all over the place, and it’s melting. Unfortunately, not everyone understood what the science teacher was talking about when he explained the whole solid/liquid/gas thing.

Here’s a basic primer you can share with any morons you know who are rutting trails weeks before anyone should be riding on them:

Water vapor (gas) in the atmosphere eventually cools and coalesces into droplets (liquid) or, in winter, flakes of snow (solid) and falls to earth. When the liquid form falls as rain, it is absorbed into soil and—if absorbed in sufficient quantities—converts dry soil into a substance commonly referred to as mud, which is quite soft, and even fluid in extreme cases. Mud is especially prone to erosion and changes in the appearance and shape of its surface.

When snow (a solid, remember) falls and accumulates on the ground during winter, it routinely retains its solid form over long periods. As ambient temperatures rise, the snow melts into water (liquid), which is absorbed into the soil with the same results as described above.

To reduce damage and maintenance to areas of soil that have been modified for human use, hereby referred to as “trails,” it is recommended that recreational pursuits that might cause long-term harm to temporarily soft surfaces be postponed until the liquid in the soil evaporates into the surrounding air, thereby returning to gas form and beginning the cycle anew, and leaving the soil in a firm state. In regions above a latitude of 60 degrees N , this generally results in delayed gratification until approximately the beginning of June or, in some fortunate areas, the beginning of May.

During the month of April, you should grow the hell up and keep your selfish ass off the trails until they’re really dry. Until you do, I will keep hoping for a big stick (solid) to get flipped through your spokes, resulting in a crash that causes a flow of blood (liquid) from your sorry ass.

5 comments:

Flyboy said...

It is a worldwide phenomena.....dickheads are everywhere. Not sure what the answer is to keep them off the wet trails though.

Leo said...

Good one tim.

Vito said...

Flyboy is right. The dickhead seems to be a prevalent species worldwide and is in need of eradication.

Alby King said...

We had an interesting related phenomena this year in New England: All the extra snowfall actually insulated the ground preventing a deep frost line which in turn enabled fast absorption of said moisture leading to very dry trails very early. They sure didn't teach us that in school.

jasonlamoreaux said...

Alby - we are about opposite to that here in Alaska this year. We have very little snow early, but cold temperatures, so the ground froze pretty deep before getting insulated by snow. It looks okay at a glance from a distance, but when you get out there, it's soft and will remain like that for a while while the ground thaws.