Thursday, February 08, 2007

Crazy fun singletrack

Date: Feb.8
Mileage: 30.4
February mileage: 172.6
Temperature upon departure: 25

I rode out to Dredge Lake today for some great trail riding. Everything was dialed in to the ideal setting. The trail was hard-packed and fast. Off-trail riding was crunchy and strenuous ... but rideable. The was a small section of snowmobile-groomed path, but most of the trail system was packed down in a single, narrow ski track that darted up steep hills and plummeted down winding slaloms through the rain forest. And for some strange reason, I was at the top of my game - hitting those hairpin turns with uncharacteristic precision, flying across the flat stretches and not bothering to gear down as I motored up another short hill. Big-ring snowbiking. Oh, if only winter could always be this friendly.

I actually ended up riding about 15 miles today entirely on snow. I think my average on the trails was about 9 or 10 mph. For me, on snow, that's like ... ai-yeeee fast. It never even felt like work. Geoff was at a nearby campground pounding out a short run to test his foot injury, which has given him less trouble in the past couple of days. I wanted to go find him and show him all the fun he was missing, and probably would have if the Mendenhall Lake was just a little more frozen. I rode a short distance on top of the shore ice ... about three inches of water below ... and heard quite a bit of cracking. So that was not to be.

I also learned the real stress of a rigid bike. For spending less than two hours riding on trails, my forearms are killing me. It didn't help that hundreds of dogs pounded endless pockmarks into the snow before it cemented over. I would spend 100 miles riding on snow like that, happily, but I'd probably jolt my fingertips into semi-permanent numbness.

I do my fair share of summer cycling ... both dirt and road. I've ridden my road bike to the corner store and I've ridden 109 miles of wilderness singletrack in one epic day. I was indoctrinated into mountain biking on the legendary trails of southern Utah. But, for me, there's just nothing quite as joyful as a rare, perfectly-dialed-in snow ride. Does this make me a bad person?

7 comments:

  1. I dont think it makes you a Bad person. It may mean you are out there alone while the rest of us watch in amazment... Ha, glad you had fun.

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  2. kiecker8:46 AM

    Do you follow Iditarod at all? Mike Curiak has won the 1150 mile race twice, 1st time in 16 hours. He's now attempting the same race completely unsupported pulling a 90lb trailer. Check out this thread on MTBR for an article from the Grand Junction Free Press and more information about Mike's custom Moots Snow Bike and trailer. The rig is out of this world! Fuel is stored in the frame some of the tubing.

    http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=267649

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  3. kiecker8:54 AM

    Oh you may have to be a member to see the picturs. I'm not sure how else to show it here. The photo is post #22 is definitely worth it. Other photos are contained in other threads. A quick search will show results.

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  4. Not a bad person at all....determined; slightly insane in the good way; absolutely, but bad? Naw, never!

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  5. Axess Denyd9:37 PM

    I just wanted to drop you a note to say how much I've enjoyed your blog. I just discovered it a couple of days ago after following a link from the Fat Cyclist, and I'm impressed.

    You have inspired me to begin my work commutes again in winter (it's only a Kentucky winter, but it's been dropping to the mid-teens in the morning).

    I've wanted to try a nice snowy mountain bike ride, but I'm not sure I can drive to the trailhead in the snow (it's close to 50 miles to the nearest trail, so that kinda nixes riding for me).

    Anyway, just wanted to let you know that you can be inspiring.

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  6. JoeDell12:45 PM

    kiecker said..."Mike Curiak has won the 1150 mile race twice, 1st time in 16 hours. "

    Is that right? 16 hours? I think it was 16 days.

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  7. jill

    have you considered a PRO-FLEX suspension stem?

    it may take just a little of the abuse off your arms

    not sure if they make them anymore...
    but
    I am sure there is one out there

    bet you have a faithful reader that has one in their parts bin in their basement

    in my rigid single speed I have a thudbuster seatpost...

    that said
    I am looking to get a suspension fork on my single for this year
    some rides just beat me up more than I care to hurt after a ride

    -zilla

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