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?