Sunday, January 29, 2012

Gettin' It While I Can

Along The Cedar River
Saturday was beautiful out, and before all of our snow gets roached by the Sun, I decided to head over East of my casa to check out my typical winter riding hangouts.

One of the reasons I wanted to get Big Fat Larrys was to get the little bit of extra float that they might provide over the 3.8"ers I used on this bike last year. I knew that over the years a lot of snowmobile traffic goes along the river, so I had high hopes of getting the BFL's into an area where they would actually be a benefit.

I started to get close to where the trails pick up and I saw a hopeful sign. Snomobile tracks heading west. Certainly that meant they would go east and towards more open country. Well, I was wrong! I got down onto the paved bike path which was covered in snow and post-holed with lots of pedestrian traffic.

Okay, so it would be a bumpy ride then! I focused and made it down and around and across to where I like to stop for a photo op. These big limestone blocks make a nice backdrop for bicycle photos. Atleast I think so

Follow the footprints!
Well, after that photo op, I had more post-holed trail to follow until I found some buried snowmobile tracks. I hit these and made better time, even though they were underneath a few inches of snow and were hard to make out going into the bright sunshine. I just "thought like a snowmobiler", and that worked out until I crossed a road and went up on top of a dike where it was really easy to see the trail the machines left behind.

This turned and went down. I had a blast descending this snowmobile trail, but I forgot that the weight distribution for not "punching through" and the weight distribution for descending don't match up all the time. Actually, to be honest, I didn't forget that, I learned that! I don't know if I could have saved it. Maybe going slower is the key.

Well, at any rate, I was following the snowmobile tracks and they doubled back to where I had come. Bah! That's no fun. I had seen something veering off the dike earlier though, so I figured I would go and investigate that before heading back toward home.

Now THIS is why I got the BFL's!
I trundled along the dike until I found a snowmobile track heading eastward down the steep slope of the dike. I followed and had a bit of a thrilling ride down the slope full of loose, deep snow, but I stayed upright. Then through the small opening in a chain link fence.

After this I found an undulating, twisting, turning trail that a few snowmobiles had layed down. My bike was tracking nicely along this, but as opposed to having my weight back a fair amount, here I needed to allow for more of a weight balance between the wheels. This kept my rear tire from "punching through" and kept me motoring along the snowmobile track.

Then the track doubled back again! What is it with these snowmobilers? Well, I went back util I found a branch off where a truck had made it part way back into the woods. I followed its tracks out to a paved road. At this point I could see I was along the ATV park, which was fenced off from the road. I decided to try and find my way in by following the road back eastward along the fence line.

Ice fisherman on Mitchell Sand Pit Lake
I ended up not finding a way into the ATV park, but I did find the wood disposal station for the City of Waterloo. Massive mounds of wood chips everywhere! The road turned into a muddy dirt surface here and I was glad for the big fat tires which walked right over the mushy surface.

This went by the Waste Water Treatment Plant and the road went back on itself again where I had come from. I continued on back to the point I popped out of the woods, went on further, and found out I was gated in! It wasn't that I couldn't get into the ATV park, I couldn't get out of the city property I had found my way into! Okay, so back out the way I came it was for me.

Remember that little opening in the chain link fence after the dike? Yeah......that was the only way out! So, I went back through the way I had come, and then out along another snowmobile trail across a huge, empty field to a city street. Once there, I made my way back home.

It was a fun adventure on the fat bike, and I learned a few things about the city I live in along the way. Good times!

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