Thursday, December 06, 2012

Out In The Cold, Old Woods

New trail at the Camp
Well you just knew that days like we had over the weekend were not going to last, right? After all, it is December, and it should be cold by now.

It was certainly that yesterday, although it isn't as cold as it could be for this time of the year. And don't forget, every day without snow now makes the winter that much shorter. Typically we have been snowed out of the trails by now.

But that isn't the case just yet, obviously, and I got out to the Camp to test the new Diamondback Mason hard tail 29"er. This is an interesting bike. Short (17 inch) chain stays, slack (66.5°) head angle and 140mm travel Fox Talas 29 fork. Should steer like a boat, right?

Bzzzt! Wrong! I won't give it all away, but this bike surprises. Then there is the dropper post, and with all the rest of the stuff going on here it simply made child's play of the new sections of trail out there. I could envision getting even better and faster on this bike because of the way it handles on everything out there, but especially the technical bits. But that would have to wait until we get out of this freeze/thaw cycle we're in now!

Tight Twisties
See, the winter without snow means that at night the moisture gets frozen in the dirt. Then the day dawns, the sun rises up just high enough that the rays hit the dirt and melt the surface moisture. The single track then turns into a greasy mud on top of what's left of the frozen dirt under that. A recipe for disaster if you are thinking about riding fast.

Fortunately I was able to spend more time on the Northward facing slopes and evaded the grease, with exception of some small patches here and there. On the way out, there were a few clench-worthy moments, but I stayed upright for the most part until I reached the service road, (now nearly reclaimed by nature), and wheeled my way out to the gravel road.

There I made several passes to clear off the muck from the tires. No need to be bringing that back home with me! It took about three laps, but I was able to sling most of it off of the tires.

Staying warm was no problem for me. I rode platform pedals which allowed me to use my Keen boots, which kept my feet toasty. I wore three layers up top, and Dickies for pants. Yeah, cotton twill work pants. they work awesome for me. Keeps the cold out, breathes, and they are light and flexible enough to handle the demands of cycling.

So the cold, old woods were challenging, but it was better to be out in those woods than to be sitting around at home. The high lonesome scream of the hawk and the bounding deer were confirmation of that. The dirt and the bicycle were the pay-off. I'll take that every time.

1 comment:

MG said...

Wow... It's amazing to me that you have moisture on your trails at all. Our trails are dry as a bone. We need rain or snow very badly here in the 402.

Glad to see that DB is handling sweet... Cool bike.