Monday, December 02, 2013

Turkey Burn 2014: Solo Version

Maybe not the right tool for the job, but.....
Every year the Saturday after Thanksgiving there has been a "Turkey Burn" ride at Ingawanis, (either the Boy Scout Camp or on the South side), going back to 2005. I've made most of them. Last year I had to bail out due to having to get my son's haircut at the barber that morning of the 2012 version. There was some scuttlebutt going around here locally about doing a Turkey Burn ride, but nothing ever came of it.

I decided I was going to carry on the tradition regardless whether or not anyone else was coming. The weather was looking like it was going to cooperate even though we'd gotten a bit more snow fall during the week. It didn't amount to much in town, but apparently it had piled up a bit higher up at Ingawanis Woods. More on that in a minute.... The temperatures were to start out in the mid-20's and rise to the upper 30's throughout the morning, so I figured I'd better hit it as early as I could get out there.Warm snow and mud were not what I wanted to be stuck riding on/in.

The morning was going smoothly and I got going and arrived by 8:40am. By 8:45am I was rolling. The trails looked a bit more snowy than I recalled from last weekend, but I crunched along cautiously for the first run down into the woods.

It was readily apparent that no one with a bicycle had been out here since the last snowfall. I found that surprising, and the wondering why I hadn't heard about riding out here of late was answered. There were a ton of hiker tracks, and if there hadn't been, I wouldn't have been able to ride the Singular Buzzard out here at all. As it was, the meaty 29"er tires I had on the Velocity Dually rims were barely enough to get by on, and in several places I had to dismount due to lack of climbing traction to begin things with.

However; I learned very quickly to get into a slow, steady groove, take the trail as it came to me, and to be patient. It worked. I was able to cover ground without dabbing, and even found a way to climb, but it was slooooow going! I had shifted down to the granny ring and the 34T cog out back and I left it in that combination for most of the rest of my ride out there. Crawl up, maybe coast down......maybe! It was a lot rougher trail what with all the semi-frozen human tracks all over the line I wanted to ride in. On the rare occasion I got to bust my own trail, the traction and speed was- oddly enough- much better!

A few notes: The "bottoms", near the Cedar River, where I like to go to get a peek at the Bald Eagles, was so pock marked by deer traffic the trail was unrecognizable. Sure, the down hill leading into the area is plain to see, but once you get down there......nuthin! Just a bunch of confusing tracks in the snow. Maybe the last two days of melting will have changed this.

Secondly, the Turkey Burn rides often were the last clear trail rides of the year. Usually shortly afterward the snow would come and obliterate any chances of riding up there. Well, obviously the Ingawanis Woodland trails have become popular with hikers and trail runners, so maybe a fatbike will be the critter of choice to continue riding up there. Maybe. Perhaps this Winter will be different, but I would not be at all surprised if the trail riding up there is done for the season.

So, it was a successful solo "turkey burn" ride for me in the area where I have become accustomed to riding at this time of the season.

1 comment:

john said...

There was a nice trail ride at the camp around noon on Sunday and with the fat bikes there'll certainly be a lot more during the winter season.