Monday, February 02, 2015

Adventure Alley

5 inch tires, Clown Shoes vs 10" of snow. Snow wins.
Like I said a few days ago, if I stated that Winter was absent, it was bound to show up. Boy howdy! Did it ever! When I stepped outside at 7:00am I measured approximately 7 inches of fairly heavy snow and it was still coming down. I figure we got at least 10 inches at the house here before it quit late in the day. So, a right proper snow storm then, and after getting the walks shoveled......twice, I decided I would wait to do that again until this morning and put the shovel down.

I figured I would get out the Blackborow DS and give it a whirl. I wasn't expecting much. The snow was like mashed potatoes where the cars had been and plowing your own trail through 10 inches of fresh snow is not really very fun. This will pack down to be great snow for fat biking though, and I knew that any ride I did yesterday would be where cars and trucks had already packed a track in.

Finding adventure isn't hard when the snow gets this deep and the winds are howling. All you need to do is step out of your front door, and it's right there. I took the Blackborow DS out into the street because no one had their walks shoveled yet. I didn't get 300 feet away from the house before I just about got hit by two vehicles. Yikes! Okay, change of plans. Time to search out some alleys.

A typical alley way and full of snow at that.
I got to an alley, but not until before another near miss with a car, and ducked into a two-tracked, deep snow situation. I was losing the front end a lot and having to hop off. I knew what to do. Let some air out! The air temperature was about 17°F and the winds were bad if you were out of a sheltered area, but riding in alleys is about as sheltered as it gets in the city. Good for being out of the wind, bad for drifted snow. It was imperative that I find vehicle tracks! I let out a goodly amount of air and it made a huge improvement in the traction and handling. I will have to find my digital gauge to check out where I ended up at later, but it worked well at the time. Onward then!

I decided to finally bail out on to a deserted street that has very little traffic and headed down towards the local convenience store. Not to buy anything, but I figured I would loop around it and find another alley back home to finish up the ride. I didn't want to expend any more energy than this and I'd already been out shoveling twice, so, I was probably pushing things as it was.

I hit the alley I wanted and it was tracked in nicely. With the lowered pressures, I was tracking great, and not washing out at all anymore. The Lou-Lou combo really works well and forward traction was great. The Blackborow DS on the loose, deeper stuff is easy to handle once the tire pressures are dialed in. Small weight shifts, and that was it. Otherwise I was just trucking along at a slow pace, but moving. Oh, and I had the Blackborow DS in the lower range.

I hit a section of alley that was only two-tracked and it was deep on the remainder of the alley. Total focus on the line and I was fine. It's great practice for single track in the Summer. While I didn't really go all that far, it took about an hour to do it! Slower riding and a focus on handling was the order of the day. It was great to be back out on a bike, and also to have a chance at riding the Blackborow DS in truly tough conditions.

I'll probably get a few more chances at some tougher rides in the coming days. It looks like this snow will stick around for at least a week and then it may get messy after that if it warms up like they are predicting. The Blackborow DS will get slogged into this new, deep snow and then I can render a right proper verdict on this Forest Service Green machine.

1 comment:

MICHAEL said...

We had the same weather here in Omaha, GT. Not quite 10" but at least 6-8. I also had to dodge traffic, which meant dismounting my Mukluk and hopping over the snow bank to the side of the road to let cars pass. At least I was able to take a nice 'down and up' through my favorite ditch before the ride came to an end. Bitter cold today should make for a noisy foray later on, eh?