Thursday, January 28, 2016

Squeezing In One More Good Fat Ride

I got out early to catch the best conditions will be for a while.
This Winter of '15-'16 has rendered the best fat biking conditions we've seen since 2011. The freeze thaw cycle the snow went through about  three weeks ago really set up things nicely. Now with an additional two or so inches of fresh snow on top of the old stuff, the wilderness around here has been primed again, albeit for a very short time, with primo fat bike conditions.

This all seems to be a very short lived situation though. With today, close to freezing, if not a touch over, and the next three days being well above freezing, the trails are going to deteriorate quickly. There is talk of a big dump of snow happening maybe next week. We'll see. I wasn't going to wait to find out, so I hedged my bets, got out early Wednesday while the snow was still crunchy, and made some tracks in the Green Belt.

The temperatures were already in the upper 20's by 8:30am when I headed out. The snow was still holding in some cold though, so it was set up enough that I had good grip in all planes and my front Bud and rear Chinese branded tire were doing a fine job. The tracks were burned in by a few riders the day before, so all I had to do was to follow the thin treaded line through the bumpy trail. I didn't push things too hard though, as I knew the trails were very hard and slightly icy before this latest dump of snow. I didn't want to hit a post holed terrain feature and end up going down on really hard snow. Nice and easy was the order of the day.

There was evidence of someone or another having a few "off-line" slide outs here and there. It was still slick under that new snow!
Marky-Mark is one of the tougher, more technical sections of trail for fat biking we have here. It's tough not to dab.
I decided to go through the Marky-Mark connector trail since I had heard it was good to ride Tuesday. I traveled on it in both directions and it was rideable, although I dabbed once each way. That slick, icy underlying snow with that new unconsolidated stuff on top was very challenging. I also took a detour on some bandit trail some guys have flagged out which goes beneath the Ridgeway Avenue bridge which crosses the Back Hawk Creek. Not many people use this trail, and no one had been on it at all since the last snowfall.

It may not look like it, but that's bandit trail along the Black Hawk Creek under that fresh coverlet of snow.
I managed to clear the bandit trail and went back on the old Green Belt trail to Marky-Mark and re-traced my path from there. I was happy I was able to clear all the tough spots past Marky-Mark without dabbing, which was nice. Then I rolled it through a long alley way which was fun and finally back home.

Now we'll have to see what happens with this next spate of warmer weather and if we get that big dump of snow next week- or not. The reality is that we've got maybe a good four more weeks of possible good snow sports weather ahead, and maybe a week or so less than that. March isn't far away now, and I'll be back riding gravel sooner than later. This may be the last good snow ride I get in.

If so, I ain't complainin', because as I say, it has been a really good season for snow riding, and I wasn't expecting that to be the case. Now there may be a sloppy time for a few days, with fits of warmer weather that may be coming after that. One thing is for certain, and that is that the changing seasons will bring a change in bikes getting ridden. UPDATE: So, hold the phone! Now the news is that next week we may get a fresh 6-10" of snow. Stay tuned.......

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