Thursday, December 01, 2016

Slow Rollin'

Serenity on Marky-Mark
Another Wednesday, another bike ride. This time it was the Blackborow DS and I actually managed to get all of the Green Belt done. It was a slow rollin' affair though. I wasn't speeding through because it was wet and mucky, and I didn't bring my rain pants, or a fender.

So going slower was the order of the day, and I managed to keep pretty clean until the very end when I biffed trying to cross that ditch. Oh well!

I had fun and even met a fellow fat biker along the way. It was a colder ride, with temperatures in the mid to upper 30's for the entire ride. Precipitation was copious and in about every form one could imagine, mostly of the frozen types. At one point I am pretty sure I was walloped on the back of the hand by a chunk of slush. Maybe that fell off a tree as I went underneath it, or maybe it was flung down from the heavens, I don't know which.

The constant precipitation was making the trails constantly more wet, more mucky, and muddy. It never got real sloppy, but there was plenty of standing water and tacky dirt to just outright mud on the single track. I'm okay with that. I had time and a steady fat burn of a ride is just what the doctor ordered after Thanksgiving weekend.

Moss on the bridge.
Black Hawk creek on a dreary, rainy last day of November 2016.
There was a fat bike ride the night before on these trails. Seems as though it will be a weekly thing for a little while until they get their trails sorted over across town after the flooding this past Fall. I don't mind the extra traffic, but I did notice one thing that kind of irritated me and a thing I also find quite ironic. That would be the "lensing" of the trail wherever there was standing water. This is an old term used to describe what happens when riders tend to avoid water on the trail by riding around the puddles, causing a "lens" or widening of the tread.

Original trail directly behind my bike, the bandit line is to the left here.
  I chose this example above since it dramatically shows what I mean, but typically this is a much more subtle deal. In fact, in the example above, I don't mind the bandit line as it actually adds to the trail feature and isn't a textbook "lensing" of the trail, per se', but there are a lot of places out there where this has popped up now since the trail is getting a lot of usage during this wet period.

Anyway, what a lot of younger off roaders do not understand is that the tread, or the single track line, is actually a harder bottom than where you ride around the water puddles. Riding around the puddles erodes more land, detracts from the aesthetic appeal of the trail when things dry up, and actually ends up getting you more dirty than if you just rode straight through the water. But the biggest deal to me is that it widens out the tread and the single track becomes "not single track" every where there is water.

Keep Single Track Single Please!

Bridge Troll
 The ironic thing is that these folks supposedly were doing a fat bike ride and were avoiding doing "fat biking". I mean, it is why you got the thing, isn't it? To go through the mud, water, sand, snow, and rocks? It isn't a road bike, fer cryin' out loud! A little water on the trail is not to be avoided, it is to be celebrated and ridden through. Heck, if you are that afraid of getting you and your bike wet, slow down, take it easy, and grin all the way through. If that doesn't work, why are you even riding off road? 

Well, whatever. I am not going to be afraid to do a little swampin' out in the Green Belt, and I will be doing my part to Keep The Single Track Single. 


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