Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Winter Intensifies

Fat biking amongst the Dead.
Winter, which has been largely absent for the first two months we usually have it, has hit back with a vengeance. Obviously, it's all the news today what with the ultra-cold temperatures.

We've had two really good dumps of snow here. We have, what I would call, a really good base of the white stuff now. The thing is, unless you have a groomed trail, this snow sucks. It's about as sand-like as it gets.

I was out shoveling this snow all day off and on Monday. It is so unconsolidated that it acts like sand. It just spills off the shovel blade like nothing else. So, unless you have something heavy to compact it, ala a snow groomer, you're going to be walking a LOT in this stuff. I found that out again Sunday, just before the latest snow came. Yes, the previous snow was almost as "dry".

I managed to roll about 30 yards of 7" or so of untracked snow over a bike path here in Waterloo before my heart rate sent me into seeing "pink elephants" territory. It was so much work spinning the rear tire, keeping the front end light, that I couldn't keep it up for longer than that. Good workout for the heart though!

I know the "lower your air pressure" mantra, and I use it, but I'm telling ya, this tactic wouldn't make riding easier in this snow. That's why you really have to have this stuff groomed. It just isn't fun any other way. Now, if you get enough snow machines out there, and they aren't just burping their throttles, then you have a pretty fair chance at making that sort of line work on a fat bike. The trouble is that those sled-necks like thrashing and over-using the throttle, so they end up churning up the snow instead of rolling it and compacting it. Those newer sleds with the big cleats on their tracks are the worst.

The Sergent Road trail was rideable only because of a passage of snow machines.
I made about an hour and a half loop out of the bike trails, downtown stuff, and residential streets, sidewalks, and back-alleys. Honestly, some of the best fat biking is down through alleys in Waterloo. Enough of a challenge to make it interesting while being packed in enough to make it all rideable.

The snow is here, but temperatures will not be very favorable for fat biking. Negative temperatures in the single digits to teens below for highs with near 30 degree below overnight temperatures. Windchill values are to be in the negative 40-60 degree range. So, getting out in that sort of air is difficult at best.

Than it is supposed to zoom up to around, or above, freezing for the weekend with a  possibility of rain! (What The What?!!) Crazy weather. We get snow and then we cannot even get a chance to use it. Sounds about right.....

1 comment:

teamdarb said...

We have the same situation here in Maine. It just becomes additional ice ultimately.