Sunday, December 30, 2012

Triple D Winter Race: Training Log 5: Firming Up

Snow Dog in its element
The snow around these parts has been down now for about a week and a half, and it still mostly stinks for riding on. Well, except for where it has been pummeled into firmness against its will. Because this snow seems to fight being compacted.

I saw a post on CVAST's Facebook page, (local cycling promoters), that a path was suitable for fat biking in North Hartman Reserve. That's great, but ya gotta get there first! So I devised a route over there and back. The snow was better in spots, but just as bad as ever in others. Still, far more riding than pushing this day. That was good, since it bumped the needle on the fun-o-meter higher than last week's big ride, (er....push fest), did.

The route took me around the back side of the National Cattle Congress along the backwaters of the Cedar River, high up on a dike. It was windy, but the wind had scoured off the sand-like snow and left a good crust in most places. The sheltered bits proved more difficult, but were still rideable. After dumping down off the bike to back streets along the Cedar, the going got quicker.

This leads me down to Hartman Reserve, and the specified trail. It was as advertised. Nicely packed in by foot traffic, apparently, because it was pretty bumpy. Packed, but bumpy, which was good, since it was single track in the woods, and this is hard to come by right now.

Rare trail these days in these parts for fat biking.

Well, that didn't last long and I was headed back to Waterloo on old Shirey Way, (The gravel through North Hartman), which proved to be almost....almost....unrideable. It was tough going, but I managed the section with one rest stop. My heart rate was pretty pegged through here. Burned some matches there, but it was a good test of skill and handling.

Then it was a bit of easy stuff to the Trolley Car Trail. This was total hike-a-bike from North Hackett to Green Hill. Then it got rideable again because of a lone passing of a snowmobile. It was tough going, but doable, and I popped out the other side to run across an old acquaintance from my first shop days. We chatted for a minute or two then I set off for home by way of alleys and city streets. 

I tried a different clothing combination today, and although one worked, I am going to go back to a previous set up on another set of layers. One new thing was a pair of Answer "Sleestak" mittens.   (Answer sent these to Twenty Nine Inches for test and review at no charge.) The site says they are rated down to 20F, but I was riding in the mid-teens for 2.5hrs and was perfectly fine. They seem to be windproof, but the site doesn't claim this feature. I will say that the rubbery grip application to the palm and "finger" area is really tacky and grippy with my Ergon Grips. I think these matched up with a thin glove liner would take you well down into the deep freeze on most any ride. We'll have to see how these hold up over the long haul though.

Okay, that's a wrap on the ride. I'm going to detail my set up in a post soon, once I dial it in here.

1 comment:

Max said...

G-Ted- If you're searching for some nice, packed snow to ride consider coming down to Cedar Rapids for a day. Trails/paths down here are pretty well packed; especially the Sac n Fox trail. I can easily ride it on my KM, so it should be no biggie on a fat bike I'd imagine. It's great to have a trail head down the street! Just an open invite.