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  1. #1
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    How does your body handle trail riding in the snow?

    We have a lot of snow on the trail right now. It has been consistently cold with many small accumulations. A 6'' base, then a crust layer(that was a real rolling resistance nightmare) and about another 6 or 8'' of powder. I've been holding up well until about a week ago when we got that crust layer. It is like riding and ergometer the entire ride. We have a lot of short punchy climbs and I am basically winding up a sprint to make the hills over and over again in the coarse of a 2 or 3 hour ride.

    At the end of the ride I am pretty wiped out and can feel it the next day. I've been riding for a long time and I know how to take care of myself with eating and drinking but I am still wiped out.

    Trail blazing is tough. I wonder if having 4.8'' tires would make a difference in these conditions?




    It is amazing but; having one set of foot prints walking in the snow can make the difference between walking and riding.




    How long are your rides? How many days do you get out a week? How much does riding in the snow take out of you?

  2. #2
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    I have 4.8" tires. But with the kind of conditions your pictures show, it's hard even with those tires.
    - Mark Ehlers
    The Prodigal Cyclist

  3. #3
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    With what I work plus hitting the gym I only get out on the fatty on the weekends, after a good three hour ride I am wiped too. I work out a lot but that's still not saddle time, makes a big difference. The cold has a factor with that as well, I seemed to get more tired when its cold out, soon as I hit the car and it warms up I get real sleepy LOL.
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  4. #4
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    Snowshoes. Wear yourself out packing down the trail one day, then ride it the next.

  5. #5
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    Its definitely more of a workout than on a regular bike. I'm usually good for a 10-15 mile ride on the weekend (sometimes twice on the weekend), but in the snow its more like 7-10 and I'm wiped at the end of it. Even a little extra resistance increases the amount of effort dramatically and that increases the demands on your legs for sure.
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  6. #6
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    After I got my fat bike someone told me one mile in the snow is like two miles on a normal trail. I can mostly agree with that. The one major difference for me is, when I bonk, it hits me out of the blue. Where as in the warmer months I can sense it come along & slow down & fuel up.

  7. #7
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    Those conditions are fun but very very difficult. Nothing with pedals is going to make it through there easy. As mentioned before, snowshoe one day ride the next if possible.

  8. #8
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    When conditions are like that I wait until the snowshoers get out and pack it down, until then I ride the fire roads that the snowmobiles have packed down. They are still a challenge but much more fun to ride than trying to break trail in that. anything over about 6 or 7 inches gets rough to break trail in, especially if there is a crusty layer or it's very dry powdery snow.
    "...when I stand to climb I'm like the Hulk rowing the USS Badass up the Kickass River."
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  9. #9
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    Today's ride was also tough. The trails had been packed by the snowmobiles, but there were areas where the snow wasn't completely packed, with no traction and had to pedal extra hard or even walk the bike. Even though it was a blast, and it beats being inside, I was completely spent after 90 minutes.

    How does your body handle trail riding in the snow?-img_20140216_143226.jpg

  10. #10
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    Trail blazing is tough enough, add balance and traction issues and it can really wear on you. Sorry, no suggestions for making it less than it is. Only recommend you learn to enjoy the resultant exhaustion. My secret is a movie and a beer and a great excuse to collapse.

  11. #11
    Location: SouthPole of MN
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    Quote Originally Posted by sickmtbnutcase View Post
    Snowshoes. Wear yourself out packing down the trail one day, then ride it the next.
    This is about all you need to know right here. This is why grooming is so popular. And why so many of us can't stand the new fat bike low-cost manufacturers coming out and saying things like "float right over "xx" feet of snow" in their marketing fluff material. It's simply not true. I have 4.8's as well and still wouldn't ride if I had a foot of snow in front of me without snowshoeing or packing it down first. Not that I haven't done it... but it sucks.

  12. #12
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    I look at it as great training for the spring. Even when the trails are hard packed, the big tires make for a big workout.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by duggus View Post
    This is about all you need to know right here. This is why grooming is so popular. And why so many of us can't stand the new fat bike low-cost manufacturers coming out and saying things like "float right over "xx" feet of snow" in their marketing fluff material. It's simply not true. I have 4.8's as well and still wouldn't ride if I had a foot of snow in front of me without snowshoeing or packing it down first. Not that I haven't done it... but it sucks.
    Even showshoes are a tough haul in more than a foot of snow. Maybe I'll tie a bunch on a fatbike, what could be better than that? Ooh, tracks.

  14. #14
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    It's not easy but it beats sitting in the basement on the trainer.

  15. #15
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    Yep I ha a tough one today as well, first few miles were great, hard packed from the skiers and the snowshoers then it all went bad in a hurry. Seems no one went as far as I did but a hikers and a dog the size of a horse. Left huge divets in the snow and was hell, bike was bouncing all over the place and sending me off into deep snow stopping me dead. I finally got so pissed off I yelled WTF!!!!!!! at the top of my lungs in the middle of now where LOL I felt better. Had to walk the rest of the way out to the road as there was no riding this mess. I was tired but I had a good day, well except about 15 minutes when I was tired, pissed off and frustrated.
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  16. #16
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    I had a tough one today, too. 8 miles of technical, hilly singletrack, 12-18" wide with 8-12 inches of crusty snow on either side and a good deal of climbing. it was like riding an 8 mile-long skinny: blow your line at speed and you're going OTB, plus constant pedal strikes in the snow. I'm kinda looking forward to the 50 temps this week to thaw it all out. Hopefully, it will all freeze in a week and maybe we'll get some fresh snow, too.
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  17. #17
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    I just got a new Borealis and I rode with the 4" tires it came with today. The difference between the four and five inch tires is huge. I was the only one not running Bud and Lou today and it was obvious.

  18. #18
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    To me it feels like I am bull riding at times on the climbs as I am barely moving and at times spinning out but yet balancing and moving my bars back and forth to leverage and propel myself up. Great all around workout as the upper body is more of a factor with fatbiking.

    I always come back completely drenched but looking forward to the next ride. 24kms yesterday and 18kms today with 600M elevation gain. 1900M gain on one ride is my summer record so I am only putting in one third of the gain but physically a ride like today's feels just as hard. With the year round training I expect to blow my elevation gains out of the water/snow on fatbiking or 29er when the soil is dry. I am enjoying riding in February every bit as much as June/July maybe even more? The body is adjusting.

  19. #19
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    Often out for 6 hours climbing 6000+ feet. A similar kind of ride in the summer takes about half the time. It's okay to be beat at the end of the weekend; the legs have plenty of time to recover when the work week begins Monday.
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  20. #20
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    One of the best things about riding a fatbike in the snow is that come summer, climbing is suddenly so much easier. Because even on well groomed trails, the resistance is pretty high. So riding on the flats is like riding up an incline. Riding up a hill is like riding up a bigger hill.

    2 hours on my fatbike in the winter hurts more than 4 or 5 hours on my roadbike.

    An added bonus for me is that the combination of slippery singeltrack, cold and me being afraid to crash into a tree tends to make me really tense, which adds to the hurt the next day.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zoo1424 View Post
    It's not easy but it beats sitting in the basement on the trainer.
    This sums it up for me.

    Saturday I rode in the best conditions in 2 years. We were flying around. Snow had been groomed, packed, and was smooth then froze up a bit. Same trail sunday was a bit soft and the same 10 miles took me 25 minutes longer. Wore my ass out.

    But, beats the trainer.
    "The thing is, Bob, it's not that I'm lazy, it's that I just don't care."

  22. #22
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    Assuming you are dressed properly and have food and liquids of choise , don't overestimate your time and distance. Bonking in winter is one of the worst feelings in the world. It's better to come home feeling you might have been able to do a little more, than to feel like crap. Riding in winter taxes your body a lot . Good food with lots of protein and good fats, and after ride hot shower then cold beer , makes me feel like a million bucks. Get a good nights sleep after a hard one. David

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