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  1. #1
    This place needs an enema
    Reputation: mikesee's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2003

    A ride, recently: Back to the grind.

    After our 8-day binge of riding fast, fun, flowy snow trails in the midwest over the holidays, we came back home to dry (even heroic) dirt, and piles of work to catch up on.

    Weeks later we finally got the snow we've never had to wait on before, and that meant we could finally ride the alpine.

    The snow is still thin up there by almost any metric, but it increases by the day and that's about all we can hope for at this point.

    Blue skies and mild temps greeted us, and made our re-entry into winter easy as could be.

    I write "easy as could be" because in reality there was nothing easy about this ride. We were still in sight of the trailhead when we'd already dumped most of the air from our tires.

    A friend of Pete's wanted to attempt a route up here that doesn't always go -- it requires a healthy early season snowpack, a good amount of traffic, and a long spell of high pressure to come into form. When asked for beta about said route I shook my head no -- no way -- none of the above has happened yet this year. Despite that, or perhaps looking for a supreme challenge, he headed out anyway and covered 8 miles over 11 hours of intense effort. It's just that kind of year up here, and that's not at all uncommon.

    The trail wasn't super punchy, wasn't especially crusty, and we weren't consistently breaking through. But it was soft enough, and the most recent snow had come in on a wind so it wasn't holding together very well, mandating as-low-as-you-could-go pressures for 98% of the ride.

    To better enable riding over walking, I had my Hopey damper cranked full-on max. Kept checking it to see if it could go yet further.

    I often refer to rides like this as being closer to powerlifting than cycling, largely because (even though this trail is fairly flat) you're borderline if not wholly anaerobic at any pace. And once the juice builds up in your legs there's no way to back off the pace and recover. So you mash for awhile, then grab a tree limb and recover while taking in the sights. The sights of this ride are pretty easy on the eyes. And then you do it again.

    Brief lunch stop, with some of the calories coming via inhalation of diamond-dust infused air.

    Very early on, while dumping more air from our tires, Jeny pointed out that we were emphatically back home, with no more of that easy, effortless, midwestern hardpack riding to be had. Sure was fun while it lasted.

    I shot the vid below on a short stretch of fairly firm trail. We didn't need base pressures for this ~100 meter section, but we emphatically did for the rest of the day.

    A solid hour before sunset we'd blown ourselves to pieces and, even though a different loop beckoned from the same trailhead, we called it good and headed for home. Jeny shook her head in bewilderment at the fact that we'd ridden a whopping 6.5 miles and felt as shelled as we did.

    I was a little surprised by that too, but honestly shouldn't have been -- these are average conditions in this neck of the woods, and the fact that we could ride at all is testament to how good fatbike technology has gotten the past few years.

    Thanks for checkin' in.

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    I will refer any questions about tire pressure for soft conditions to your wrinkle video. If they find themselves at those levels there really isn't much else to do. Maybe seeing it in action will be the "ah-ha" moment that many seem to need.

  3. #3
    Oslo, Norway
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Sweet stuff!
    We are absolutely drowning in snow over here, so felt bad for ya'll.
    Great to see the return of the powder!
    The wrinkle video just inspired me put one of the same kind on Youtube. Will link shortly.

    EDIT: and here is is:
    Blatantly inspired by Mikes awesome slo-mo-wrinkle vid
    Last edited by Espen W; 02-13-2018 at 03:37 PM.

  4. #4
    It's carbon dontcha know.
    Reputation: 6thElement's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Maybe a few more inches of snowpack from the last few days.
    Rolling on 29", 650b, 8.3" and 23mm

  5. #5
    All Lefty's, all the time Moderator
    Reputation: MendonCycleSmith's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    I tell newbs all the time, fatbiking will redefine what you consider a ride to be.

    That, and that if they do two miles, and feel utterly worked, it's okay, fatbiking often isn't measure in miles, but hours.
    This is a Pugs not some carbon wannabee pretzel wagon!!

    - FrostyStruthers

  6. #6
    The White Jeff W
    Reputation: jeffw-13's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Sounds like the snow we've had around Pittsburgh this year. Dry & powdery and doesn't pack well. Tough riding until it gets some traffic on it, even then it gives out from under you. Riding is best described as tedious, but it's still great to be out.

    I did a ride Saturday where I did seven miles on a one mile figure-8 section of our local park. I think riding snow really helps with balance and overall bike handling skills since you're constantly making corrections to compensate for the bike moving around under you.

    Thanks for the hit, Mike. I always look forward to your posts.
    No moss...

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