Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Up.

I'm rarely a fan of diesel exhaust, but somehow those caused by the UPS man get a hall pass. When Lyle handed off that big rectangular box last Friday, it was all I could do to keep from jumping up and down in the blue cloud he'd left behind.


Months of discussion, planning, plotting, and a lot of fancy fabrication by He Who Prefers to Remain Unnamed had led to this very moment: My Moots FSnoots was back from a very important operation.

HWPtRU removed the old headtube, then fabricated and welded on a new one to accommodate a custom fat-specific Action Tec suspension fork. A few hours of wrenching got her back to rideable that night.

Shop shots:

That tire is four and a half inches wide, surprisingly light, and tubeless.

Fatback front hub, Speedway Uma 90 rim, Surly BFL tire.


Smooooove.

On Saturday AM I met Cutty and Dreamboat atop Grand Mesa. Our objective was somewhat ambitious, depending on firm trails and minimal paddle-track-equipped slednecks to "go" in the span of an afternoon. 3 weeks of high pressure (with only a scant few inches of snow) leading up to this day made it seem like it just might happen.

Classic Colorado winter scene.

The early miles proved the most difficult: punchy underneath yet wind whipped on top. Low tire pressure is required to maintain float on the ephemeral crust, but too low and you'll spin your tires on the surface merengue. 7-8psi seemed about ideal. 

Dreamboat bailed after an hour, opting to go get drunk instead. Cutty and I committed to the meat of the loop--the switchbacks and rollers down to the Cottonwoods.

Hoots and yelps escaped both of us on this must-be-ridden-to-be-appreciated descent. I know of no other like it that is rideable by over-the-snow bicycle.

Occasionally you just had to stop and look around. "Am I really here, atop feet of snow, and *grinning*, with a bike?!"

And then it was back to slaying the descent.

Minor fiddling required.

The descending on this loop is mostly front ended, leaving the real work for the second half. I found the climbing grades about perfect for middle ring spinning, with an occasional and brief dip into the granny.


No two ways about it, the snowpack in Colorado is *thin*. Rocks were prevalent where normally (at this time of year) you'd see none, and there was even dirt and mud visible in places. This shot was taken at better than 10,000'.

Well hellooooo there, beautiful. You live around here...?!


Normally virgin meadows had been thrashed weeks before by powder-starved 'necks doing what they could to stay sane. 

Gorgeous late-afternoon light as we cut the Crag Crest at a low point.



Little more fiddling.


We played hide-and-go-seek with the sun for the last ~hour as we passed into and out of thick stands of spruce.



It vanished for good as we crossed the last lake, just as we were welcomed back by the sweet caress of wood smoke. It's just not winter without wood smoke, is it?

We aired back up for the paved climb that closed the loop, grinding it out while gawking at the twinkling lights of Delta and Cedaredge far below. 

We finished in full dark, thankful for 6 memorable yet uneventful hours out on the bike.

Thanks for checking in.

MC