Thursday, January 5, 2017

A little more about fat tire pressures for snow riding.

Jeny and I got out for a great ride last night, surfing the leading edge of a storm that dropped anywhere from a foot to two feet across the region, and it's still coming down.

In the woods on this ride the trail was great -- packed by holiday skiers and snowshoers and as such it was shoulder width and with a consistent surface. Like a ribbon of white singletrack beckoning ever onward.

But where it left the trees and crossed meadows it was really, really wind affected. Wind affected snow has been tumbled and collided so many times in its descent that the snowflakes have no more arms -- inspect them closely and you'll see that they're closer to ball bearings. No way for them to stick together until melt-freeze season happens in a few months.

I bring this up because while in the trees we wanted low pressures (it was a 3 wrinkle kinda ride...) to float on the ephemeral crust. But out in the open there was *no* pressure that worked, as the packed trail surface was buried beneath ~6" of ball bearings. You couldn't float on the ball bearings, nor could you dig down deep enough to access the traction of the trail surface. Pushing was the only option, period.

I bring this up as a springboard to get people to think about the big picture of both the topography and prevailing wind direction on their rides, as these are the two main determinants of which sections of trail get scoured and which get drifted in. You can burn a lot of time and get really frustrated trying to adjust pressures up and down. Not to mention cold because you're not producing heat anymore.

Or, put more simply, you can't always buy (or ride, or deflate) your way out of a situation -- sometimes you just have to deal with it.

1 comment:

  1. Good points. I am so grateful at times just for a tailwind.