Tuesday, February 13, 2018

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.

No comments:

Post a Comment