Jeny and I got out and embraced a snow ride on Saturday. There is an ambitious bunch of local trail runners that get together to run a ~30k loop every January, on a set of trails that, most years, one wouldn't think of as being "in play" due to too much snow.
But the world is what you make of it, and rather than sit inside like most of the people I ride with in non-snow months, this crew gets out and gets it done. Jeny and I gave them a ~4 hour head start -- not wanting to get in the way of even the stragglers -- and then headed out to attempt the loop.
In the first ~1/2 mile the conditions were slow -- soft, unconsolidated -- so much so that I thought to myself, "Wow, this is going to be hard".
Then 2 ATV's passed us, churning the trail into an unrecognizable and unrideable mess. Yay team.
We plugged away at the route, slipping and sliding and occasionally falling in the twin trenches left by the throttle jockeys. At one point Jeny waited for me to catch up and when I did we agreed that there was no way, if the ATV's were following the same route, that we were going to be able to do this -- so completely had they hosed the trail.
Fate intervened -- and I'm still not sure if that was a good thing -- and turned the ATV's off of our route after a few miles. Once we were back to riding the packed footpath left by the runners, things became much more rideable and it was "only" hard work -- not survival riding the way it had been.
When I say "hard work", I mean that it was really, really hard riding, in that the snow had come down first as drizzle, so every rock, ledge, and root underneath had a shiny coating. But then it had gotten cold, so there was 10 to 14" of 3% moisture 'cold smoke' on top. Couldn't float on it, had to plow through it, and whenever you hit something underneath you would struggle to keep it upright.
The loop was 30k. It took us almost 7 hours -- we started at noon thirty and finished up well after dark.
I was shelled, Jeny was still smiling -- which is more or less how most rides end around here...
Thanks to Kevin Koch for taking the initiative to mark (and unmark) the loop and motivate the group.
Thanks to you for checkin' in.