When you haven’t seen a trail since December it starts to wear you. So, when the thermometer got up to a wonderful 20F I decided I was going out. That by itself isn’t that great, but there was no wind and it was actually sunny out. As far as this winter has gone it may has well been summer. Anyway, I decided to drag my lazy but out to a trail and log some miles in the snow. I have to admit as far as winters go, this has been the longest, coldest and snowiest I can remember. Kinda makes me wonder why I live in the midwest………
I was hoping the trail would have been packed down a bit more, but actually the snow was pretty deep just off the trail. Staying in the compacted down areas hikers and some previous fat bikes put down was very crucial to staying upright. One thing is for sure, if you are looking for a serious workout snow riding is a good one. The first half of the 4 mile loop took about 30 minutes. Normally I can get through that section in about 8 minutes. At the half way point I was ready for a beer and some pizza I was so tired.
In anticipation of the colder weather I did pick up some newer cold gear. Having something to cover your mouth is pretty crucial. I tried out a Columbia full face mask. The nice thing about it is the opening below your mouth. As you ride you want to inhale some pre warmed air, but when you exhale it can fog your eyewear. With this flap open below my mouth it directed my wasted away from my eyes, keeping my vision clear. I am pretty happy with that.
Overall the entire trip out was pretty uneventful. The woods are beautiful covered in snow and moving this slow you have time to take it all in. Fortunately I didn’t have any mechanical issues and the only adjustment I had to make was dumping some pressure out of my tires. Thinking ahead with snow and ice is pretty critical. My strategy is you can always lose pressure, but adding more along the way can be difficult. 30psi is plenty to start with if the trail is packed down and icy that seems to work fine. Assuming you have studs. If there is some softer snow in your way though I dump down to about 10psi. This just helps with stability a bit more.
My goal next year is to get out more in the cold weather, but I am thinking a change of bikes may be in order. I see a Fat Bike in my future.