Snow Riding

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So this has happened twice so far. Both times in completely different conditions.

Last week, I met up with a great gang of guys who let me tag along as they plowed through deep snow and powder while I bumbled along behind. Let’s just say, it was a lot of fun. I had a couple of spills – one off of a bridge that was less than awesome (there are still rocks under that snow…) – but nothing major. I rode for a little over two hours last week and was completely exhausted at the end. Did I mention how much fun it was?

I got out again today and the conditions were very different from last weekend. The trails are firmly packed now with some crazy patches of icy and all levels of slipperiness. But thanks to some great advice from Rob K. right before my ride today I managed the ice okayish. With a focus on not using the front brake, the ice wasn’t as crazy as it could have been. Admittedly I was likely much more cautious than your average rider but I’ll get braver as I get more rides in. Only one spill today on Pete’s Wicked Trail – no idea what caused it but all of a sudden I was doing the slo-mo fall off the bike and trail down a steepish bank and landing on either a larger rock or a sturdy branch. Apart from this, the ride was most excellent. Definitely not as much hard work as last week – I felt like the riding was very similar to riding on the road or on a hard packed dirt trail.

With two rides in, I’m enjoying this winter biking. I’m not sure if I’ll want to go out when it’s actually cold… But we’ll see. The 29er seems to be working fine for me. The fat bike is tempting, but it’s hard to justify when I have perfectly good mountain bike that I can ride. Now I need to experiment a bit with tire pressure – I’m sure I was running a bit too much today but I am concerned about flatting. I have tubeless rims but I’m not set up for tubeless – maybe this is the way to go?

All of my warm and durable cycling clothing that I bought in Belgium over the years is keeping me nice and warm. Thanks goodness for the Sealskin socks and gloves and my large assortment of booties.

Yep, so I’m liking this winter biking. Did I say that already? I also like that it’s close to my house – a 20 minute drive and I’m at the trails. I’m wondering what it would be like behind the Nepean Sportsplex – might check that out over the Christmas/New Year’s vacation.

Huge thanks to the Rob, Jay, David, and Andrew for encouraging me to get out.

If you’re looking for something fun to do this winter and you have a mountain bike – I suggest you give this a try. There really is nothing like being in the woods protected from the wind with sun shining down, riding along and just enjoying the moment.

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