Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Last Days of Winter

This past week has been an amazing experience as far as cycling goes and each trip north this winter has proved better than the previous and this past weekend's last minute venture to northern Minnesota did not disappoint.
I decided rather late Thursday evening that I would make a quick trip north to get in some final snow biking in these waning days of winter. Temperatures in the northern part of state had been in the mid to upper forties all week long and snow has been melting at a rapid rate. I knew that I would be taking a chance with trail conditions, but the excitement of riding the Pugsley in the snow far outweighed the prospect .
My ride started out at about 9:30 Saturday morning with temps already nearing 30 F, a crystral clear sky, and literally no wind to speak of. I really had no idea where this ride would take me. I only wanted to find some good trails to ride and I was prepared to spend the entire day riding.
I started in the Sturgeon Lake area and headed north and west. Taking the Snake Trail to the Tim Corey snowmobile trail and then jumping off on the Circle T trail which took me north to Hwy. 1 which spans the entire northern part of the state from the shore of Lake Superior all the way to the Minnesota - North Dakota border.
The conditions of the trails amazed me, but they will not remain this way much longer. As a matter of fact, it was apparent that most snowmobilers had written the season off. Temperatures are predicted to be in the forties for the rest of the week with rain predicted for Tuesday through Friday. The timing of this little trip could not have been better.
I've been very fortunate with trip planning this winter. For each of trips north the weather and trail conditions where always exceptional and seemed to get better with each journey. Great trails, blue skies, a fun bike...what could be better?
I was also able to spend some time getting off the beaten path and exploring some of the smaller side trails that were kindly provided by some intrepid folks on their snow machines. As the miles and the hours clicked by it just got better and better. The single speed set up on this bike is absolutely perfect and it was only on a couple of the larger hills that I had to get off and push. The cadence and speed I maintained was perfect for an all day ride and I literally did feel that I could have continued riding like this for hours on end. One of my issues has always been inadequate food intake, but today I maintained a steady fuel flow for the body and muscles and was absolutely sure to drink plenty of fluids.
As morning progressed into afternoon some parts of the trail that had been exposed to the sun all day had started to become soft. The photo above is evidence of this yet it was the only time that I really sunk in and had to get off the bike. It surprised me how firm most of the trail had stayed throughout the day.
After six plus hours of riding I was still feeling quite good, but really looking forward to pizza and a couple of cold ones.
This will more than likely be my last snow ride on the Pugsley for this winter, but I know that there will be many, many more snowy rides in the future. I'm now looking forward to the spring road rides, but once the frost is out of the ground and the trails and forest roads are somewhat dry...

you'll know where to find me.

1 comment:

coastkid said...

sounds like the perfect end to your snow riding season bill,looks like a lovely area to ride...