Saturday, November 27, 2010

Snow Biking

I'm still a relative greenhorn when it comes to this anomaly called snow biking. Most people who don't ride bikes and even some that do, find it somewhat abnormal to want to ride a bike through the forest in the dead of winter. This suits me just fine because I've always been a bit abnormal to begin with and I truly love winter, so it's a perfect match.

The past two weeks have been full of some fantastic rides on the Pugsley, but this past holiday weekend was phenomenal. Thanksgiving morning found us heading out early in single digit temps with below zero windchills.

I can't think of a better way to spend a holiday morning. Especially a holiday that involves nothing but eating. So we ventured out into Elm Creek to burn off calories that we had yet to consume. Also, I can't think of a better way to prepare yourself for eating large amounts of turkey, potatoes, veggies, and pie than a winter snow bike ride.

Of course after eating and drinking all of those calories you simple must follow-up the next day with another ride. I was at the park and on the trails just a bit after 7:30 a.m. I love getting out early when the temps are still cooler and the snow is nice and firm. The temperature when I started was right around 8 (F) and it had warmed up to 21 (F) three and a half hours later.

It was a perfect morning for riding and I was feeling content to just cruise along and not worry about how hard I was riding. When your pushing a 35 lb snow bike with 4" tyres with about 10 psi you are working plenty hard just keeping it moving forward. Throw in the fact that it is a single-speed and it ups the ante even more.

As I said in my previous post, there is definitely a steep learning curve when it comes to snow biking and the learning process has been fun and at times challenging. It can also be an expensive endeavor. Cycling gear is not cheap to begin with and with the addition of winter gear it definitely leaves the pocket book a bit on the light side. I like I am slowly, but surely getting things figured out. Especially the clothing aspect of it and I must say that merino wool has been my greatest discovery.

For years I was always a polypro person, but last year I purchased my first merino wool base layer and it was one of the smartest purchases I've made. This stuff cannot be beat, but it so damn expensive.

In the past couple of months I also made some other expensive clothing purchases that I will discuss in my next post. I still have a long way to go on the experience scale, but given my addictive personality and love of the outdoors and winter it shouldn't be a long process.

So, in the meantime I'll continue to ride, experiment, learn, and just enjoy the fact that I am out enjoying the most beautiful of all seasons on my bike and leaving tracks for others to follow.

Early in today's ride I met a group of runners who were out enjoying the trails and one of them, a gentleman with a German accent, ask me if I was preparing "The Race." I immediately knew that he was referring to the Arrowhead 135. I told him I was just out enjoying a ride, but would love to try it at some point in time after I've gained a bit more winter riding experience. He informed me that he was training for it. He complemented me on the Pugsley and said he appreciated the ss set-up. I wished him well and he and his group were on their way.

I'm planning on heading north in the coming weeks and I'm very excited to get out and do some longer rides in northern Minnesota. The Iron Range has seen a good deal of fresh of snow in the past week and I'm excited to hit the trails and forest roads north of my hometown.

It won't be long now before many of the trails in the park are groomed for skiing and I won't be able to ride them. So, I feel as if I must make the best of it while I can. Of course there is always the single track which I love to ride and the snowmobile trails which I would rather avoid.

In the meantime I'll ride, continue to learn, and enjoy it as much as possible. Tomorrow I'm hoping to get out before sunrise and enjoy another morning of riding before meeting Patti for breakfast and coffee.

1 comment:

Doug said...

Winter biking on my Pugsley is the funnest riding I do. It's grand!