A short and sweet ride with Wil and Greg along the Wells River Rail Trail in Plainfield, VT, followed by breakfast at Positive Pie.
Archive for the ‘winter’ Category
No snow, but 37dF and raining when I left the car. Post holiday overnight to Silver Lake in GMNF. Walk in, in the rain. Setup camp, eat dinner, sleep. Walk out. I was at my desk working by 9:30am.
A bit cold, I pitched the BD Mega in a breezy spot. Wind howled overnight, so I blockaded myself in with my pack and camp chair. Had a fitful sleep, but it was wonderful to be outside under a nearly full moon, in the woods, completely alone.
Lake Champlain was a moonscape last night. The cold of last week and the wind of the last few days pushed the ice into cones and mounds of ice on North Beach.
I really like these impressions of my ride captured by the GoPro. Blurry trees, hints of the trail, and what feels like far more speed than I can maanage on the single track in the dark.
And, I’m still in love with the Jones Loop bars – the extra hand positions are great for climbing, and Depot St. is nearby to get a few reps in and get the heart rate up.
Some of my favorite photos from the last few weekends.
Quick, solo, sub 24 hour (S24O) bikepacking trip to Little River State Park. Dirt roads, a bit of pavement, and the park access road on day 1, then the access road and pavement on day 2.
Dinner, small fire, and a night in the woods.
Rain, muddy roads, soaking wet, cold, muddy.
Smiling from ear to ear.
~42 miles – ~6 were pushing the bike up and down the access road.
Started out on a dirt road ride (frozen, snow and ice covered) and decided to check out the access road to Silver Lake, from FR 32 in GMNF. The road in had recent truck tracks on it, and when I got to the gate the snowmobile groomer had been out – so I wandered down to the dam.
I brought the wrong bike for winter trail riding – the Nicotines with 2.35″ tires just don’t float well on semi-packed snow. I washed out the front once on the way down to the lake, and had to walk the last 1/4 mile to the dam due to the churned up snomo trail.
I enjoyed some coffee and the rest of my breakfast bagel, then started back out (and up!).
It was too much work keeping the bike on track and upright on the way out of the lake – so I pushed until I got to the turn in the access road. There is a VAST trail (snowmobile) that connects back to FR 32… so I decided to follow it. I was able to ride downhill to the bridge over Dutton Brook, but the trail was far too steep for riding climbing back out. Atop the ravine – just where the trail flattened out and I thought I could ride again – I had some sleds pass me (politely). The sleds churned up the trail, so I ended up walking about 3 miles to the road intersection, pushing the bike.
Beautiful, but tiring. When we get more snow the fat tired Pugsley will make the trip… lots to explore in Moosamaloo, even in winter…
Winter arrived here in VT over the last couple of weeks. Heavy, wet snow has blanketed the state. In BTV we have been spared the power outages and downed trees, some parts of the state went without power for 3-4-5 days. I’ve been rolling when I can between lots of travel for work and family. Put some studded tires on the Krampus after some sketchy riding in the GMNF. The 45Nrth 2.35″ Nicotines really grip – although you need to find the sweet spot of pressure – too much and the side knobs don’t grip the ruts on the dirt roads, too little, and it can be a real slog on pavement or hardpack.
I snuck out for some early winter riding in the Green Mountain National Forest. I had visions of a larger loop – but after sliding around on the hardpack / ice (primarily going downhill) from last nights sleet / rain I cut it short at about 15 miles. Steam Mill, Natural Turnpike, and a bit of exploring down the road to Spark’s Landing.
The Krampus is fast becoming my favorite bike… it just feels right in so many situations. I can’t wait to get my dyno light back from warranty, and if I had warmer gear I’d be planning some winter bikepacking trips. The Knards did admirable in the snow – but the frozen sort of iced hardpack was a bit unnerving. They wash out in deeper snow, but roll really well on hardpack and the snow that gets trampled on dirt roads. They can’t compare to a Nate on the Pugsley for grip, but the Nate cannot compare to the Knard for nice rolling. I’m hoping the Maxxis Chronicles become available in the spring stateside – they look like a good mud / slop / snow tire for 29+ and for general trail riding. The Knard would be a gt to for forest road / dirt road / tame single track bikepacking.
I’ve been skiing a very light backcountry touring setup all winter at Smuggs. Boots are Scarpa T4s (2 buckle touring boots), bindings are Voile 3 Pin Cable, skis Madshus Epoch (185s… way long for anything but breaking trail and touring!). These skis have a pattern on the bottom – so are a little slow on the gentler terrain – but great for chasing the kids around.
I’ve worked my way up to some blue trails off the top of Sterling and Madonna, including some rougher terrain connecting the mountains. It has been an interesting journey – long, relatively skinny skis with simple bindings and low boots. My technique has improved 100% or more since December. Still learning to ski through chop and mixed conditions – when the snow is groomed and firm, or fresh (up to about 4-6″) I feel very comfortable. When its really deep the skis want to dive right in, and when there is hardback with lots of fluff or chop across the slope I have to work really hard to stay upright. With the skis being so lite and flexy, changing conditions requires alot of body work and technique to keep an edge. So far I’ve enjoyed it all – but I can say after a full day my quads and calves and even my upper body feels like its had a good workout.
I could have used some bindings that release maybe twice this season – I took a couple of good falls on some steep, choppy snow. Feet stay connected – so I saw skis and sky over and over as I tumbled to a stop. No serious injury other than a tweaked ankle.