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.
Archive for the ‘winter’ Category
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.
Been a long time since I have written those words. Dirty ride with Greg in Middlesex, VT. Mountain bikes, with studs. Dirt roads, some trail. Ice, mud, snow, hike a bike, slop on the way down when the temps warmed up. Just under 18 miles, with a claimed climbing of ~2750′ according to the online maps. Will have to run it through TopoFusion later. Pretty amazing scenery, and a convenient place for the two of us to meet at the Red Hen Bakery.
Some thoughts from the ride: I started keeping my kit ‘ready to go’ – so I’d always have the same things at the ready. While this has been working – I looked at the sky, at the road, and the temps as we were suiting up in the parking lot and decided to leave the camera in the car. I also figured we’d get up the first few climbs and decide to bomb back down – so I left extra calories with my kit bag. The first rule of bike club is: always take the larger camera. The second rule of bike club is: always take some extra food. The third rule of bike club is: always take the same kit, repeat and modify as needed.
I did the entire ride on some licorice and my coffee and bagel from an hour before. Yes, we did less than 18 miles, but I was feeling it at the end.
A semi back country ski with Greg in Little River State Park, on my ~8 year old, long, skinny, straight, metal edged Karhu Pavo’s. ~6 miles, according to my rough trail sketch on TopoFusion we climbed ~1300 feet. Deep snow, steep trails (up and down), a sled dog team, coffee and lunch break… all good fun resulting in a sore body.
If I can get in better ski shape I have my eye on the Bolton-Trapps trail. Its been since 2005 since I’ve been out on my Nordic skis on a regular basis, and since 2005-2006 since I tele skied. Skills go away really fast without use. Need to correct that this winter, so long as the snow sticks around. I have some new skis on order – wider, sidecut, full metal edge Madschus Epoch with Voile 3pin cable bindings, anti ice tape and climbing wires. I’ll be using my Karhu boots (Converts I think) until next season – when I’ll try to snag some plastic boots used over the summer. Need to look at some winter sleeping gear… might have to expand my ‘overnights’ into the snow.