12/05 Monday Night Ride at Tranquility
Ryan showed for his first snow ride - awesome! Add to the difficulty of riding in the snow - night time light/vision and temp of about 18 with no solar heating by the sun. He did really well - though I detected more fishtailing as the distance increased. Even riding snow tread that has been packed down, it's like riding a foot wide board all the time. Eventually the continued concentration on trying to ride so narrow adds up - that and our trail widening instances carved up the tread requiring more concentration next time around to ride through.
Was reminded of the difference between snow packed into ice and ice that's glazed. Less noise on latter and I got dropped really quick twice. Neighborhood streets had better traction than park entrances. Even though fell on solid ice over pavement, no long term pain. Studs or chains do help on the glaze, but overall, I like the mt kings at 22 psi rear and 20 front. Felt bounce and concerned about pinch flat but made it home. With so much ice/snow on streets, I don't ride fast enough to require braking hard and spinning a tire on the rim. Glad I went to 36/22 gearing, could feel quads had a workout when I got home.
Overall, I was out almost two hours at 18F with 10mph NNE wind. New PI gloves with vulcan sign fingering and additional glove inside (can't remember correct term for the inside glove) worked. A couple finger tips got cold at first, then warmed up, then several fingers got cold. Did Dave N's warm up technique of throwing to ground motion and the fingers hurt more! Then they warmed up. 8-) Stopping to talk to Steve a couple times and the fingers got cold. Must be lower heart rate/blood pressure doesn't push enough warm blood to fingers/toes. Toes were mostly fine, though when I got home and stripped down, the toes felt pretty cold with a little tinglyness.
Clothing: wool socks, sugoi 3/4 leggings, sugoi thermal pants, chrome messenger pants, armour base, sugoi wool jersey, chrome wool jacket, two PI thin belaclavas, PI thin glove, PI P.R.O. softshell lobster glove, Shimano winter boot, PI high ankle shoe covering. L&M ARC (HID, old but still works) only lasted about 1.5 hours, good I ride with handlebar backup. This was the second time it ran dry on way home from a mnr. I don't use both lights at same time so I have a backup. Forgot to blow camelbak tube with air so it was frozen solid first time went for a drink. Not going extreme on power output kept hydration necessity low.
Overall, a fun first snow ride of the season, even being dark with a little wind. Nice having someone to ride with and seeing Steve and Cody on the trail. They were out there in daylight through our ride and put in 10 miles on xc skis.
Surprisingly, the snow has not compacted or iced yet. Agree with Steve that snow loops need to be short so many laps are put on tread to pack down and widen out. Or need a lot of bikes for longer loops. I think flatter grade trails are best choice since elevation change requires more precise balance to keep traction to both tires and increases power needs beyond my sustainable max.
Lot of quad tracks on wetland loop. Didn't go far on it before turning around. Maybe mental but prefer to break/pack tread in daylight. Minimal visibility seems limits the amount of hard work I want to do. Night time snow riding is like riding an unfamiliar, loose traction, tread requiring more balance and tracking skills, more power output at less speed. It is a much different experience from cold, dry riding, which is different from warm, dry riding. Cool the different kinds of experiences available on a bike!
If night time singletrack in the snow is beyond your comfort range, check out daytime snow riding on the cement trails. After being plowed, these are usually less icy than neighborhood streets, though need to watch for thawed/frozen ice (black ice).
Enjoy the ride!