So, for me, it meant swapping out the 29+ wheels I had on the Fatboy for fall riding, and putting the fat wheels back on. And so, Saturday I headed out to join the BicycleWorks Saturday morning group ride. The Saturday morning crew is fast, and very skilled technically...so I often feel out of place, and regularly get dropped on this ride. Luckily, the Saturday morning ride doesn't last too long, usually at the most 2 hours. And jumping on the fatbike, Saturday morning, I realized that the Friday heavy leg workout may not have been the best idea...
However, I struck it lucky....the BicycleWorks crew actually took it easy this time. We headed east across the top of the escarpment...mostly flat! Then dropped down Kerns Road and returned on a new(ish) trail, aptly dubbed Colinoscopy (a story for another day). This trail is not crazy hilly, and not crazy technical...at least the tech bits were not dangerous. So....it was a good ride!!
See! Me in the back (as usual)...and not injured or even hurting (much)!
Saturday night...more snow. So, off I went to London to join a ride with Jack's crew. Jack likes the longer rides, so I knew this ride would be worth the 1.5 hour drive to London. Jack kicked my arse at Wendigo...(don't remind me about Wendigo!).
Jack at Wendigo last winter.
And Jack solo'd the 24 Hours of Summer Solstice on a fatbike...who would be crazy enough to do that? (Raf???)
Anyways, I knew this would be a worthy ride...and it was! Especially on new-to-me trails. 5 of us set out shortly after 8am...me, Jack, Mike, Joe, and Dean...and it was still snowing. All was great...perfect fatbike conditions...a few inches of snow. Then, about 1.5 in....a mishap. Jack's fatbike dropped a crank....a fatal mechanical. We were lucky enough to be only a few hundred meters from a road...so Jack made a call to have his 29er bike delivered...and the switch was made. 30-40 minutes later we were back at it...Jack now on his 29er in the snow. Onward, with the occasional stop to eat...or pee...or tighten a bolt or two...
Tightening a loose brake...
The only other real mishap was my doing. We were riding a trail directly along the edge of the Thames River, Joe and Dean ahead of me stopped to walk/jump over a very deep puddle. I stepped off my bike...onto nothing! I stepped off the bank of the river....the freezing water of the river about 30 feet below the trail. Very luckily, there were pines growing along the bank...I fell about 8 feet...and the pine branches caught me. Actually, a soft, spongy, dry landing!! I handed my bike up to Dean and Jack. Then Jack grabbed my hand and flung this 200lbs of native up the embankment like I was a sack of cotton candy! That is one strong dude!!
Anyways, after 4.5 hours or so of riding time (about 5.5 hours of total time with the stops), we realized we had better head back. And due to time constraints (mostly me, cuz I still had to drive 1.5 hours back home in what was now blizzard conditions), we decided that 4.5 hours of trails back would not work.
So, we bee-lined it back on bike paths and road...which still took over 1.5 hours to get back. And the fatbike on trails is amazing...it flows and grips the snow and feels as nimble as a summer trailbike. But on straight bike paths and roads...it is one heck of a heavy grind. The 1.5 hour time trial back destroyed me!! Finally, we made it back...cold, caked in wet heavy gunk from the road slush...finished! An awesome ride, a great adventure, and a tremendous workout! Thank you Jack!! What an introduction to this winter's riding season!!
Speaking of, the first fatbike race of the season is this coming weekend. Substance Project's Fat Turkey Marathon. If you haven't registered yet, you still can here ... but time is running out! Get on it!!
Word is that Dan has a snowy pillow fight scheduled somewhere along the trail in this race!
But I think it is just for single speeders...
Anyways, before I actually get myself in trouble, I better call this one a wrap. Winter riding season is here!! And, soon even Christmas!!
I apologize that this post was not more Christmassy...I promise, the next one will be...Thursday!