Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Loose Change...

Last Winter we built some race specific trail for use in the Pirate cXc Winter Night Race Series. Last night, three of us on fat bikes went out to ride one of those courses to see if it would be a good alternate to the 2013 series. Being that these "trails" were made for a one-night only race, we knew that conditions might be rough. None had trimmed or done any maintenance in a years time. Maybe they no longer existed? We were determined to find out.
MaxiThad, PostalJeff and I rolled into the darkness around 8 p.m.. It was pretty cold, maybe 18 degrees or so. it felt like 10. We bundled-up, found the old race loop and went for a lap. We rolled down a now deeply rutted double track descent, across a short creek crossing and into the first series of 4x4 climbs. These climbs are super steep, fairly loose dirt ruts made by local yahoos in their 4x4 trucks. You climb about 30 feet up in 20. Then you ride down the next one - repeat, take a breath along some flats and do it all again. There are seven of these short and steep climbs on the course. Some of which we just could not make it up, and at least one that had dire consequences if you failed - it was so steep that you'd tumble back down the hill with your bike (as I did). Frozen dirt and rock feels awesome to bounce down, really.
Areas of single-track that we had previously constructed had since changed into double-track 4x4 road. Another section of single-track that remained intact had become a major deer highway. At the exit of this deer highway someone had some feed set out and a blind/tent set-up for hunting. There was obvious signs of a recent kill - a trail of blood up a climb into the woods. 
This was a little spooky for us, being in the middle of no-mans-land at night. Fortunately it lead us to this and not the barrel of a gun - a nice and very vintage ladder bridge.
I think PostalJeff shot some video of us phuggin' around here while his rear tire was deflating. Hopefully I'll get that video posted at a later date. Speaking of PostalJeff; he's getting the hang of riding fat bikes (4th ride). His Salsa Mukluk is pretty flippin' sweet!

Nearby there is a fun creek crossing that allows for some good technical riding. There is a steep and rocky descent with only one good line that requires a solid pair of huevos to attempt. If you miss the line you might fall off a six foot drop to more rock, not really an option. MaxiThad is always game for trying lines of trickery, so we played around a bit on this feature, eventually moving on, dreaming of warm toes and malt beverages.
This was my first ride on the Fat Pearl (Surly Pugsley). I'd like to make a few changes in my set-up, like my bars (from flat to a riser) to get a better position for climbing. Climbing seems to be the real challenge on these monster trucks of the bike world. I was generally excited and impressed with the new build and how it rolled over rock-strewn terrain with ease. I can't wait for more snow, and will get her down to the river to sample some deep sand in the near future. Super psyched to be riding a fat bike!

EDIT: Here's that seen from the eyes of the predator.

No comments: