Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Going Nordic

This has been kinda stumping me lately. Nordic skiing means XC skiing on snow with poles and skinny skis. Nordic walking is basically walking anywhere anytime with poles. What do you call it if you take your bike out in the snow on Nordic trails? Is it Nordic biking even if we don't use poles? Or is it just mountain biking? Whatever it is, it's damn fun if conditions are good.

Being sick and tired of the lack of riding afforded to us this winter, we decided to go far, far out on a limb. The idea was to head to one of our favorite summer riding spots and keep our fingers crossed that enough traffic had packed the snow to a rideable state either on singletrack or jeep road. Surprisingly enough, and despite conflicting reports on how bad it was going to suck, we had 8 crazy/stoopid/ignorant/optimistic fun seeking mountain bikers show. We loaded up the vehicles and drove west to Peaceful Valley. We knew it was going to be good as soon as we got to Peaceful Valley. We almost got the big ol F250 stuck - "someone get out and help me lock the hubs." heh heh.

Then Chad was one gloveless. Good thing we were able to dig up a spare.

Things were definitely looking to get interesting. We pedaled off onto the first singletrack right before the bridge. Unbelievably, it was fantastic. There had been so much traffic on skis, snowshoes, and hiking boots that it was firm, packed and fast. Smooth, too, as the snow was deep enough to cover up all of the rocks and roots. The tread was 18-24" wide. Once you got outside of that window, the snow was soft and deep.

Thumbs up! We made it to the start of Buchanan Pass and conditions were top notch.
We pressed on and up Buchannan Pass. Not being a snow junkie, it was unlike any other time I'd been up there. It was peaceful, serene, and the trail was completely smooth. I liked. The rigid SS was a great choice for the terrain, but I could've used something easier than the 32x19 I was on. I know, I need to HTFU.

Our watter bottles and bladders froze pretty quickly. It's a good thing a few of us brought extra hydration supplies. It's always good to get a cold hand around a warm Chub.

We made it up to the waterfall. By then, it had gotten to be pretty slow going. The trail was steep enough, the snow was soft enough, and the tread was narrow enough that it was really, really difficult to make ground. Most of us ended up hiking the last part of the way.

After another, erm, snacktime at the waterfall, it was time to head back. We expected it to be difficult but we really had no idea. Most of the way up, even though there was definitely a "tread" we were blazing trail. Blazing back down was a challenge. The packed tread was only 8-10" at this point. Going off tread by even an inch or two meant instant endo. The snow on the side of the trail was deep. Deep as in I stepped in it and went in to my crotch. Lower down and it got better. Faster and a smidge wider.

But that snow can fool you. Still just an inch or two outside of the line and you're going down. It was slick, too. I can't remember how many times I crashed. Silly fun, I tell you.

Without a doubt, the finest section of trail was the connector between Peaceful Valley and Camp Dick. I'll go back again just to hit that!

Great ride last night, guys. This is definitely on our must do again list. Best ride of the year so far.

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