Winter Riding Report: Dark, Deep Snow, Cold

Riding in real cold, real dark, real steep, really difficult traction conditions in the Camden Hills State Park, overlooking Penobscot Bay under the last quarter moon. I don’t think it reached 15 out on the seven-plus miles tonight.
Five Bubbas made it out with the help of the lights: four guys on fat bikes ( Ian, Jason, John, me) and Craig Mac on his Tallboy outfitted with a brand new pair of Ice Spiker Pro 29″ 2.25 Studded Tires.
Here’s John’s brief clip of tonight’s actual ride at the start, which has some other local footage on it. I admit it casts a bleak aspect on the wonders of the outdoors, but heck, it’s night time and the lights we use aren’t flamethrower candlepower! As Craig so aptly quipped tonight, “At least we’re off the couch.”

We left from the Route 1 Parking lot. The ride was most difficult right at the start, with an immediate climb of 400 feet in the first half- mile. Ian and Jason took right off and Mac and I rode together.
The track tonight is not frozen in at all, despite five days of cold clear weather since the last snowfall. It’s a wide packed smooth snowmobile-graded skiing trail, wide enough to let the ski skaters fly along through the Park. Every once in a while, the 250 pound combined weight of me and the Pugsley broke through the top layer and started spinning a bit until the lugs on my Nate tires caught and on I’d move ahead. Craig Mac stopped a couple of times to dump air out of his tires. You need as much surface on the pack as possible in order to keep from sinking while you pedal.
On the way up, John Anders came at us on his Pugsley from the Lincolnville end of the road, a mile and a half downhill from here.
We caught Ian and Jason. Ian encouraged me to dump most of the air out of my 4” tires. I thought they were soft enough, as I had pumped them up to 9 pounds two weeks ago. He told me they were still too firm. A mere four pounds inside the tire didn’t sound like a good idea to me, but after I let the air out, I pulled up and away from Craig Mac, which NEVER happens.
We regrouped at the 3.5 mile mark, at the start of the Bald Rock Mountain Trail, where the young bucks headed up and Mac and I doubled back. IMG_1219
It was crazy fast and fun running down the long downhill. While the track was not frozen solid, it made it possible to lean the bikes over and keep rubber down as we twisted and skidded our way back to the parking lot. I’ve got to improve my footwear situation. I should of listened when Marcia told me to throw out these batteries,just because they were 6 years old.

[ Note: Be prepared to pay $1.50 each to enter the Park. Have the change ready. ]

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About tjamrog

I'm sixty-seven and live in the Maine woods. I thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2007, the Pacific Crest Trail in 2010, Vermont's Long Trail in 2011, and the Continental Divide Trail in 2013 . I am outdoors every day. I offer guided backpacking trips and classes in Maine, through "Uncle Tom's Guided Adventures".
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5 Responses to Winter Riding Report: Dark, Deep Snow, Cold

  1. Bluebearee says:

    Thanks for the $$ plug. No one pays summer or winter – Stevens Corner especially.

  2. Many happy memories for me, of night skiing with the dog, used waxable skis in those days, w polar wax and blue klister. Never had to mess with the wax when it was -20! And of course, the dog would go crazy – I have not been an alpha male since the day he died (at 14 years of age).

    Seems to me as though there was a horror movie filmed using similar hand-held, flashlight-lit technology – can’t remember the name but I was waiting for a Yeti to pop out from behind a tree somewhere.

    And – who ever had the guts to follow down that second path? My hat is off to that guy!

    Glad to see it was snow and not ice —–

    Call me

    “Catch-Up”

  3. Onestep says:

    woot! The lowest air pressure you can get away with is important. I was out two nights ago biking urban snomo trails running 17psi in my 29r Ice Spiker Pros. Winter riding is so much fun!

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