Sunday, January 12, 2014


After the crazy sun and warm weather yesterday, I figured RSP would be mostly ridable. My expectation was that we'd get into the trails and be able to haul ass and rail into the dirt as we did on our first fat-bike outing at RSP a few weeks ago.

I was thinking a few northerly-facing sections might be covered with ice and snow, there would be a lot of soft spots, but mostly riding would be clear.

And that was pretty accurate -- if you're only measuring broadly: anywhere there wasn't a trail my thinking held up. Unfortunately, the trails have been ridden and trodden upon verily over the last few weeks, so the they were sheer ice almost exclusively.

We arrive at about 7:20 AM this morning. We were bumming as we pulled into the 7-mile trailhead and saw all the iced-over trails. Glen hopped on his bike, rolled over a section of trail, and the bike just instantly slid out from under him.

The picture above shows a pretty standard trail. I think we were both sort of silently pondering a bail-out plan, but we ended up tooling around a bit.

After a while though, we found it pretty fun to avoid the trails. In fact, there were sections where the trail sort of provided a general direction. With fat bikes and low pressure, just cutting through the forest was pretty easy. And fun. Especially descending through sections of non-trailed forests. We cut down a couple of steep long hills, rolling and hopping over deadfall and avoiding branches and trees as we picked up speed.

We ended up riding for over 2 hours. It was great.

I'm thinking it's probably not great form to go cutting through the forest off the trails. That approach doesn't scale well. And riding the edge of the existing trails is not something that scales well either. Over time, with many riders doing these things both approaches would pretty much trash bits of the forest and overly widen the trails I suppose.

But I realized a couple things here: firstly, I was reminded as I often am when I set my expectations for bike trips, that they don't often turn out as you think they will. The key to enjoying shattered expectations is to reframe and figure out how to make them fun.

Liza likes to tell me of time in highschool when she was hanging out with a mutual friend of ours at a restaurant. A song came on that she thought was cheesy and she mentioned this to our buddy.

He agreed it was a cheesy song.

"But," he said, "Try this. Imagine this is your most favorite song of all time. It's the song that changed your life because you love it so much..."

When you listen to a cheesy song or end up on a shitty ride, this is a great place to approach the shittiness from. It's true: try it with a lame song. If you really reframe, you can love any crap song or shit ride.

Rolling up and seeing this sheet of ice everywhere can make you turn around, or make you get creative about different ways of having fun on your bike.

The second thing I realized was that I really want to figure out a cool camping trip for the Pugsley. Low pressure, fast spinning, slow rolling over logs, mud, snow, ice, etc is really working for me right now. I'd really enjoy a few days of that kind of riding capped by camping under the stars with some TenFidy.


bmike said...

I loved the Pugsley as a touring machine.

Wileydog said...

yes my plan this year was to ride Riverside throughout winter since its so close and help keep some trails open, which hasn't worked out like I planned. I was out there Friday actually hoping that the snow and ice had melted so that I could ride more dirt. Weird thought for a fat biker. One thing about going off-trail, at least the fat tires don't make hardly any impression. I saw some mtb tracks, and some stupid monster truck tire tracks. aaargh.