Last week when the weather was sort of mild, Mike of Reno’sTeam Bacon Strip and I talked about riding this Sunday. The weather turned foul at the end of the week, and I was thinking of calling off the Sunday Ride. How good could the riding be after a couple days of snow? The forecast for Sunday was cold with no weather, so I decided that we should just go for it and hope for the best. Being on the east side of Carson City, the Centennial trail network would be our best bet for shallow snow.
Jeff P and I rode out and met Mike (and Juniper the dog) at the Centennial trailhead. Even though it was really cold, the sun was thawing out the exposed dirt, making for some muddy conditions near the parking lot. Thankfully, it turned to snow just a little ways in. There were only a couple drifts that made us get off and walk our bikes. The rest of it was cold, crisp powder that was wonderful to ride in. Good traction, and not so heavy that it made forward motion toilsome. There were a few patches of mud here and there, but nothing too messy.
I’m not real acquainted with the Centennial trails yet, so it made it even less familiar with a couple inches of snow covering it. In fact, I felt like I was somewhere completely new! The snow also provided an all new challenge after riding in sandy conditions for several months. There were also lots of photo opportunities with all the pretty blues and whites. Normally Jeff P only has to put up with one camera, but today Mike and I were both shooting. I couldn’t tell if Jeff P’s eyes were rolling behind his tinted lenses. He was a good sport though!
Between the three of us, we had a pretty cool collection of bikes. All three were steel framed, two of them were 29ers, and two of them were single speeds. I think the biggest advantage of the day was traction. A couple of the climbs were pretty slippery, and wheel slippage was fatiguing.
I have some very aggressive IRC Trail Bears on my bike, a 2.5 in the front, and a 2.1 in the rear. In summer conditions, these tires would be overkill and not worth the weight penalty. Out here in the snow though, they were awesome. On the longest climb, my heart and lungs gave up before my rear wheel traction! Mike had 29×2.35 Panaracer Rampage tires front and rear. They were BIG tires. Bigger than the 29×2.55 Weirwolf we just put on Kristy’s bike in fact. They seemed to be hooking up great. Jeff P. was running a WTB 29×2.3 ExiWolf in the front, and a 29×2.1 Nano Raptor in the rear. Normally the Nano Raptor seems to hook up pretty good in a variety of conditions, but it was having a bit of trouble on the slipperiest climbs today.
Coming down the last descent of the day, I heard the unmistakable sound of my Chihuahua barking. The rest of my family was up walking the dogs! Kristy got this shot of us three handsome men as we finished the ride.
The snow ride at Centennial was very encouraging, and makes me feel happy that there will be something enjoyable to ride during the winter months. I had a lot of fun riding with Jeff P and Mike too. I think we may have talked as much as we rode. I may need to get a Surly Flask though, because it got a bit chilly at some of the stops…