First Dirt Ride of the Year

It has been a long winter here in Carson City. Cold, sunless days without end, and snow and ice that just won’t melt. By the end of last week though, the snow had receded on the slopes with a southern exposure, and the dirt had dried enough to permit a little mountain biking! We hadn’t enjoyed a good ride in the dirt since the very beginning of December, and were very eager to get back on it.

First Dirt Ride of the Year
Tom on the Jackrabbit Trail

I got a tip from Scott M that he had ridden to the top of the Baldy Green Trail recently, and that the traction was great. This was surprising, since I had just taken some pictures of the area earlier in the week, and it was largely covered in snow. The lunch crew headed up to Ash Canyon on Friday to see if it was as good as Scott said it was.

First Dirt Ride of the Year
Scott J on the Jackrabbit Trail

One of the nice things about the Carson Range is that it is largely composed of decomposed granite. DG can take a lot of water before it feels muddy, and it drains quickly. It is perfect when it dries up just enough to become firm. Wheels roll easily and there is abundant traction. For the most part, this is what we found on the singletrack on Friday.

First Dirt Ride of the Year
Jesse Climbing Deer Run

The Jackrabbit Trail, the climb immediately off the V&T bike path, was almost completely free of snow, and had we been in better shape, would have been easy climbing. It was quite evident that the low miles and easy riding of winter had taken its toll on our fitness.

We took a short break and then started our ascent up the Postal Route trail. The beginning of this trail is cut into a steep hillside, and going north to south, it gets a little less sun than the rest of the trail. While the rest of the trail has a lot more DG content, this little hill has a lot of clay in it. Our tires sunk into the deep mud, and I was grateful for the tall knobbies on my rear tire. Our tires packed with mud, making the climbing even tougher. The mud bog was short lived though, and we were soon back on firm dirt.

First Dirt Ride of the Year
Time for some Downhill!!

When we got to the top of the Deer Run trail, we thought we’d finish up on the road to make the climb easier. The road was soggy though, and we would have been better off just staying on the singletrack. Even though it was slow going, we were able to ride all the way to the top of the Four Day trail!

First Dirt Ride of the Year
Descending the Baldy Green Trail

With nothing but downhill all the way back to the office, we got started on our descent. I was surprised to see that my singletrack skills hadn’t totally left me, and I was carving turns and keeping good speed. Sometimes after a long break, you have a hard time staying on the trail. Jesse was thinking the same thing about his riding. I suppose our enhanced skills were due to the fact that the dirt had so much traction. I recently heard someone referring to this type of dirt as “hero dirt”. By the time I got to the bottom I had adrenaline coursing through my veins and I felt like a kid again!

Well, it’s snowing again as I write this, and it looks like we’re due for a lot of rain and snow the rest of the week. It was short lived, but that small taste of dirt gave us some hope of sunnier days ahead, and a reminder of how much fun we’re going to have when Spring arrives!

How has the riding been in your neck of the woods?

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