Sunday, January 17, 2010

Six Hours on Snow

Another typical January weekend for me. Saturday DaveP and I hit Waterville Valley. Reports on the ground said conditions were bleak. Neither Dave nor I liked the prospects of additional driving and costs to go all the way up to Bretton Woods. We have season passes for Waterville after all. There seemed to be a disconnect between the WV's website conditions and third party observations saying there was little snow. We decided chance it anyway. The worst that could happen would be getting stuck doing repeats on Tripoli Rd. Actually, that wouldn't be a bad thing at all. Tipoli Rd is often the first to open in the fall and last to close in the spring. It always has good snow.

We found conditions to be quite good actually, on the north end. Only a couple spots near the bottom of Livermore shown a stone or two. Everything else was 100% good to go. We did a Cascade Brook/Upper Snows double climb. I started a few minutes ahead of Dave and we somehow missed each other around the loop at the bottom. The temp had risen into the 30's, and I was sweating pretty good. I went through my water bottle very quickly. It figures I got locked out of Dave's car. There was no way I was going to ski at that pace for three hours on one water bottle. Yeah, I bought one of those water bottle belt thingies. Now I was regretting it. With my Camelbak, I could have skied three hours without stopping.

I caught up with Dave at the top of the Tripoli Rd climb, on the verge of bonking 2+ hours into the ski. I couldn't get back down to the car to retrieve my other bottle with Gatorade mix fast enough. Conditions had slowed considerably as the sun softened everything up, but I still managed to go 32mph down Tripoli. Heading back out to do the Osceola climb, I had reached that point where I slow down, and Dave reached that point where he knows he can put the screws to me. And he did. We did a couple laps around Moose Run/Wicked Easy, and I couldn't stay with him. Not that I ever put the screws to him on a bike climb.

I was deep into a bonk cave when we finished with 44km in 2.8hrs skiing time and just over 3000ft of climbing. That one took way more out of me than it should've. Great workout though, and a great day to be in the woods.

Earlier in the week I had high hopes of riding on the Cape. But the snow didn't melt fast enough, and I suspected with frost in the ground, a semi-thawed surface would be a sloppy mess anyway. It got cold enough in my parts to re-freeze the crust. I decided to head up to Massabesic Lake near Manchester early and see how long I could ride snow machine trails until rising temps softened them up.

Massabesic Lake lower, Tower Hill Pond upper left,
squigly Fireline Trail upper center

Starting out like the FOMBA Turkey Burner, I did a big loop around the lake. The riding was quite good. Hiked on only trails were rock hard but uber bumpy. Snow machine only traffic left a crunch surface that require considerable work to maintain any kind of speed, but was comfortably doable. I was curious to see if there had been any traffic on the FOMBA singletrack. I popped in near the Fireline trail. No bike tracks, but the trail appeared to be well packed by snowshoe traffic. I gave it a try. It rode quite nicely. Only a couple of the steepest bits forced me to dismount. It was all work though, all the time. It took me 45 minutes to cover this 3+ mile trail. I probably rode 97% of it. Well worth it. I was probably the first person to ride it this year.

Still 6-8" of snow in the woods at Fireline trail

Fireline pops out on doubletrack, groomed by the local snow machine club. It passes the FOMBA Woodpecker singletrack, which was not packed with snowshoe traffic. It looked like a rider attempted it but turned around 20ft in. Same with Hemlock Trail a bit further down. I wondered if any of the other 10 or so FOMBA trails were rideable. Maybe I lucked out. Fireline was barely rideable as I finished. The sun was rapidly softening things up.

I next went up to Tower Hill Pond to ride a lap of the old Watershed Wahoo course. This would all be on groomed snow machine trails with some climbs. Much of it was packed down to ice or even bare dirt in places. It was easier to ride in places than in summer.

People were ice fishing on Tower Hill Pond. I've had this idea for a long time to write something on a lake with my GPS track. This was a perfect opportunity. I zoomed in on the screen so I could more clearly see my "popcorn trail." I used this to navigate a track of my wife's name. And yes, when I got home and zoomed in on the track, she was impressed. I said I was thinking about her during my ride. The fishermen must have thought I was whacked.

Thinking about my sweetie while riding. Actual GPS track while riding.
Note scale to houses in image, then look at first photo above to see
where on the pond this is.

I rode 26 miles, nearly all of it on snow and off-road, in 3.0 hours. I tried to put a cap on intensity, but riding in snow often doesn't let you do that. Nearly six hours on snow this weekend left me a bit ragged. One day to rest before hitting Weston on Tuesday, if this rain coming down right now changes over to snow anytime soon.


rick is! said...

nice move. I'll have to remember that sometime this summer when I'm feeling guilty about riding. I tried writing marcy's name in beer bottles once but she wasn't impressed.

Steve G. said...

That track is a hoot!
I showed Gina what you had done and she said "cool, all you've ever done for me is pee my name in the snow!" My responce was "ya I know your name is short but you try dotting the i".

Hill Junkie said...

Steve - LMAO on that one!

Big Bikes said...


it's snowing down here. If it doesn't turn to rain, Weston'll be fine.