Sunday, February 28, 2010

Canvassing Snow and Sand

The double weather system was really hit or miss this weekend. The net snow accumulation at my house was nil. Yet 20 miles away at Windblown XC Touring Center, they got dumped on. Waterville Valley got rain, and apparently the wet snow and wind that came with it took a lot of trees down. They had neglible terrain open Saturday. Bretton Woods was claiming 0km groomed. It seemed Windblown was the only viable option without driving extreme distances. Skaters can never know what they're going to get until they get there.

Well, this time conditions were actually quite good. The only nit is they did not groom the Barrett Mountain trails. These are the only sustained climbs Windblown has. But the softness and moisture in the snow made for some pretty hard work everywhere else, so a good workout was still to be had. A bunch of us converged on Windblown - me, Brett, Jody and Steve, all IBC'ers, and Dave P. Brett and I killed it for the first hour or so before rejoining with Dave who unleashed another dose of punishment in the last half hour. I skied almost 2.5 hours, covering only 32km, but 3000ft of climbing. It was a very peaky workout, nothing steady about it.  We covered pretty much every trail that was groomed.

Hit everything but Barrett Mtn in top center of image

Sunday I got up to see wet/slushy roads and snow still in the woods. Local road and off-road riding would suck. What to do.  A Facebook friend commented that conditions at Otis where ok. I thought surely with several inches of rain and frost potentially still in the ground, conditions would be sloppy. On a whim, I decided to risk it anyway.

There were quite a few cars at the Rt 151 Otis parking area. A good sign.  I brought the singlespeed, the one I picked up no less than 15 punctures in front and rear tires the last time riding at Otis. They were still holding air. I just added 5-8 lbs each.

Yellow track from last visit, red track from today. I hit
start on GPS quarter of the way into today's ride.

Otis conditions were as good as they get. Zero mud, and all the trails had a perfect firm tackiness to them. There was no frost in the ground, and the sandy base drained perfectly.  I put on a flamingo fender but it was not needed. The bike stayed mint clean. With heavy overcast, I found it much trickier to navigate the maze. More than once I popped out on a trail I previously visited. I still managed canvas the area pretty well. The high winds this week brought a year's worth of tree debris down.  I suspect more than a few rear derailleurs were sucked into wheels to day. I nearly endo's a couple times when large sticks locked up a wheel.  All the spokes are still intact.  Singly geared was the way to go.  I stretched the ride out to 3hrs covering over 27mi and nearly 3000ft of climbing. Two high intensity days in a row left me wicked wrecked. Probably not the best way to taper for Rangeley next weekend, but winter riding just doesn't get any better than this.

Non-stop tree debris at Otis

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