Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Snow Klicks

I've reached a state of total depletion. I've covered 216km on snow in 6 days. Over half of this was skate skiing, the rest mountain biking on packed snow trails. Surprisingly, I manage a faster average pace on skis than I do on the bike, even when a lot of climbing is involved. Zero crashes, falls or even dabs.

Tuesday I hit my second most favorite spot to trail ride in West Michigan at Yankee Springs Recreation Area. MMBA built one of the state's first purpose built trails there in the 1990's. Yankee Springs was where I rode singletrack for the first time. Fond memories always come to mind when I ride there, even if it looks like winter wonderland right now. It hadn't snowed in a while, and many riders over the past week have packed the trail down nicely.  I had planned to ride the 13.5mi loop twice, but the bodily willingness to needed effort ratio dictated otherwise. There's a mid loop bailout point, so I rode 1.5 laps.

Forested sand dunes at Yankee Springs

Wednesday I wanted to ski up north at Crystal Mountain, but they weren't updating their Nordic conditions website info. I called, they said since they didn't get any new snow, nothing changed and there was no need to even groom. Ah, ok. I asked if skate lanes were a bit packed. In places, they said. Ok, thanks. I had no interest in skiing Weston style boiler plate.

I didn't want to drive all the way up to VASA again (3hrs). I tried calling Muskegon Winter Sports Complex (<1hr), but could not get a live person. Thier website looked suspisciously the same each day too, claiming they groom every day 10am and 4pm (they have night XC skiing). There was minimal snow driving north on US-31 past Muskegon, but as I headed west towards the lakeshore, the snow depth grew exponentially in the last mile. The winter sports complex is nestled in the dunes right on the shore.  They had generous base and had just finished grooming. Bonus!

The Nordic trails at Muskegon

Muskegon is very small. They have 2.5km and 5.0km loops that intersect and overlap each other. There is one climb, a 60ft wall at 30% grade up a sand dune. The rest is pretty flat. The new corduroy made skiing with good form a breeze. I V2'd almost the whole time, finally getting a really good upper body workout. Too bad the rest of my body was trashed. I bonked almost immediately. My mother complained that my calorie consumption was depleting the pantry faster than she prepared for. I thought I was eating enough, but needing two Gu's in the first hour said otherwise. Averaging 2-3hrs of hard aerobic activity per day caught up to me. I need a break from my break.

With the warm spell and rain coming, looks like the rest of my activities here will be on pavement. Yuk. Hopefully Bretton Woods keeps their base. I have a season pass for Waterville Valley, but they could close again by the time I get back.


TJ said...

Looks like a fun snow ride, what was your tire selection and psi? Conditions look similar here in CT but havent tried riding the trails since the snow Sunday.

Hill Junkie said...

I ran Nokian Extreme studs at ~30psi. There was very little ice, so studs were not really needed. Based on tracks, it didn't look like anybody was riding studs. A decent set of knobbies would have hooked up well.

All you need is to send a sacrificial pack of guys down an unpacked trail to pack it in for those that follow. I really lucked out. It was as if the trail was groomed just for mountain biking.