Sunday, January 16, 2011
Along Little Cliff Pond, Nickerson State Park.
Hard to believe there is 16" of snow in my yard 2hrs away.
Saturday's ski left me feeling pretty wrecked on Sunday. I was still intent on riding though. I had only gotten one short ride in so far this week with any intensity. I had planned to ride three hours locally on Sunday, but wouldn't you know it, we received a dusting of snow over night. That made the roads a mess. I was hoping to ride some back dirt roads, but a dusting of snow can render studded tires useless on the ice underneath. A straight up road ride was out of the question. Besides messy roads, the snow banks are higher than cars around here. Cars have to pull half way out into the road to see if anything is coming. Guess who they'll see last? That skinny dude in spandex riding on the edge of the road!
Stewing in sorrow Sunday morning, I was perusing the MTB forums to see if anybody was riding anything off-road. I thought P(trail_ride)<0.001 given how much snow there was everywhere. But somebody out on the Cape said mid-Cape conditions weren't too bad. Hmm, I've gotten suckered by info from the web before. I was jones'n to ride, so I kitted up headed down to Nickerson State Park in Brester.
Snow depth dropped quite a bit south of Boston, maybe half what we have at the house. There was clearly still too much snow crossing over the Sagamore Bridge to ride ToT or Otis. However, by Exit 7, some bare Earth was starting to show here and there. I thought about stopping there to ride the Willow Street trails, but that is a pretty small place. I stayed to plan and headed almost all the way east on the Cape to Nickerson State Park. I've never been there before. To my dismay, it almost looked like there was more snow there than four exits back at Willow St.
I parked off Joe Long Rd and began riding south along a paved park path. It sucked. It was 3-4" deep chunky, foot traffic pock marked crud. In my tired state, I had no motivation for the hills. I thought to myself "I drove two hours for this!?" There were no bike tracks to be found. I assumed I'd been had by the web again. I covered about 2 miles in the first 30 minutes.
The shady side of Cliff Pond
Then I spotted bike tracks heading into singletrack. I followed. A pair of tracks merged into another trail, and suddenly, there were numerous bike tracks. This was more like it! Not only did the traffic pack things down nicely, there was almost no snow to pack under the heavy evergreen canopy. This became good riding.
Typical singletrack conditions
Another rare instance where tires touched dirt
The terrain in Nickerson is surprisingly hilly. The trails are buff. Throw crusty snow into the mix, it keeps your speed honest. Only a couple very brief instances did grade exceed traction, forcing dismounts. It was great to have the tracks to follow, as I would never have been able to piece together that much singletrack without backtracking or missing sections altogether. The first photo of this post was an anomaly. Better than 99% of the time, I was riding on snow.
A lot of singletrack was ridden at Nickerson
I never saw another rider. Saw skiers, walkers and equestrians though. I bet locals don't get to ski that far out on the Cape very often. I finished my loop of the park with 20 miles, 2:50 hours and 1900 feet of climbing on the Garmin. I got my fix. I was fully satiated. Conditions were not what I typically go to the Cape for, but the Cape came through for me no less.