Monday, March 5, 2012

The weekend

Another planned competitive event came and went without my participation. I really wanted to do at least one legitimate ski race this season. The Rangeley Loppet is a good one, with modest climbs, no sketchy descents, and fast finishing time. But the weather spooked me. Overnight snow turning to rain sounded like a 3-4hr slog to me. So I didn't register and planned to get my endorphin fix on wheels instead.

We got buried with new snow at our house on Thursday. By Friday morning, we had 10" of snow on our deck. The Cape got only rain. I wondered how juicy it would be. It was an off Friday for me. It was Cape or nothing, as the new snow was too dense and deep to take the fatbike out on, and roads were too dangerous for studs.

I always seem to forget how bad traffic sucks on work days. I left mid-morning, and 128 was still a parking lot. Then south of Boston I drove through a snow squall, and the snow on the ground wasn't diminishing nearly quickly enough as I approached my riding destination. But all turned out well. I hit the Trail of Tears again, same as the previous weekend with Dave. Conditions were prefect.

In addition to getting my fix, my Titus Racer-X also needed a good shakedown ride. I put much new stuff on it, and it needed to get boxed up for Arizona in two more days. This was my only chance. The Kenda Small Block 8 tires worked quite well as long as I didn't hit any roots. On the loamy surface it was hard to tell if they rolled faster than the Racing Ralph's. My shock rebuild held air.

I thoroughly pummelled myself on the moto loop. Cleaned all the hills too, except for one. Somehow I got off my GPS track on a section of trail I've not been on. It went up. Straight, almost. I wanted so badly to clean it, but a tree branch snag a helmet vent and refused to let go or break off. I about ripped my own head off pedalling against the stubborn branch going uphill.

Many large specimens of American Holly grow on the Cape.
This is about as far north as you will find it.

There were a few greasy spots, mainly on the ToT itself in the flat sections. Kept a lid on speed, lest you get intimate with a tree. I finished with 30.8mi, ~5000ft of climbing, in 3.9hrs moving time. A killer workout. The moto section is like doing 90 minutes of Tabata intervals.  I needed it, as I've yet to ride more than three times a week since the holidays, and one of those rides is usually a recovery spin.

Saturday was 35F pouring rain all day, useless for anything. I did run late in the day after the rain stopped. I figured I'd save it for a final ski outing at Waterville. Dave and I had high hopes of sugar granular, effortless speed, and hitting the full perimeter. None of this happened.

The temp never dropped below freezing overnight at Waterville. The snow was still saturated with moisture. Viscus friction is the worst, worst than sandpaper snow even. At least with sandpaper snow (the cold, abrasive kind), friction force is constant. With viscus friction, force is proportional to speed, so the faster you go, the harder the water in the snow tries to stop you. That really takes the fun out of downhills.

Waterville also hadn't groomed the south end trails when we got there. A random set of dead ends were groomed, which was very frustrating. Slow snow, poor grooming, and legs still tired from Friday's ride made for a short ski day. I pulled the plug after two hours. Dave skied for another hour. It was a rather sour note to end the ski season on. With temps into the 60's expected this week, it is unlikely skiing will be worth while next weekend. Besides, Dave and I need to get some miles in our legs, as we have 5-6hr ride days planned in Arizona next week.

1 comment:

the bully said...

Been real fortunate this year in Southern NH. Last Sunday was the first weekend we had to head south to ride. We hit Massasoit and hooked up with a bike barn guy. Place was fast and built for a SS. Been interested for some time now in that Chelmsford ride you do where you connect many areas to get 40 or 50 miles. Let me know the next time you plan on doing that one. Take some good pics out west and have fun.