TR: A remarkably wintry bike ride in the Hinterlands
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Despite the fact that this is a bike TR, it definitely does not belong belong in Summer Sports. My buddy Glenn and I went for an epic bike ride today. Since it is deer season and we did not want to get shot, we did a 24 km (15 miles) loop in hunting-free Algonquin Park, on trails that are promoted by the park as being moderate recreational MTB trails. They are not for the casual rider, I can assure you. They are old school cross-country style trails, in a very remote area (especially at this time of year) and they don't get much maintenance. Here's the description on the park's website: Difficulty Rating & Rationale: Moderate. Numerous steep grades and descents, rocks, roots, obstacles and muddy sections. Expect extensive muddy sections until the drier weather of August and September.
Despite the pastoral woodland surroundings, this song was on constant repeat on the playlist in my head. Had to Stompa my feet a few times just to warm them up:
We experienced below freezing temps, snow on the ground (not much), and lots of wet, muddy and rocky sections. It was classic mountain biking at its finest. I had to use a stout stick to whack ice off the pedals several times and only got mildly hypothermic. I'd do it again, next year. Fat bikes rule in these conditions.
We arrived just before noon and were not surprised that the parking lot was empty.
Our park service just had some massive budget cuts. No money for firewood, apparently.
Here's the map. Of course we did the big loop. Silly us.
It was warmer outside than inside the cabin, so even though we were dressing as if we were going cross-country skiing, we changed outside. Glenn was riding his brand new Salsa El Mariachi on its maiden voyage. Poor bike, it had no idea. I brought the company Mukluk, because we all know, there is nothing tougher than a rented bike.
I think Glenn likes his new bike.
We did have a few stretches of pleasant, easy riding.
Bridge out! No problem on a bike, not so sure about the x-c skiers in the wintertime.
Did I mention we have got a lot of rain recently?
A couple of portages cross the trail. Glenn wanted to follow this one for some reason but I convinced him to check the map.
We were happy to be at the half-way point. The temperature was dropping.
Despite the fact that the trail gets pretty close to four lakes, this was the only good lake view. Linda Lake looks inviting, maybe we should have gone canoeing!
It is really hard to pedal effectively when your pedal looks like this. Despite the spikes, I just about lost it on a fast downhill when both feet slipped off at the same time. Glenn was riding clipless and did not have these issues. Hmmmmm.
After lunch we switched bikes (Glenn the bike shop manager brought his pedal wrench). I liked the 29er hardtail but really would have rather stayed on the Mukluk. The icy pedal issue really became a drag and we had some long hills, up and down. Finally, I staggered into the parking lot and we loaded dirty, frozen bikes into the truck (can you stagger on a bike? I think so.).
I felt a bit goofy wearing XC ski gaiters on a bike ride but in this case, it was a really good idea.
When I got home, in the dark, I rewarded myself with this:
Re: TR: A remarkably wintry bike ride in the Hinterlands
You and Bucky are definitely core... I'm chilled just lookin at your pics!
The iced up pedal shot tells all...
I've ridden with both platform and clipless in the middle of winter... Pretty much a crapshoot as to which is the better choice..always seems to be the one you didn't choose to use..
Thanks for the vicarious ride.... Glad you guys threw yourselves on the grenade for the team...
"there is great chaos under heaven, and the situation is excellent"
Disclaimer: Telemark Dave is a Hinterlandian.
He is not from New York State, and in fact, doesn't even ski there very often. He is also obsessive-compulsive about Voile Charger BC's.
I keep trying to get up the energy to go on rides and stay in shape for ski season, but I really like warm blankets and TV . . . definitely have to get out this weekend.
I've been lovin' the mtn bike this fall. Getting out once or twice a week, mostly at night, at SMBA, Luther Forest or "my" trails. The cold and the leaves lately add to the fun. Here's a couple pics from SMBA this past Friday night. The first pic is somewhere out on Canyon. KMan is the rider in green/blue right in front of me in the second pic. You should definitely come along for a ride Matt.