While much of the north-east is digging out from winter storm Scunthorpe or whatever this one’s called, we here in central Michiganderburgh have been snowless for roughly a week. It’s been cold, there’s no doubt about that, but it’s not been horrible and the sun has been out and that almost always makes moods better. While that makes for tolerable living, it also makes for a daily freeze thaw cycle that leaves the less traveled dirt roads glistening with ice, rutted snow and a few hoof prints.
As I slothfully made my way on dry pavement towards the dirt roads I wondered what was in store for me… last Saturday’s ride had its share of ice but its severity was softened by stretches of lingering snow, so I was bit hesitant after a few days of the aforementioned freeze/thaw cycle. It turns out, aside from two-miles of dry pavement, today’s ride featured pretty much two road surfaces: solid ice and bone dry dirt.
While the occasional long stretch of dry, gravely dirt was welcomed by me, my studded tires were less than thrilled and did their best to mitigate my joy with power sucking sluggishness and a clattering whirl which served to underline their redundancy (point noted).
Luckily (I guess) those stretches of bare dirt were few and the bulk of the time I rolled along semi-happy in knowing that the girthly tires beneath me were hooking up and doing well to keep my hulking bodice from being confronted with the hard, collarbone shattering reality of solid ice.
I have ridden on icy roads quite a bit over the last four years (with brief hiatus’ here and there due to pre-studded tire injury induced bitterness and hatred) and this is the most confident I’ve felt in those four years. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not exactly jumping or joy to ride on icy roads and still pucker up a bit, but I am way more confident with 4 inches of studded rubber beneath me than without.
Studs or no studs, fat bike or no fat bike I’m never one to be jumping for joy to ride in sub-freezing temperatures, snow and ice. I’m sorry I just don’t like it. Thankfully my love of riding my bike outweighs my hatred of the cold, snow and ice. I enjoy getting out to soak up the vitamin D spewing sunshine (through three layers of clothing) and get some miles in outside, so I do my best to put on a smile on (usually because my face has froze that way). Like the saying goes: “a day freezing on the bike is better than a day sweating on the trainer.” OK, no one ever really said that, but it seems like a lot of people think it.
I’m scheduled to head up to Hanson to ride the groomed trail tomorrow with a friend of mine, hope the trails are firm and the forecasted snow holds off until we get back.
A LENGTHY SIDE NOTE:
It came to my attention as I glanced over the past few months of Soiled Chamois blog posts that as much as I said back at the start of The Soiled Chamois v.3 (not to be confused with v.1 or v.2), that I would be “attempting to make The Soiled Chamois v.3 less about me personally and more about cycling in general,” I have failed. While I delve less into my thoughts, family life, personal issues, continued unemployability, etc., it’s still about me and that is VERY uninteresting and more than a tad stupid. I apologize.
The thing is, there are plenty of other folks out there talking about the world of pro cycling and racing, you don’t really need me. Additionally, the unfortunate demise of XXC Magazine in 2013 combined with my move away from competing (for various reasons) has resulted in a low tolerance for that part of the sport. I very rarely read cycling sites or magazines, I try to stay clear of forums and their blow hard opinions, I don’t listen to cycling podcasts (even though I back those who produce them with both my support and some freelance work), and I avoid more and more racers and cycling companies on Twitter and Facebook. I just feel numb to some parts of the cycling world right now. That is not to say I don’t respect the hell out of and admire those who race mountain bikes, the folks who promote the sport, etc., It’s just a phase I’m in right now… I hope. To me the important thing right now is that I’m still stoked to ride my bike and am looking forward to this coming spring and summer and many more ice-free miles on them.
With that lengthy side note out-of-the-way, I will just apologized for talking about my crap rides and the even less interesting (non) topic of me. The blog posts are more just an excuse to take some photos and get some creative juices flowing.
While I don’t read many cycling news and industry puppet sites, there are still a quite a few cycling sites that I read. Most are more focused on riding bikes just ’cause riding bikes rules, adventure, video and photography, not taking the cycling scene to seriously and having fun goofing off outdoors. They are also some of the blogs that keep me wanting to ride, wanting to create and wanting to keep blogging (even though my cycling adventures pale in comparison to what you’ll see on their blogs). I’m sure I forgot a few, but here’s a hunk of ’em. Check e’m out: