Friday night after B-Man’s soccer practice and after I enjoyed a Hopslam while playing FIFA ’15, I started looking ahead to a possible fat
gravel snirt road ramble on Saturday. I presumed that the packed snow that I rode in on Thursday morning, followed by warmer temperatures later in the day and into Friday, combined with well below freezing nighttime temperatures would be now be ice, so I made the not-so executive decision to stud up the Farley for the morning’s ride. It ended up being the right decision. At least I told myself it WOULD be the right decision as I rolled the 1.5 miles of wet pavement towards the snow and ice packed dirt roads sounding ever so much like a giant metal box full of silverware being dragged down the road by a Sherman tank.
Once on the snirt (snow + dirt) roads I was not only finally able to hear myself think, I was also happier with my decision to stud up. The roads threw a bit of everything at me during the ride: wet pavement, slush, mud, packed snow, frozen bare dirt and long stretches of ice that had the studded Dillingers hooking up like meat hooks into cow #1692 (seen above).
Of course during the ride I also had the debate with myself about whether the extra weight of the tires and the mind fornication I was experiencing from slower than normal speeds was worth it. Yes, they hooked up like crazy when things were icy, but on those stretches of snow and bare dirt I was putting out a LOT of energy to go roughly 9 miles per hour. Would I have gone down when I was on those stretches of ice or without studs? Possibly not, but maybe I would have, and then I would have said “Why the hell didn’t I put the studs on?” So yeah, in the end it was worth it. I’ve hit the deck from ice more than a few times over the years both here in Michiganderburgh and back in western Pennsylvania. I would rather question if I would have or wouldn’t have crashed without studs rather question my ability to ride home with a broken collar-bone.
With a five-day forecast calling for daytime highs between 23˚ and 31˚ and lows between 10˚ and 25˚the conditions of the dirt roads will probably get worse long before they get better. So until there is fresh snow on them or I head off to ride groomed trails again, I plan on leaving the studs on and use those stretches of bare dirt and ice-free snow as mental training and the extra efforts used to burn more calories so I can enjoy more of those Hopslams that I have left (for now) and more Saturday breakfasts like yesterday’s fat fest below that included some delicious peppered bacon from Meijer.
I only got outside for rides twice this week, and those rides combined amounted to just under four hours of ride time which is pretty fucking crap, but I DID get outside and two outside rides per week has been my average so far this January, which I am pretty happy with, because we all know January is the bitchest of bitch winter months and it’s almost over (die January, DIE!!!!). I’m hoping for at least two more rides this week to help me continue my winter survival. Why couldn’t Wifey have been transferred to Virginia, New Mexico or Arizona???