Not So Fat On Ice

The week that was, er, wasn’t. There was very little riding over the last six days. There were a few trips down to the Not-So-Stankment to climb on the treadmill (including one five-mile walk, run, lumber-fest) and one trainer ride that lasted roughly 5 minutes before I said “fuck it” and quit.

There were various reasons for the time off the bike: two days of 40 MPH winds, a web project I’m working on for the shop, and B-Man getting five wisdom teeth (yes, five) and a baby eyetooth pulled as he prepares to get braces on in the coming months. So there was a lot of ducking flying garbage can lids, time in front of the computer, and time spent in pharmacies and doctor’s offices.

The weekend finally came and brought snow with it, that’s was good and bad. Bad because it was coming down on Saturday morning and I didn’t want to be out on the roads DURING the snow. Also bad because the Fatterson is in absolute disarray since last winter and is in need of a new chain, cassette and possibly a bottom bracket. It also needs its pedals swapped out (if I can get the old ones off), new cables and brake pads. Hell, right now it doesn’t even have a saddle on it. In other words, the Fatterson is about one part away from it just being cheaper for me to buy a new fat bike!

It had been so long since I rode (OK, just a week), that come Sunday I was damn close to being content to sit around in my fart smelling PJs watching footy until it was a reasonable time to crack open a beer. Thankfully I did not.

I thought about throwing a saddle on the Fatterson and heading out—creaks and all—to ride the now packed down snow-covered dirt roads. Instead, I went with the PrOcal. I mean that’s what I used to do in the pre-fat bike times, so I might as well do it now. I mean we didn’t get that much snow, I could still see blades of grass poking through in spots. So, the PrOcal it was!

I opted to head to the Dirt Road Launching Pad south of town to start the ride, thus ensuring that all my time was spent on the snirt roads, avoiding the wet slush and ice on the sides of the paved roads leading from the Cul-De-Sac-Shack.

As I made my way south it started to lightly snow, nothing too hard, but I was glad I had my blinky for added visibility. I love my blinky, and it makes me feel much safer out on the roads. I know it’s probably just a placebo, but it helps. Somedays I think it’s just the last thing the driver will see before they kill me, but most of the time I live in the world where it helps.

The first few miles were straight into a nice breeze and the wet snow and it wasn’t long before I had to shed my eyewear so as to actually see.

I told myself that I could get twenty miles in and make it a Better Than The Trainer Ride™ the ride would be totally worth it. However when the light snow turned to freezing rain I needed to reevaluate that plan and need to be content with fifteen miles and a Better Than The Trainer Ride?™ 1.

I soon found that my shoes, jacket, and helmet were covered with a layer of ice. Stopping to take photos would have layers of ice popping off me like shards of broken glass.

Thankfully there was enough snow on the roads to prevent it from getting too icy, but towards the end of the ride, there were a couple of times that I found my wheels sliding a bit. This made the descent back to the Launching Pad—where speeds can often get over MPH—a tad ass puckerish and a LOT slower than usual.

It was all good though, and it felt great to be outside doing stuff instead of running or pedaling to nowhere but hell on the treadmill or trainer. It was also great to get out with my camera. I hadn’t clicked a shutter button all week and was getting an itchy shutter finger. I was also glad to have the weather-resistant Fuji X-T1 and 18-135 lens in my bag, that made for less worrying for sure.

Lastly, I would just like to say, it’s obvious I’m no scientist—although I do have a fantasy or two that involves me, a buxom redhead and bunsen burner and a lab jacket—so I would love for someone to explain to me how it can be 27˚ outside but it’s pissing down freezing rain instead of snow? Ohhh, this is how, I gotcha.

Hoping to use the studded Fatterson for future ventures onto the wintry dirt, that makes for a way easier ride with a lot less ass puckering. Until then, I’ll probably be lumbering on the treadmill or making due with the mountain bike.


  1. You see that the question mark makes it different, right?

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