January 23, 2012

Full-On Winter Training Rides Continued

This past weekend I headed back to the Frederick watershed to ride with Mike and Dylan on a cold and snowy Sunday morning.  We got to the trailhead and it was 25 degrees -- it didn't get any warmer during the 4.5 hours on the trail and snowed off and on throughout the day.  The trails were covered with 1-2 inches of snow, plus a hard ice crust.  The conditions made for interesting steering; the crust could take your front wheel in an unintended direction and before you'd know it you were headed straight for a rock or a tree.

Mike brought his awesome motorcycle overboots plus a custom helmet cover to keep his head warmer.  My two pairs of wool socks worked OK for the first 2 hours, then got quite cold.  I did try my new Patagonia R1 gloves. They're polypro and neoprene and made for cold weather fly fishing and kept my hands warm, but they weren't breathable so my fingers got somewhat pruned from the sauna-effect in the gloves.  My hands were definitely happy with the new ESI grips on my bike.  So much better than the stock grips!

Dylan invited a bunch of other riders from the area and we started out with 7 people, Tony, Darius, Ian and (sorry, missed your name). 

Darius, of the Frederick Bicycle Coalition and a key trailbuilder at the 'Shed, almost immediately broke his chain.  He was pretty fast at fixing it with a quicklink (it looked like a gold missinglink from KMC), though the stop was cold!

We rode, or tried to ride, a good mix of trails including the rock strewn Iceberg.  I think Dylan and Mike cleared most all of it.

We had a few more stops for more chain issues, one slow leaking tire and a chain keeper that wasn't keeping the chain on the rings (it's amazing how many mechanical issues crop up in large group rides), some attempts to ride tricky rock sections and rode for about 3.5 hours over about 4.5 hours. 

It was a good day to get outside despite the cold and snowy weather and everyone had a good time.  The post-ride meal at the Mountain View Diner was the perfect end to the ride.  Next Sunday, hopefully it will be drier and we can ride the MoCo Epic loop from Schaeffer Farms.

- Jeff

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