Sunday, February 6, 2011

Get Me Out Of This House!

After a full week off of the bike, it was just about imperative that I get in a ride Saturday. As I planned my ride, it made sense to head out to Camp on the mountain bike rather than risk an icy encounter with the tiny contact patch of a road tire.The riding at Camp Robinson in the snow can take on any of several personalities, ranging from just plain fun all the way to what-the-hell-was-I-thinking!? The conditions Saturday started out as just plain fun and deteriorated to perhaps a "what the heck" level.

I got to the winter parking area shortly after noon and rolled out Airport Loop to Yucca/Bridges. Trail conditions were good, with the trail mostly clear where the sun had warmed the hardpack and the snow in good shape in the shade.
Up on the flats, even the fresh trails were very ridable.

I should have known that trouble was bound to start when I followed E and Kashari down to Ball of Nails.

I knew that there were a few riders around, but I had been riding for awhile before I caught up with Eric Grimmet and Kashari. I had ridden Airport and the Yucca/Bridges loop and we hooked up on Outer Loop, then made the decision to head downhill to Ball of Nails and over to Love Trail. And I struggled. Between my rear tire spinning out at every uphill and slushy ice caking to my cleats with every step, the ride back up to Buddha was frustrating for me; however, it probably did take my mind off of the fact that I was mud caked and soaked.
It was bad enough that I kept having to put a foot down, but when I did put a foot down, it came up like this, making clipping in difficult. It was less of a problem earlier in the day when it was colder.
My rig and kit got a little muddy. I had to shed my outer layer before I got in the truck. When I got home, I hosed the whole mess down in the driveway and carried the slimy clothes to the washer in a bucket.

In spite of the wet conditions, the trail surface was in good shape with only a few soft spots. That said, the continuing rain, snow and freeze-thaw cycles will make for sloppy riding in the weeks to come and I'm considering a knobbier rear tire! The winter parking area is still a good option. If you park at the old lot, you have to ride Pipeline/Shipwreck or Dogwood to reach the other open trails.


Anonymous said...

I'm glad I went early in the morning when it was frozen!

Arkansas Mountain Biker said...

Can O' Corn and Dead Elvis are probably going to be getting soft except for the days when they are frozen. Porta Potty, Outer Loop, and Airport had improved since yesterday evening. As long as things stay wet, the rocky trails and the upper trails are your best bet. Can't wait to see 5Mile open back up.