Friday, February 15, 2013

Riding the Methow

Road trip!  This year Methow Valley is allowing fat bikes on the nordic trails.  Don't know about Methow?  It's only the largest groomed XC trail system in the states.  Here's a little article.

With bikes and gear packed, it's a short 4.5 hour drive...with a couple coffee stops.

Once there, we hit up Methow Cycle and Sport for the low down on where to ride.  Well, to be honest, the first thing we did was sample the Schoolhouse Brewery, but that's another story.  Anyhow, bike shop dudes were cool and told us we should ride Pearrygin Lake State Park as well as Methow System.  Thanks guys, it was an awesome rec!

The trails at the State Park are groomed with a snowmobile and trailer and are much like riding singletrack in the summer.  Trails are narrow and winding with much interest as they meander through the trees and over and around the rolling hills.  Sun was out and was an awesome afternoon of riding.  Snow conditions couldn't have been better.

Once done with the trails, we hit up the frozen lake for some sprints and wheelies.  Here are some pics from that day...

that's a sweet ride!

little hike-a-bike

always stay hydrated when riding friends...
 Next day we rode the Methow System and it was a different experience then the day before.  Trails were great, but much wider and linear.  I'm talking up to 12' wide in areas with a 8-9' groomed skate area in the middle and a classic track on both sides.  These trails get a lot of use by skiers and all (except the one skater whose tights were obviously cutting off the blood to the reasoning side of her brain) met us with ahh and excitement to see the bikes.  Another good ride.

Great weekend of riding.  Can't wait to go back and explore this vast area more!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Groundhog Day Mountain Bike Festival Recap

On location just South of Saint Maries at Christmas Park for fat bike races last weekend, part of the Groundhog Day Mountain Bike Festival.  Awesome weather and just a short 2.5 hour drive (with coffee stops).

I hear you asking, "Saint Maries?"  Yes, the town whose claim to fame is Paul Bunyon Days.  It's a sleeper town.  So much so that the local bike shop is located in the Ace True Value Hardware Store.  Yes, I judge towns based on their LBSs.

the MAN himself
Anyways, the a fore mentioned bike shop has an employee, Tom, that is super into fat bikes and wanted to do something fun.  Hence this idea of a bike festival on Groundhog Day.  Up to speed?

The fat bike course was well marked and included about 5 miles on trails and 5 miles on hard packed roads.  Tom did a great job setting the course with a tracked 4-wheeler.  I asked Tom if I could drive it by the way, but he politely declined.  One highlight was the 4 creek crossings that made for some fun mud and really showed off what the fat tires are capable of.  

Annie is not dead

smooth dismount

After riding we gathered by the warming hut and fire for a German style lunch.  Good ride, good people and good food.  Although turn out was not what Tom wished for, I hope he does this again next year...and not on the same day as Schweitzer's race.


ahh, someone is all tired

Friday, February 1, 2013

Fat Tire Imprint

I've been putting in several loops on the new Schweitzer Fat Bike Loop.  Of course there are always opportunities for great views and hence chances to snap pics of the awesome things you and your friends are doing.  It is easy to overlook the great job Schweitzer does grooming these trails and laying them out for multi-use.  Whether you are a fat biker, skate skier or classic slider, everyone likes a nicely groomed trail.

Speaking of groomed trails, people often ask "don't those fat bikes damage the trails?" or "doesn't the tire imprint effect the experience for other users?"...or some variation of these.  The answer is NO.  Of course, if conditions are soft or there is lots of new snow, there is a potential for anyone using the trails to leave an imprint.  But fat bikes have tire that are 4-5" wide and typical tire pressure is 5-7psi.  Hence, bikes and there riders are floating on top of snow because of the wide contact point and distribution of weight.
before a fat bike

...and after a fat bike.  Big difference?