Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Mid February Grinder



 The photo to the left should give you an indication as to how sticky the snow was today. That is my pedal wrapped in a ball of wet white snow. Twelve or more centimetres (that's 4.5" to my Americans who follow this) fell on our trails two nights before  and today the weather changed back to it's warm, don't want to be like Edmonton self as of late. I was out for a ride yesterday and didn't even make it 1 kilometre. That is how bad the conditions were for where I was in Terwillegar.

Today's meet up with Jason and Gord in mid Mill Creek happened with concern on my behalf. I said at the trailhead a few time "the trails are probably going to suck bad today" where I was met with a quick retort from Gord "You mean, it's going to be epic!"

Ahh, I see what you did there..

Today the fat bikes proved their worth again on a long and somewhat painful almost 39 km ride to the Fort Edmonton Bridge and back in at times quite challenging trail conditions. Other times they were surprisingly undeniably incredible!

The start was a tad melancholy as we entered Mill Creek in rough snowy wet conditions. We hit the singletrack in the hills and were quite disheartened thinking this was sure to be a paved and multi use ride. We exited out of Mill Creek and rode paved and multi use trails all the way to Hawerlak. Entering Hawerlak our speed was diminished severely as pockets of snow would swallow our wheels sucking every once of energy out of the legs with each feeble but determined pedal stroke. I'm sure old people with walkers would have kept up to us through that area. The highlight or lowlight for myself was the steep climb. The video speaks for itself as I nearly created a catastrophe right in the middle of the Silver Skate Festival's stomping grounds.

Given the stubborn snow and my foot not being clipped into my left pedal my attempt is validated right guys? .... Guys??


Awkward Kennifer. Hawerlak, warm fresh snow climb out attempt from sherijumper on Vimeo.

We crossed into Laurier after that and it seems like things just took a turn for the incredibly awesome,  all the trails ridden were in fair to great condition.

No dogs chases were had.

A pit stop at Alfred H Savage Center was accomplished. Quickly on the list of best Winter stops in the river valley.

Fire trucks honked cause I told them to on the mighty Quesnell.

We shared responsibility of leading and making a track on the rough warm snow so others can follow. Just like well behaved boyscouts.

Damn it! This ride was too awesome!

In the end, Gord was done. I was done. Jason was... Well it's Jason, I'm sure he would have kept going to the Science Park if I said "let's go."

The highlight was the lower trails from Whitemud to Hawerlak as they were all in pristine shape given the conditions. We were all in awe of the way the trails held us down there. There is a group who is settling that trail. I don't know who you are but I love you. We came across that on an earlier ride where everything was hit with foot traffic but today the fatbikes were there and it was obvious.

A post ride brew was had and I couldn't agree more with Gord's pre ride prediction. "It's going to be epic." And it was.

jason narrowly missing my wide ass handlebar 
oh shiny confrontational balls, we salute you!
midway point, terwillegar was shot down rightfully so, if attempted i'm sure i would still be rolled up in a ball
shaking vigorously whilst sucking my thumb with my "enough is enough" attitude glowing loudly each second