Monday, December 28, 2009

Operation Jackpine Loop a HUGE success

JayP and I had two goals for Big Ride Sunday this weekend: A) Ride our snow bikes for a long time, and B) Ride all the way around Jackpine Loop. Accomplishing “B” would guarantee “A”. Just to make sure that we got our money’s worth; we started our ride on the Rail Trail in Tetonia, ID and headed north.

Ride Stats:
Temp at start: -3F
Total Distance: 38 miles
Total Time: 6:38:00
Elevation Gain: 2,200’

Jackpine Loop is within the Targhee National Forest

Jackpine Loop has been in the back of my mind as a snow bike route for a couple of years and after hearing a rumor last year that Freemont County actually groomed it a couple of times for snowmobile trail riders I really wanted to see it firsthand. Although it hasn’t been groomed yet this year, heavy snow machine use left us a defined track around the entire loop and it was 99.5% rideable. Jackpine Loop itself is 25 miles and the approach from Tetonia adds 6.5 miles each way. With good conditions, I think the 25-mile loop could be done in about four hours.

A big snow bike ride in cold temps forces you to nail your clothing choices or you will suffer. After sweating non-stop on the 2.5 hour climb, my core got cold on the descent which caused my hands to go numb and I never got them back for the rest of the ride. Once my hands go numb, I neglect eating as often and/or adjusting tire pressure because those simple tasks are no longer easy. I felt great for the first 5 hours of the ride but my speed faded at the end because I wasn’t eating as often as I should have been late in the ride. Does anyone else have a hard time chewing when your face is cold?

Old farm buildings are common north of Tetonia along the Rail Trail

A short section of trail north of Felt is groomed by horse-drawn sleigh

Jackpine Loop climbs and then descends in a corridor of evergreens

Slow but rideable trail

The backside of the loop provides a unique view of the west side of the Tetons

7 comments:

brandon said...

Wow! That is very impressive. Job well done and great photos. Sounds like you need to work on a liquid diet that doesn't freeze. How do shot bloks do in the super cold?

Dave Byers said...

Brandon - Cliff Shot Bloks are tough to eat when they freeze. I think a concentrated mix of the mocha Perpetuem might taste pretty good when cold though. It is hard to beat a giant Reece's PB Cup though...the ultimate snow bike emergency calories.

Paul Shirkey said...

Yes I suffer from "numb face" and can't eat in the cold wet winter rides in oregon. Face masks help...

Nice pics! Amazing ride.

JayP said...

Hey Shizz, nice ride the other day.

All thigs are tough to eat when frozen, let alone when your body is too. I learned the hard way in AK when I broke a tooth and pulled a cap off. What was learned, in certain weather/situations I load up my vapor barrier pockets with my food and rotate accordingly. Another discpline...

brandon said...

Dave - I'm wondering if you have a theory to go along with your black ninja suit and accessories while riding the phat bike? It appears that you wear all black clothing, hat, boots, and pogies. Does all the black conduct more solar heat and keep you warmer?

I'm just trying to strategize not poke fun.

Dave Byers said...

Brandon - I wear all black in an effort to intimidate JayP with my ninja-like appearance...so far it is not working. Ha!
Seriously, almost all nordic pants are black and when I bought the jacket on sale all they had was black. My new Montbell down jacket is the opposite though: Bright Yellow!

Hamilton said...

What your readers REALLY want to know is whether Santa Byers came through with a single speed!?!