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

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Gettin' the holiday spirit

Decorating the Christmas is usually the festive catalyst for me each year. Michelle's brother and his family are visiting from Cali so we waited until today to get the tree this year so that the nieces could play in the snow and join us on our tree hunting adventure. They got a little tired hiking through the snow but had a blast.

We bagged a most excellent tree this year

Once the tree hunting was done, it was time to play

And the big kids got into the act

Monday, December 21, 2009

The year of the snow bike?

Being a snow bike nut, I have been riding throughout the past two winters even when the storms were frequent and the skiing was excellent. Some days I chose to ride the snow bike while my friends skied knee-deep powder on Teton Pass and I admit that I questioned my own sanity at times. Last year, in addition to the snow biking, I mixed in a healthy dose of backcountry skiing to satiate my lust for fresh powder and I enjoyed the variety.

Horseshoe Canyon is riding well

But this year is shaping up differently. With below average snowfall and thin coverage in the valleys, riding the snow bike is a “no brainer” right now. We have been enjoying some great riding on a combination of FS roads and even a little singletrack when conditions are right. One good storm should kick off the snowmobile trail grooming program in our area and that will open up even more riding opportunities.

For now, the skate skis are in the garage waiting for a fresh coat of wax, the backcountry gear is still in the basement, and the snow bike is freshly lubed and ready to rock.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

2010 Togwotee Winter Classic Announcement

I am psyched to announce the 2010 Togwotee Winter Classic Two-Race Series.

Race #1 - Saturday, January 9th 2010 - 9:00am Start
Race #2 - Saturday, March 6th 2010 - 9:00am Start

Is your snow bike ready? Do you have a snow bike? What are you waiting for?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Building a Pueblo

The 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo is two months away...holy crap! I think my foundation is solid but I definitely have a lot of work to do in order to pull off a solid solo effort.

My Pueblo will be open all night

Feb 13th is the move-in date and I am ready to put in some overtime.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Fat Bikes emerge from hibernation

After a summer spent sleeping in the barn, the Fat Bikes came out of hibernation at the end of last week in time for a quick tune and were ready to go this weekend. The first snow bike ride of the year usually involves more stop-and-go than usual as you fiddle with your layers, thaw out your Camelbak hose because you forgot to blow back, and re-learn all your little tricks to stay comfortable on the bike in the cold.

Saturday's ride in the Big Holes was a great shakedown as the temps were cold enough to keep us honest. Even though the snowmobile trail grooming hasn't started yet, the riding was great on packed snow covered roads.

Somebody has a new Ti toy this year, and it is badass

Our friend Dave Saurman is the latest Fat Bike convert and joined us for Saturday's ride

We headed north on Sunday to scout the Mesa Falls area. JayP, riding his new Ti 9 Zero 7 (907 is the area code in Anchorage) was game for a longer ride so we left the group at Mesa Falls and continued north on 47 towards Harriman State Park for an out-and-back. JayP and I plan to explore this area a lot more this year.

Once you get past the two-hour point of a ride the chinks in your armor really show themselves. Temps were in the single digits and a stiff wind meant the windchill was well below zero. Neither of us wore our warmest shoe systems and suffered cold feet as a result. It was a great ride with a dash of discomfort thrown in to remind us to be better prepared.

Sorry for the crappy pic...notice the verbiage on the sign

My lack of photo skillz don't do Upper Mesa Falls justice

The potential for big snow bike rides up here is endless