Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Boise Fat Biking: Awesome to Treacherous to Awesome

Thursday, January 24th was supposed to be a drive day for me as I traveled to St George, UT for Camp Lynda 6.0 but Mother Nature had other ideas.  Freezing rain fell in the early morning hours and left most of Boise covered in a layer of ice which prompted me to pour myself another cup of coffee and check the Idaho road reports…I am glad I checked.  My route, I-84 Eastbound, was closed at 7:00am and would remain closed for most of the day due to ice and crashes.  The Facebook chatter on the Camp Lynda 6.0 page indicated that many of the Salt Lake City roads were in similar shape so I pulled the plug on my trip. 

My change of weekend plans would have been a little easier to swallow if the fat biking conditions had remained good.  As a result of the freezing rain storm, the Boise Foothills trails went from “snow-covered ribbons of fat biking greatness” to “treacherous” in one night. Fuck!

Kenai and I shuffled down to Camel’s Back Park Saturday morning to see if there was any chance of riding.  Let’s just say that walking to and from the park was an adventure so riding outside was not an option on Saturday.
Ice! We had to walk on the soft edge of the trail to take this pic. 
By Sunday I was REALLY ready to ride outside again.  Warmer temps Saturday afternoon softened the icy trails and we got a little dusting of snow and colder temps overnight.  This left the trails in a chunky, re-frozen state with just enough traction to try and ride.  Yeah for no trainer on Sunday!

And then it snowed Monday night.  I didn’t wake up Tuesday thinking about "powder" skiing the sick-gnar 3.5" of snow that Bogus Basin received.  I woke up thinking about how sweet the trails would be with a layer of fresh snow on top of a frozen base and that I better “git sum” before it warmed up.  So I did.  And it was awesome.

Winter made a comeback Monday night
The trails were quiet and the snow was fluffy early Tuesday morning
Hulls Gulch
Fresh tracks on Red Cliffs. Greatness.

Friday, January 11, 2013

I am getting Fat in Boise

Fat Biking in Boise?  Yes, really.  

Heading into this winter, I really didn't know what to expect in terms of Fat Biking opportunities here in Boise.  I expected to spend most of my outside-riding time on the road bike with occasional trips to higher elevations in search of snow-packed roads to ride the Fat Bike for some variety.  Things changed right after Christmas when it snowed in town and got cold.

This just in…riding snow-covered singletrack on the Fat Bike is FUN!

The conditions for the Fat Bike have gotten better and better over the last two weeks as our temps dropped and we received a little snow.  Monday’s 3-4” of heavy snow transformed the lower Foothill Trails from “Fat Bike Optional” to “Fat Bike Required”…at least for the short term.  Even before Monday’s snow, the upper trails like 5-Mile, Watchman’s, and upper 3 Bears were definitely better on the Fat Bike.  It has been fun to start some rides on frozen dirt and then transition to 100% snow once I gained elevation.

Here is what the Fat Bike transition in Boise has looked like this year:

Dec 25, 2012: I rode the Scott Scale29 hardtail on the lower Foothills Trails with a dusting of snow.  Chilly temps but great trail conditions and plenty of traction.

Dec 28, 2012: A couple inches of fresh snow had us riding Corrals on the Fat Bikes in low 20F temps.

Michelle & Kenai heading up Corrals
Fat Bike Stoke!
Dec 30, 2012: The lower trails were a mix of frozen dirt, sand, and snow and were perfectly rideable on a regular mountain bike.  However, once I climbed up to Watchman’s, I was greeted by 4-8” of untracked snow.  I was able to ride about 60% of Watchman’s on the Fat Bike and pushed the rest to complete the loop. Once I got to Three Bears, it was pure greatness! 

Summer or Winter, Fat Tire Traverse is a great trail!
Jan 6, 2013:  A week of cold temps due to an inversion kept the lower trails frozen and the upper trails improved with hiker traffic.  I was able to ride 90% of Watchman’s and 100% of Three Bears on the Fat Bike…and it rocked!

Rocky Canyon Road, the gateway to great trails
Jan 8, 2013:  3-4” of heavy snow fell on top of frozen, packed trails.  Jeremy and I climbed Hulls to Crestline, and then climbed Sidewinder, bombed back down Sidewinder, and descended Red Cliffs and Chickadee Ridge back to Camelsback Park.  Low pressure and a Surly Nate tire in the rear helped with traction today. Super fun ride!

The Fat Bike stoke was high Tuesday morning!  I think Jeremy is hooked.
Jan 10, 2013:  We received another 3-5” of snow in town!

The forecast looks good for more Fat Bike adventure this weekend!

Single-Digit low temps mean firm trails!