It was a snowy Sunday afternoon on February 1st, and the snow that we accumulated since Saturday had started to come to a close. We had probably over 5 inches of snow on the ground, and my friend Kristin and I had hopes of going out to play when my workday was done. Well, plans changed as several people had walked into the bike shop and mentioned that the trails were not great to ride. A large problem was due to the drifting snow, but also the amount we had to ride in is difficult on its own.
Two local mtb riders went out to start the "Fatbike Community Service" of snowshoeing the mountain bike trails. Which prompted Travis to suggest that Kristen, himself, and I should go out and pack trails too. So our bike ride was negated for a better option that would still give us some outdoor time along with a workout. Thus I experienced my first time, ever, snowshoeing.
We decided to drive up to the Van Peenen area as those are the trails we most frequently explore. We saw a friend of ours finishing up the IPT trail. Travis took over North 40 while Kristin and I went to walk up Gunnar, Julia, and most of Little Big Horn.
When we have larger amounts of snow, for those of us who love fatbiking, it's the work of those who snowshoe that actually help us ride the trails. The snow that had fallen wasn't easy to pack, either; lack of moisture made it a more dry snow that wasn't sticky. This kind of snow takes time to pack down, eventually working the air out and thus providing a trail for the tires to ride over.
Which brings up: Fatbikes are not snowmobiles. Humans power the bicycle- so with unpacked snow that's more than a few inches deep can really provide a challenge.
Overall, I have to say I really enjoyed my time snowshoeing. It provided a challenge and I was also surprised with how well I could get around outside! There were times that I almost tripped over myself or caught a root, but I didn't actually fall. (Hooray!)
I will admit, tho, my hip flexors were not happy with me towards the end of the hike. I appreciated the downhills a lot more. Snowshoeing also brings a different view of the trails. Being on bike makes the journey though the trail system so much quicker. On foot it was amazing to see how long it took to accomplish a trail that I've ridden. Also the challenge of walking in so much snow was an eye-opener too.
Thank you to those who snowshoe! We fatbikers really do appreciate the work that you do, and if you fatbike and are bummed about not being able to ride, snowshoeing really is a great community service to fellow riders and yourself!
*Image courtesy Flickr creative commons.