oh, what a month it has been!

A friend’s grandmother says she doesn’t remember a winter starting like this – ever – in her 80+ years.

Before the snow fell, it got cold.  Really cold.  The puddles froze, the ground got hard and even the bogs turned so solid you could scoot across them on your bike.  Then the snow fell.  And fell.  And fell.  And the most pecular thing – it stayed cold. Real cold.  None of these freeze/thaw cycles we’re so used to.  None of the snow storms that turn to rain storms.  We’ve been having a real winter.  And we’ve been taking advantage of it.

Having lots of layers has been a must:

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Clear blue skies and looooong shadows confirm that it is winter.

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The conditions have been generating a lot of smiles…

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…and other faces I can’t quite describe.

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We’ve encountered all sorts of beasts, mostly domesticated…

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…and the odd wild one as well.

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Lots of proud owners of new fatbikes:

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A new Beargrease.

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A blingy new Muk 2.

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A bright red Muk 3.

We’ve been riding over frozen puddles…

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…across streams…

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…through the woods…

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…and up snowmobile trails.

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Now that I’ve bragged about all the great conditions we have had and all the great riding we have done, let me introduce you to the cast of characters I get to ride with:

Dean

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Chris

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Marc

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Amy

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Ray

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Keith

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Ryan

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Tim

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I hope the riding has been good where you are, as well.  It has been a great year and my wish for 2014 is more of the same.

pump house loop

Pump House Loop

If you are looking for a good off-road loop to ride consider this one.  It begins at the pumping station at the junction of Ruby Line and Heavy Tree Road.  There is lots of parking there;  you’ll typically see trucks there as people use this as a place to begin an ATV ride in the summer or a snowmobile ride in the winter.

The loop is 30 km long and parallels the Goulds Bypass Road for about 8 km; a turn to the west then takes you past Bay Bulls Big Pond dam before you head further west into mixed forest and farm land. It takes you past Northern Pond and then Cochran Pond where there is an abandoned building should you need to take shelter.

The loop consists of gravel roads for the most part.  You have to cross a field of grass just before the 15 km mark and please remember to be respectful that these fields are being worked – stay to the perimeter as you make your way around.  After getting off this field the road is rocky for the next 3 km before it turns right back onto gravel road.  There is some change in elevation as you can see from the image below but there are no steep sections.

PHL Elevation

This can be a great loop to ride in the winter as it sees moderate snowmobile use and therefore gets well packed down.

If you would like the .kmz file of this route to open in Google Earth just drop me a line at theslowbiker@gmail.com.

 

it’s the most wonderful ride of the year

Let me begin by saying that coming up on a pair of moose in the middle of the trail sure does get your heart rate up!

I just got back from my first night ride of the winter. God, I love riding in the snow! We’ve had about 15 cm of the white stuff and the temperatures are low and forecasted to get lower for the next few days (down to -14C) – an ideal way to start the winter riding season. I began by putting my fatbike outside for an hour or so before the ride. This allows the bike to come down to the ambient temperature and prevents the snow that might hit a warm frame from melting and then freezing, which can play havoc with shifting, for instance. Once the bike was cooled down and I was dressed I headed out to the top of our street and planned to ride a 6 km loop and then head back. Well, it felt so good I decided to ride a second loop. It was around this time the snow squalls started so I had my head down when suddenly an adult moose and a yearling crashed out of the brush in front of me. Cripes! They quickly darted back into the woods and I had myself a good chuckle.

I’m going to send out an email now to the other fatbikers around here and see if we can all get together for ride after work tomorrow. I’m thinking Pippy Park…

report: global fatbike day ride

Our Global Fatbike Day ride was a rip-roaring success!  Participation was up 1000 per cent from last year when one very lonely yet dashingly handsome fatbiker braved the elements at Cape Spear. This year there were ten cyclists at the start of the ride and lots of different fatbikes were represented: Surly, 9:zero:7, Salsa and Norco.

Conditions were damp yet spirits were high as we rode the trails of Shoal Bay Road for some 18 km.

 

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A group picture before we got dirty.

 

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Ross sporting a brand new Mukluk 3.

 

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Tim (L) with his new carbon fiber Beargrease and Chris (R) with a borrowed 9:zero:7.

 

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Catching our breath at the top of the first climb.

 

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Marc (R) with his new Mukluk 2. Bling bling – love the colour!

 

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Dwayne (front) and Loyal (rear) playing in the mud.

 

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Carbon fiber goodness.

 

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This was our group picture submitted for the Global Fatbike Day thread on MTBR.COM.
L-R: Loyal, Ross, Malcolm, Darren, Ray, Marc, Tim, Dave and Chris. Missing from the picture was Dwayne who cut the ride short to go moose hunting.

 

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Break time at the ocean.