13 March 2012 - 8:26Winterbike 2012
On Saturday, Mandy and I loaded up the Pugsleys, boy and dog to attend the first annual Winterbike. It is a winter fun bike festival held by our friends at MTBVT.com. Actually, it was a veritable who’s who of cycling aficionados from all over VT and beyond.
There was a large fat bike contingent, more than I’d ever seen in one place, but conditions were so good, you could have ridden your regular skinny wheels, and many did. All in all about 80 folks showed up to partake of this stellar event. The weather was perfect too, a big high pressure mass had settled over the area the day before, and with no cloud cover, radiational cooling brought the temps well below freezing overnight. Blue skies made the colder temps easy to bear. It’s been so warm lately I was half expecting it to be a total slush fest, but this little injection of cold air helped keep the trails in primo shape.
Mandy went out with the main group of riders, while I hung out with K and Seamus. Before too long, another dog showed up to the party, and Seamus was otherwise preoccupied updating his facebite status. It was really just a nice day to be outside, and I realized my biggest fail was not bringing a bike for the boy. Oh well, next year.
After a while, riders started trickling back in, and before I knew it, I was handing the kid baton off to Mandy, and I headed out solo on the trails. I ran into Ryan, one of our illustrious hosts, who decided to pedal back out with me. We shot the shit, caught up on our nefarious plot to make this year’s Gravel Grinder the best possible event ever (next to SSUSA) and proceeded to climb the most ridiculous hill I have ever ridden up on a Pugs. It was UP. In fact, I remember Mandy telling me at hand off about this really amazing downhill, and I was riding up it.
The good news is that it would wind us up at the comfort station, which Ryan had arranged to be as comfortabl as possible. He said he was inspired by our aid station from GG2011. Well played sir.
The fire was nice, as was the keg, cheddar and hooch. Ryan made me a cocktail of VT vodka and Waterbury’s own Cold Hollow Cider. It was amazing. I forgot to mention, that I was a bad dog owner while hanging out at the registration area. Seamus had taken off with the folks that owned the other dog. He was having a good time, and was thankfully hanging out at the comfort station. He likes to hang out where the fun is. He also left the aid station before I did, bad dog…
Eventually, I rode back to the base area, where I caught up with everyone else, and Seamus. The circus was about to start. There was a 6x snow DH Chinese Downhill race for all the spectators, run by Knight Ide. Knight is an icon in the VT mountain bike world, responsible for much of the gravity fed trails on the Mountain side of KT, and he had spent quite a bit of time prepping a course for this very spectator friendly event.
Brooke Scatchard eventually ended up with the W on his Lefty equipped Pugsley. Brooke is a trail builder, and responsible for many of the trails in Chittenden county. He is also an amazingly skilled rider. He is probably one of the few people that can outgeek me in bikes, and what makes things even worse, is that he is a tinkerer. He comes up with weird stuff.
But anyway, I got a chance to ride his Pugs (wheels on both ends), and I have to say that I am sold. I took his bike out for a while at the end of the day and was amazed at how having suspension changed the capabilities of the big tire when grip is questionable. Actually, I wanted to keep riding, but it was getting late and the sun was dipping lower in the sky. Sadly you’ll have to wait until next winter to find out what I find out about squishy fat bikes. I’m hanging the ‘Raptor up for the summer, except for one maybe last ride …
St Paddy’s Day Pugs Crawl! You probably wont need a fat bike, but you will need a bike. We’re going to be meeting up at the town end of the Stowe Rec path at 3pm on March 17th. If this is the sort of nonsense you can truck with, then meet behind the white church in the Village. Or, meet us along the way!