Frozen Trails

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So on Friday, it was 15 degrees here in Cincinnati and I was on my way to the suburbs to pick up some new dog coats when Caveman texted me:

I just had a hamburger for breakfast and soon to be some trail time.

I texted him back:

It is 15 degrees here and my crotch will be on the trainer.

Caveman texted me back:

It’s 19 here. Perfect trail tackiness.

I thought about my Voodoo all the while sweating out intervals on the stupid trainer later that afternoon.

Then that night, Charlie C. texted me to wish me a happy Friday the 13th. I texted him back a Happy 666 and told him I needed to grow a pair to get my ass out on the trails. His response:

Better get on that shit! Frozen trails rule!

HUGE THANKS to Caveman and Charlie for that little push. Apparently it was all I needed.

So, yesterday, I bribed Dominic with a Red Eye (two shots of espresso in a large cup of coffee) to get my Voodoo ready for a trail ride. It’s like pulling teeth trying to get him to work on my bikes these days. The caffeine worked and he had my bike ready in a half hour.

Temps would be in the low teens this morning and I knew the trails would be frozen until noon, at least. I decided to go to Devou since I hadn’t ridden those trails on my Voodoo yet, and it’s close by. I got there at 10:30am, just as a couple of guys were leaving. Both of them confirmed the trails were rock solid.

I haven’t ridden frozen trails ever. There was that time last winter we rode 3 miles in 8 inches of snow. And it was awful. Frozen trails are different. Scary. Devou is not all that technical. A few switchbacks, some rocks, but for the most part, easy. I rode there on my Raleigh CX bike last fall with no problems. Frozen, well, that’s a little different than hard packed mud. The first mile or so is uphill, and I did not get rad. I was on and off my bike until I got to the top where it levels out and then I got some flow going.

It took me one full loop to get used to being back on my Voodoo – oh man, I fucking love that bike so much. I forgot how much until today.

My 2nd loop was much faster and my flow was way better. The trail was starting to thaw in a few spots and the mud was flinging up in my face. I was loving it. It felt so fucking good to be on the trails, just me and my bike and the naked woods all around. I think I’ll be looking forward to freezing temps a lot more – as long as the snow stays away.

The only thing that really sucks about cold weather riding is when you have to pee. Getting all those damn clothes off. Today I wore a DC jersey over a baselayer, my Raleigh thermal jacket, bibs and thermal tights, wool socks and hat under my helmet. No shoe covers or balaclava needed. And as much as I love my DC jersey, I really wish it was a full zip.

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About Judi

Bicycles are my salvation. They are my way of life. If you don't like it, then you can go straight to hell. Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

35 Replies to “Frozen Trails”

  1. You went out riding in these temps ??

    Sister you got bigger balls than me.

    I rode the trainer today.

    PS: I likey the 3rd pic.

  2. wow, nice woods. reminds me of the hinterlands of new jersey! so what’s up with the derelict industrial structure? is that a smoke stack next to it? kind of looks like an abandoned firehouse though.

  3. Ha! Glad that mess froze up for riding!

    I still have remnants of our adventure stuck to my Salsa.

    Thanks for the anti-wuss motivation!

  4. Frozen trails are the best. Jesus enjoys the fast grippy bits the best. In Korea the temps are -6 C and clear skies. The trails, with Jesus’s love, enjoy being rolled upon by the 29″ wheels. Jesus’s three Rs, roots, rocks and ruts!

  5. Cold today. Even colder later in the week, if the weather guessers are to be believed.

    The only thing keeping me off my bike is this strained hamstring. My doctor warns of dire consequences if I ride. The moment that he declares me fit, my ass is going on a bike, weather be damned.

  6. yo R2D2… how’s your chapped and slapped taint doing? the boys and da rocket-faced gnome sure had their way with you last night. damn good thing you had your new giro lid on, but sorry about the chin strap and your ankles…

    put some windex on it, you’ll be ok for next time around. cheers, buddy! ummm… did you lose a band-aide from your throat? fyi – I found it on my boots.

  7. The idiocy of Rabid Locals post is so great that I am stunned in to silence except to say that I am stunned in to silence.

  8. It was 22 degrees with 6 fresh inches of snow when I went out on Friday. The snow was deep enough that I had to pedal downhill on slight grades, many uphills required hoofing it, and the bike actually stood up on its own when I went to take a pic. Breaking fresh trail on a fatbike has got to be one of the best feelings EVER. It’s a lot of work, though…a route that I do in the summer that takes about 40 minutes took me 2 hours and change.

    The sudden proliferation of fatbikes in my hood has certainly benefited the trails…after a day or so of meaty tires hitting it up, there’s a perfect, compacted 2 foot wide track that the skinny tires were eating up on Sunday.

  9. “I bribed Dominic with a Red Eye (two shots of espresso in a large cup of coffee) to get my Voodoo ready for a trail ride. It’s like pulling teeth trying to get him to work on my bikes these days.”

    Sounds like my house. Only about half the time, she’s wailing that her skis need waxing. :)

  10. …whilst the temperature has plunged to terrifyingly low 50*F, i’m gonna bundle up & put in a few hours of saddle time w/ a buddy in the sunshine & blue skies…

    …la da dee da da dee da da dom…

    …oh, sorry…decisions, decisions…long fingered gloves or not ???…knickers or full tights ???…

    …it’s so tough riding in winter…

  11. @Wade…Smokestack? Yes. It’s the defunct municipal refuse incinerator for the city of Ludlow, from the early 1900’s. And it’s kinda creepy.

  12. ringer, i swear i saw a smokestack there, but i guess it’s just a slice of brick wall. on first viewing the whole scene evoked the smokestack from hooper.

  13. Judi — word: You have officially grown a pair.
    I *whined* about riding in a 34-degree snowy-rainy mix yesterday, and you went out in stupid-cold weather and killed it.

    (And back in my Barista days, we called espresso tossed into coffee a Shot In The Dark. Two shots turned it into a “911”, and three shots turned it into a “Straitjacket”.)

  14. I generally find the beauty of riding in those temps is that I never have to say “on your left”, love the lonesome rides

  15. After a foot of fresh last week…sunny and -10 yesterday, sunny/foggy and -7 today in LasAnchorage. Trails here are perfect and besides rolling the fatty muk past a few pissy (probably jealous) nordic types, hardly anyone else on the trails. Seeing way more fatbikes around here this winter. Is good, yes? Can’t wait to ride frozen mudflats tomorrow! Great post Judi…as always.

  16. Hey, that brings up a good question. What sort of speed does a fat bike make over snow? I can skate ~9 MPH, would a fatty even catch me?

  17. Bwhahahahahaha

    I am so with “get rad brad”.

    The only thing the 3rd pic needs is Police tape.

  18. @ Wade…I guess I was unclear. Yes there is a smokestack attached to the structure. You were correct.

  19. today i rode a wheelie all the way to you moms house for some coco and some snuggle time…

  20. you gotta understand, these trails are in devou park. where trolls come to suck young boys cocks. it is a city park, so you always have some graffiti and weird shit around. this park is also a venue for one of the uci3 CX races – we had a crit there a couple years ago – and we also have a CX practice course, along with running trails all around. i took gnome there as well as russell from PA. it’s a rad place to ride. just stay away from the old dudes in trucks.

  21. @sswannab

    In my younger days that vid would have given a boner the size of Texas.

    Today it just wants me to turn the heat up.

    Growing old sucks.

  22. So the wrenching honeymoon is over; us boys are pathetic creatures huh? You didn’t really think it would last did you? I pulled the same shit on my lady too.

    Have you got anything like this around your neck of the woods – free 100+ mile gravel road races? I did one last fall – Heck of the North – good time and good vibe. This one has got my crotch on the trainer. Maybe these are the future for us middle agers that still want some wild action, for free of course too.

  23. Up here in Alberta, Canada, we rode 140k on gravel roads and singletrack on Sunday. It was -10c (10 to 15 F) and slushy from the sun. We were squirrelly to get out because it was -30 (-32 F) all week so even with it below zero it felt like spring.

    My toes are still a little numb, weirdly, but we’re going again this weekend. Hopefully its a bit warmer.