As trail conditions go, a sprinkling of fresh white stuff covering a crunchy layer of corn snow atop a bed of mid winter mud doesn’t trigger an enthusiastic “Let’s Ride” response to a 7am Alarm call. Except today when two of your five tomorrows include 18 hour London Returns and a whole week of shitty looking weather.
We kept to the South side of the Malverns with the high ridges and peaks being properly deep in snow. This still didn’t make our passage easy as every climb had to be forced through the greasiness and energy sappin g slippiness of trail wide mud. Which you only found as tyres broke through a thin crust of snow on the fourth day of a freeze/unfreeze cycle.
I’m fairly bored of snow. Only our last descent was on the right side of conditions nirvana with hardpacked snow on firm trails. The rest of a rather weedy sounding 10k loop had to be hard earned with granny ring gurning, and significant pushing. Downhill was pretty exciting to be fair, with fantastic levels of grip being attained right up until the point when there wasn’t any. At all. I’ll be going straight on then regardless of the spiky vegetation blocking my way.
Momentum was truly your friend – my old mud riding memories surfaced from years of Chiltern Winter* allowing be to blaze a stinky trail over half frozen stutter bumps and endless draggy slush. It was more fun that is sounds, especially as we had the hills to ourselves and most of our tracks were the first ones.
A final climb up a quickly renamed “Mist-Summer” found us finally on harder tracks where pedalling brought a proper forwards, rather than sideways, reward. A brief stop at the top ratified our choice to stay away from the high places with wind driven snow making riding difficult and a bit dangerous. Off the top we went, carefully on the narrow, snowy tracks and then faster – sometimes unintentionally – through the steep, muddy tree section.
A comedically heroic snow spraying plunge back to Hollybush brought forth icy tears and big grins.
If I’m still loving riding so much in these conditions, what’s it going to be like when it’s dry, dusty, fast and warm? I’ll hardly be able to sleep 🙂
* And Spring. And Autumn. And Summer as well on too many occasions.