Saturday, January 06, 2007

Chose your route wisely

First ride of 2007 took place at....The Woodlot 8:00am, snow ride. Rob, Dave and I decided that we would get out in the cool weather and head to the top of The Woodlot in a bit of snow for an early morning ride. We were easily the first ones up the hill and once again we made fresh tracks in the snow that had fallen the night before. Last night there had been another large wind and rain/snow storm and we were expecting to be met with allot of fallen trees on the trail. As a precaution I brought my small axe and folding saw to remove any trees that we would encounter on the ride.

The route that was chosen by Rob was Cabin Trail, Snakes and Ladders and finally Shotgun. To get to the top we decided that it would be much easier to hike up Cabin Trail rather than access it from the top. So up past the entrance to Snakes and Ladders we went. We stopped on Snakes to clear one fallen tree near the top of the trail and then continued on up the hill. The nice thing about hiking up a trail is that you can clear all the fallen trees on the way up and ride down in relative comfort.

Once we reached the power lines it was soon apparent that we had likely picked the wrong riding route today. At the power lines there was at least 14" of snow with a hard crust on the top that couldn't quite hold your weight while walking on it. However the view was spectacular with the sun shining and a clear blue sky. So we crossed the power line section and made our way back into the snow covered forest and proceeded up the hill. The push was anything but easy and we stopped multiple times to cut out fallen trees and remove debris from the trail.

Cabin Trail also known as Goldmine was given these names because there really are Cabins on the trail and there is a real goldmine with a shaft that you could descend into if you are daring enough. As we pushed up the hill Dave looked up and low and behold.....a Cabin. His were to the effect of," there really are cabins on this trail!". I had passed these so many times that I thought everyone knew that there are real abandoned gold miner cabins off the trail. So for Dave's sake we stopped to have a look at the cabin.

It wasn't too long after the stop at the Cabin that we decided that we had all had enough of this brutal climb in the snow and that we would turn around and start our ride down. Rob guessed that it was around 10:30am and I guessed it was 9:30am so we bet a 6 pack of beer........Rob won. I was shocked that we had been going for close to 2 ½ hours. So once we were geared up we started our descent, our slow, get off your bike and push unless it is steep descent. This was the first time that a snow ride actually sucked. The snow was not very conducive to riding on anything but a steep downward slope. I was shocked at how hard it was to ride down the hill and lets just say I will never get used to pushing my bike down hill.

Once we were out of the forest and back under the power lines the ride changed for the better. There was noticeably less snow on the other side and the trails have a steeper slope to them so gravity and momentum were now starting to work on our side.

The 3 of us rode to the entrance to Snakes and Ladders and proceeded down the snow laden trail to the rock drop section. Neither Rob or Dave thought I was actually going to do it in the snow but it was actually easier than in the dry. The snow actually helped to slow down the descent on the wood ladder. Further down the trail there were a few fallen trees but everything was able to be cleared by hand.

At the long log ride there was very little snow and the actual log planked section was free and clear of snow so it was a smooth blast down the ramp along the trail. Down the rock faces we went and a short stop at the new ladder section to discuss what exactly we have planned for this part of the trail. We all then made our way down and over to Shotgun.

As always almost nothing bad can be said about Shotgun. Such a great trail that holds fun little hits everywhere and sections to pump and pop off of everywhere. At the cars we discussed the dismal ride on Cabin Trail but grinned about the ride on Snakes and Ladders and Shotgun.

Next time we will pick a better route.

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