Fat Tire Weather
Last winter we were buried under a few feet of snow by this point. The last few winters have been pretty standard New England style winters–harsh, cold, and plenty of snow and ice. I finally broken down and bought a new pair of skis to re-enter the sport of skiing during the off-season.
But this year? We’re all scratching our heads. We started with a ridiculous snowstorm on October 29 with major tree damage, downed limbs, split trees in two, dropped live power line and rendered most of my valley without power for 4 days (some went as long as 9). Since then we’ve had one cold day–otherwise we’re hanging out in the 40’s, which is really no big deal. I should be riding my bike more–really, there is no excuse.
The best winter riding when there is an absence of snow is mountain biking, in my opinion. The ground is hard and fast and the trails are relatively free of foot traffic. But here in New England, we are still–yes, still–cleaning up after the freak Halloween snowstorm.
Fortunately, the cycling community here is active and went to work quickly on one of the best network of mountain biking trails in the area. Bachelor Street is well-known by the MTBers in the area as *the* place to ride. A few weekends after the storm, I was out for a road ride with my friend Gail and we met up at Bachelor’s dirt parking lot as a central location. We were both surprised to see a small group of mountain bikers chatting post ride by their cars. We asked how the trails were out there–expecting everything to be a hot mess, when we learned they were out clearing the trails for rides, and reported a long list of clear trails. We thanked them for their dedication–it’s folks like them who give freely of their own time all for the love of the trail. Most of us hadn’t even finished picking up our yards and this group had already cleared miles of trails on one end of the Holyoke Range.
Although I haven’t been out to Bachelor this winter–I know it’s in good shape, and will think of that little group of men and women, happily chatting by their cars on a cold November day after one of the most talked about New England storms of my lifetime.