We hit the trails right around noon pedaling a mile or two over to the trailhead off Duhamel Road. The sound of a big pack of fat bike tires rolling down the pavement is pretty cool. The temperatures were a bit crisp to start with, but that ceased to be a problem once we started climbing. The weather was great – we actually saw the sun several times throughout the day. The cool temperatures had made for snow conditions that were close to perfect; the groomed surfaces were firm and very grippy.
Once out on the bike I learned that the trails we were riding had been manually groomed – by manual, I mean non-motorized grooming. These guys packed miles of trail on snowshoes, dragging around a small metal groomer through the woods. Yes, snowshoes. The end result was mighty impressive.
These trails were like the tight single-track you’d ride during the summer. There were switchbacks, jumps and just a generally great selection of lines over the natural contours of the land. The trails wound around through tight stands of trees. There were numerous small loops and intersections which caused our group to double back over on itself more than once. It didn’t take long for me to lose all sense of direction. I decided to just give up trying to keep track of where I was and ride like a tent caterpillar: follow the guy in front of me, wherever that takes me. I did recognize that we were occasionally repeating some sections, but I didn’t mind at all because it was all pretty good.
The turnout was pretty good for a somewhat informal fund raiser. We had at least 42 people show up to ride, most of whom donated either cash or a number of food items. There was a pretty good sized pile of groceries at Chuck’s Bikes before we started the ride. It was a great excuse to get out for a ride and a nice way to contribute something to help others.