Im still trying to get caught up in my life. Between being gone last weekend, then coming home to snow that I have to both groom and shovel, and deal with my “project” that I need to announce soon its been a busy three days. Today I get to breathe a bit.
I got out on the groomer Tuesday morn. With over a foot of snow you would think it would be good to go. But it was not. The snow was so dry and light that it would not stick together. I was driving the snowmobile in a foot of snow but it was riding on the ground. There is just no way you can groom that snow.
I ended up just using the snowmobile to slowly roll the snow and I did manage to get some base. But it was so loose. Like mashed potatoes as they say. Im thinking of giving it another try tomorrow morn. Just to see if the snow set up a bit more. But alas we have Friday and Saturday to enjoy it if it does as its going to rain Sunday and Monday. Hopefully not too much. Time will tell.
Its been too long. I’ve really been working on this since Sept. I’ve been hinting about it here and have told many people already. The project Im working on is Im moving my store to a good sized Mall. That alone is a lot of work. But I’m also adding a coffee shop in the same space. I won’t go into detail just yet and still are working out a lot of details. DISCLAIMER: I have not yet signed the lease. The are working on drafting the final and have not gotten it to me yet but things like cost and such is set in stone. I have been working with a plumber to nail down the cost of the coffee bar of late.
Timeline in my head (which is never right) has me in the space to paint and such Feb 1st. The store moves on Sunday, Feb 18th. Once the bike store is up and running then the coffee shop get set up. The coffee aspect will have its own space. Tables, chairs and maybe a couch. Big screen on the wall. Should be nice. At least it is in my head.
Anyway, that and a ton of other things have been bouncing around in my head and its all just talk until I sign on the dotted line which I thought was this week but looks like the next.
More to come on that.
If I dont groom the park tomorrow morn I will ride my bike. So this is the last post this week. Have a good weekend. Get outside.
Headed out to groom the ski trails this morn and the groomer was not working properly. I did the best I could with what I had but could not finish the trail. Maybe tomorrow. That frees up some time to write about my Marquette weekend before I forget what I did (Im old).
We all knew the chances of a good trail based on snow and temp was a possibility. But nobody was ready to experience the best set up snow trail we have ever rode on. On Saturday we rode the north trails. These are the most used by hikers and snowshoes and historically have been the firmest. Today they do machine groom a lot too.
These trails are for the most part narrower than the south trails that get groomed by a snowmobile. These are either groomed by hand (yes, by hand) or a Rokon two wheel drive utility scooter thingy. The devices they pull are much smaller and can get in tighter in the woods as the pic shows. Its more singletracky on the north trails.
Extremely scenic too. Marquette’s north trails could be my favorite trail of all time anywhere. But it would be hard to decided that.
Back to the snow conditions. These trails last weekend were about the best I can ever remember. I overheard the term “white asphalt” used a lot. Both the north and south trails were so firm you could have ridden a cross bike on them with no problem. I had 12psi in my tires. Thats road pressure. Just amazing.
We rolled into Marquette around noon on Saturday and we were on the north trails by 1pm. We did pretty much an out and back with a pretty good size loop in the middle.
As I mentioned, the scenery on these north trails is amazing. Between that, all the snow and the crazy firm trails it was kinda a system overload for me. When we left home earlier in that day, we had bare ground and I could have cut my grass (if I wanted to). You drive 4 hours, hop on your bike and its all this? I was kinda freaking out. I must have posted 10 pics on Facebook. I just could not believe what I was riding on.
Time after time we would run into others and I think they thought I was nuts being so excited. I had to explain to them I’ve never rode on conditions this good and that we had bare frozen ground at home. I think they may be understood. We finished up our ride on the north end, tomorrow was going to be south end.
One of the reason the trails were in such good shape was the temp. It was below zero Friday nite with ride time temp about 10. Not too bad. Saturday nite it was again below zero and we had planned to ride around 9am on Sunday but it still was below zero so we waiting until 11am. It got up to 3 then. And that was fine to wait, I was not in a hurry to go back home.
The south trails are a bit different from the north. They are wider and faster. Again using snowmobiles with wider equipment. Stuff they built themselves. Custom stuff that works extremely well.
I don’t have a lot of pics on Saturday. It was pretty cold. Too cold to stop a bunch of times. But the trails were once again firm and fast. Quite a bit faster with the wider trail.
12psi didn’t even leave a print. In fact, the tires rumbled as if you were riding down a road. Again… white asphalt.
The south trails have kind of a “bike park” feel to them. Huge downhills with berms and jumps. All groomed up to ride in the winter. Its hard for me to explain how it feels to rip down these trails in the winter. Slamming berms and tabletops (disclaimer: I may or may not have slammed tabletops) as you whip down the hill. I recorded 31 mph on my Garmin at some point. All this on a 3 foot wide highway thru the woods.
This was the best winter riding I have ever done. Anywhere at anytime. And I have been coming up here with fatbikes for 6 years. It was cold but I was not at all. There never is bad weather to ride, just bad clothing. I was very comfortable all weekend.
I was thinking as I rode on Sunday… Ive been on fat bikes a long time, more than most, not as long as some. Its to the point now we ride fatties all year long now. Full suspension fatties all summer. But this riding we did this weekend is what these things were made to do. These trails are why the fat bikes exist. So many fat bikes I sell that never see this kind of thing. And I think that is sad.
And now the question is… can I do this again next month? I sure would like to. Going up Saturday morn and home Sunday nite is not that expensive and if the riding remains like this worth every penny. Ive already punched my ticket to the Fat Bike Birkie in March so another quickie to Marquette would be in order. That would then be two trips to Hayward and two trips to Marquette this winter. Perfect equilibrium.
I have never seen the ice formations out that far as long as I can remember. Not sure what prompted that condition. The beach is crap to ride on as you can see. The ice shoved all the way to the grass.
So much going on today I can’t keep up. I have a ton of pics about our Marquette trip but it gets tossed aside today for snow. We got our snowfall we have been looking for. 6 to 8 inches on the ground right now. Mostly along the lake. Snow starved people like me are calling for ski rentals. Its crazy. The snow first started falling about 9am today and I had rentals out the door by noon.
I should get to groom the park tomorrow morn. That might take 4 hours or so. As crazy as it sounds I might get to ski on Wednesday morn!
We had a great time in Marquette and I have a lot to say about it. The trails were the best I have ever been on. And I’ll explain why later. Right now I have to prep some ski’s and get that park groomed so no post tomorrow either. Maybe later in the day.
With the snow the bike trails should get in better shape too. We dont groom for bikes here but we just run them in. Im sure a few have been on the local trails already.
Again, I was ready for a huge post about the trip this weekend, and its coming, but this snow just threw me for a loop and Im just scrambling to accommodate.
We are on the cusp of leaving for Marquette. It now looks like only two of us are going. Over the past few years the excuses sounded like…
“its too much snow, the trails are going to suck’
“its too cold the trails are going to suck”
“its too warm the trails are going to suck”
“there’s not enough snow the trails are going to suck”
I’ll say this. If you always wait for the perfect conditions you will never go.
Our first trip to Marquette in winter with bikes was maybe 2013. We had maybe 12 people with us. Last year out Marquette trip was 3 bikes. This year it might be 2. What the hell is going on? If we had 12 bikes in 2013 we should have 20 in 2018.
Last year it was a warm winter. The winter riding up there was for sure hit and miss. But it just so happened we hit the best weekend up there in a few months. All I kept telling people is “you should have went”. Some just did not believe the conditions were that good last year when we came back home to green grass.
Now this year there’s too much snow? Maybe. But like I said yesterday, you need to take a leap of faith. Besides, the riding here at home is frozen ground and ice so what do you have to lose? Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Some guys are waiting for the last minute to make the call but I can’t do that. My window for this stuff is small and I have to take it when I can. Good or bad.
The temps will be cold. Single digits both days. Which I find totally doable. Especially if the sun is out. I’ve got one bike to tune up and a set of fat bike wheels to set up tubeless. Maybe a little bit of paperwork but thats about it all day. Get the bike on the car and odds & ends in the car. Ready to launch at 6am tomorrow. Im glad to get out of town even if its just a few days before a big project I have starting in two weeks.
I should be able to announce that project on January 19th. It’s been hard not to talk about it. Other than that get outside and have a good weekend. You know I will.