Saturday, December 6, 2008

Winterbike Training Camp

We just got back from 5 days out on the trail. We had 4 students for our early winter training course. I had the pleasure of working with Aidan Harding from the UK and George Azarias from Australia living in New York City about riding a bicycle in the snow and how to sleep out in just a sleeping bag and pad. Both of them were interested in learning all they could for the race in March of 2009 and advanced quickly with their winter camping skills and snow biking skills. Bill spent his time with the Whytes a couple from the UK on a tandem bike and guiding the New York Times reporters and photographers, that visited our camp.

Bill and I went out on the Little Su a day early to set up a heated wall tent and shuttle in all our supplies and food with a snow machine. The weather showed us a variety of faces. When we were setting up camp it actually rained on us and temperatures were near freezing. The next day we had several inches of fresh snow for the first day of the camp and the temperatures began falling. On day two we headed towards Flathorn Lake at -10 F with hard trails from all the weekend snow machine traffic .

Every day we went for a long ride with at least one bivi where the students had to pack down the snow out of the wind, lay out their sleeping bag and pad and melt snow for water.

We also practiced riding a bike on marginal trails ( soft trails after fresh snow or windblown trails) and narrow snow machine trails ( Alaskan Winter Singletrack Trails) working on how to adjust the tire pressure according to the snow conditions. Having the right tire pressure can make the difference between riding on a snowy trail or pushing.

All in all, we had fun and enjoyed riding in the snow with this great group.

Here are some pictures from the camp.