The Original Snow (Patapsco) Valley Ride

An encore December 2008 post >>

Greetings all, the MTB team banded together once more and made a terrible, windy, cold and brutal day into a very very solid ride opportunity.

After arriving on my cross bike, the Raleigh RX1.0, I tried hard to tell myself the pain was just weakness leaving the body. After standing in the cold, we rolled and thankfully, gracious Mike did not take us on the technical loop right off. The technical stuff isn’t a problem for me on my normal bike, but on a road bike, a little much.

After a few hard, hard diggers, I finally got into a rhythm. This is basically how the ride would go:

First the fat tire boys would fly down the hills like they were supposed to. The snow that was on the ground didn’t seem to slow Kidd or anyone else down. I would find myself off the back, yes off the back of a mountain bike group.

Typically I made great time on the climbs, even the technical ones and was actually clearing stuff on the 700×32’s (in the snow) that I have trouble occasionally with on a nice day with my 29×2.2’s. At one point on the ridge trail I was just tearing it up the side of the hill till my admittedly worn-out rear tire finally just refused to grab the earth any longer. I’m almost certin that I climbed better because this bike weighs 21 lbs, and my monocog flight 29er (SS I might add) weighs 27 on a good day.

Logs were of little problem for the RX1, the reasons I hate this bike on the road, were the very reasons it took so well to the dirt. Namely its very high bottom bracket gave mondo clearence over stupid stuff and the forward position made bunny hopping easy.

Biggest tip for riding a cyclocross bike at Patapsco-Avalon, THORN RESISTANT TUBES. Yes my cross bike has clinchers, cause I tend to break nice stuff. These tubes are 10x the thickness of what most recognize as a road tube, making it **Impossible** to pinchflat. I was actually bottoming out on my rims a few times (at 45psi) and still no problems. The one drawback is weight, they are very heavy but I noticed this less in the woods then I did in a cross race or on road.

Last point, cross bikes are slow as a turtle going down. Its their nature unless you’re Jeremiah Bishop. Because of the carbon fork, high pressure tires and narrow contact with the ground (on a muddy snowy day) you have to just deal with it. The benefit, center pull brakes were the original anti-lock devices and I never skidded out, at all.

My wrists, forearms and neck all hurt from going over the bars about twice, crashing into a tree once. However I would certainly try riding out in the woods on my X bike again, let me just true my wheels up again first.

The bike choices:

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