Riding in the snow.

Since my last ride we’ve had a couple of days with some snow. Temperatures since Saturday have hovered around freezing but by this afternoon could have climbed to 12 celcius, though this may be a brief respite from the cold. I walked the dog this morning and found that further into Duxbury Woods the ground was hard frozen so thought that if I went up our local hill, Healey Nab, by mountain bike I could have a ride on snow and frozen ground.

I rode a short distance to Hogg’s Lane so that I could get on the canal bank and stay off road for almost the entire ride. Not every road gets salted and the prospect of sliding on ice is far less worrying if you’re on dirt rather than on tarmac. I chose to ride up an open field to the wooded area which tops the hill and I managed to keep going the whole way, even if I did have to avoid a mini glacier caused by water running down a slope. Even though the ground was frozen it was really hard going with the crunchy surface impeding my movement. I was never going to set any records on the trails and didn’t want to risk an icy crash so I just rode around the network of trails, some purpose built and some natural. I was getting some grip on the thin coverings of snow but imagine that a big slide could easily happen very suddenly so kept the pace sensible. I was still working hard so from an exercise or training point of view snow riding is still worthwhile and it’s nice to get out in the fresh air.

Snow in November is early for a winter in our area but it was never any thicker than in the picture and will be gone by tomorrow.
Winter Hill at 1,498 feet is almost invisible with it’s snow cover. It may hang on to some snow for a few more days.

I think that a trail ride is the best option in these conditions. There’s no point in risking injury trying to do fast laps or fast downhilling. It might be nice to ride to the top of some of the bigger hills because it’s safe enough. The weather is never likely to close in quickly enough to cause a difficulties and even if I had a problem I could get back to civilisation. I saw a few mountain bike tyre tracks but aside from that I was completely alone on my short 7.21 mile ride with 697 feet of ascent.

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