Tag Archives | Winter Riding

Beard of Zeus Faves

The act of actually racing my bike gets further and further away from my mind, as the act of photographing races gets further and further a part of reality. With that in mind I drove up to Traverse City this past Saturday to shoot some photos at the 2017 Beard of Zeus race. The race was the Short’s Brewing Fat Bike Series finale, and the 90 minute cyclocross-like format really lends itself to moving around the course and catching the action in various locations.

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Finally

As I mentioned in the previous post, the Michigan weather has been anything but kind this winter. Freezing rain, slush, ice and the dreaded “wintry mix” seem to be the rule rather than the exception. Quality snow for fat bike fun or snow shoe romps in the woods elude me, and more often than not I’ve found myself indoors staring at my camera gear instead of outside logging miles and megapixels. Thankfully that streak ended recently and I finally got out for a short, damp road ride. Despite the road surface’s handicap, I was happy to be outside on my bike sweating off some calories with my camera.

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Ice Road Photography

So far the winter has not been kind. Snow has been scarce, freezing rain, ice, and sleet have been plentiful, and my riding has been limited to just two rides in 2017 thus far. My first ride on New Year’s Day on wonderfully groomed fat bike trails, and my second was a twenty-two mile loop on dirt roads near my home that were slick, frozen sheets of solid ice. The ride was dare not attempted with regular tires, and even after swapping over to the expensive, but worth every penny, 45NRTH Dillinger 4 studded tires I still often found myself with a kung-fu death grip on the bars; rolling along muttering prayers to the Ride Gods in hopes of keeping my collarbone–and my camera–intact.

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The New Year

I recently got out for the bike shop’s annual New Year’s Day group ride. This year we hit the new groomed fat bike trails at Snow Snake Ski & Golf in Harrison, Michigan to celebrate the new year. Had a great day rolling fatties on the Snake’s trails and I took the Fuji X-T1 along with me to snap a few photos here and there. Nothing spectacular, but some shots nonetheless.

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Few & Far Between

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The weather here in Michigan has been sort of psycho the past couple of weeks, and rides outside have been few and far between. Despite heavy snow and wind last week I was able to sneak out for a couple of snow covered dirt road rides.

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Lack of Miles

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Farm irrigator waiting for summer. [Fuji X-T10]

Two or three rides a week on the fatty, hiking and some snowshoeing was getting me through the winter just fine. Then we here in central Michigan went into a freeze/thaw/freeze cycle that has us with little snow but lots of slick, rock hard ice just lying in wait to break a coccyx. It’s basically the worst that winter can offer. Because of that–even with studded tires– I’ve been lucky to get one ride a week in lately. Hell, even my last attempt at a hike in the woods of the local county park was thwarted by the heavily used trails being stomped down into a solid sheet of foot print marked ice. [insert drunken sigh here]

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Winter’s Ugliness

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As lovers of the outdoors, we like to think that all of our winter activities are done in pristine white snow. Rolling fat bike trails packed tight, or skiing on trails groomed to perfection. Sadly, that is not always the case in winter. Temperatures rise and fall, snow melts in the day, freezes overnight, and then sleet and rain falls to compound the mess. Trails become useless, snow becomes slush, and mud becomes deep–it’s quite unattractive, but still worth documenting in my opinion.

This past weekend I did a quick two-hour ride that had me rolling over a little bit of everything that winter in mid-Michigan could throw at me: ice, snow, mud, slush, water, gritty sand, and more mud.

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