Thursday, December 13, 2012

December (nearly winter) S24O

There was a lot of anticipation leading up to this trip. It wasn't terribly certain that it was going to happen until a couple days before and then the day of seemed to have some events that compromised the departure. In the end my friend Joe and I left his house at about 3pm for the ~30 mile trip to Little River State Park for an overnight at a leanto.

out for another bout

Joe had recently purchased and put together a Taut Terrain Amber Road. It is one fine rig I might add. Dyno light, Alfine IGH, belt drive, integrated rear rack, kickstand! That's right, I am finally old enough that a kickstand is cool again.

the rigs
We rode into the evening on some really nice dirt that I have never been on. That helped make the trip more mystic. The route was off the beaten path but for some reason, the night we were out there, the traffic was pretty dense. We ended up riding out into a valley with some nice expansive views. It was actually bouncing around between cold/windy to warm/breezy. It was on Nashville Rd. in Jericho/Bolton that I was thinking how nice it would be to be on a fatbike. Later on the ride I thought the same thing again when we got to the park. After an incredible and sometimes sketchy downhill on Stage Rd. we ended up at Route 2 in Jonesville, a community of Richmond. We proceeded to follow Duxbury Rd. along the river into Waterbury. Blustery gusts of wind and long stretches of road bring you to realize that you are out there because you love it. Why else would you leave the comfort of your warm home and Netflix to spend a potentially dreadful night in the woods.

After a quick stop at the store for a warm up and a few supplies, including a flask of Captain Morgan's Spiced Rum and apple cider, we continued on to Little River Rd. It eventually kicks up and takes you around the edge of the dam and into the park. We embarked on some unplowed roads, snagged a couple chunks of firewood and rode on to our camp. We setup before too long, changed out of our riding clothes and worked on warming up. I was pretty determined to have a fire this time after missing out on one last trip. With a bit of luck and help from Joe, we got something going and it was, if nothing else, spirit lifting to prepare for the cold night's sleep. Oh, and let's not forget the enjoyment of some spiked cider.

I wasn't properly prepared for what was to come so I had a rough night. I ended up leaving the interior of my tent and jumping up in the leanto with one last attempt to get some solid rest. I have learned quite a bit on this trip and will know better next time I attempt a winter S24O. And yes, there will be more! I still had a blast.

We finally saw morning light, got up and prepared some breakfast. Sitting there enjoying our meal, we got some morning sun coming up and life, at least for me, sprung back. We packed up camp and hit the road. It was decided that we would just hit Route 2 back into Richmond and then Cochran Rd. for a bit. The temps creeped up enough to stop and strip off some layers. We continued to ride in towards home and we split off from each other on River Rd. where Joe turned up to his house and I continue on to mine.

Very nice trip, all things considered. I look forward to doing more of these winter trips in the future and definitely a ton of them next Spring.

my body imprint - not all that insulated

packing up for the ride home

Joe's Taut Terrain

top of the Waterbury Dam


bmike said...


that klymit pad isn't insulated, so you were leaching heat out to the ground is my guess.

my pad, which is heavier (need something different for summer) is insulated, so i can probably go colder than you.

looks like a fun trip. glad you made a fire!

Pondero said...

Well done. This experience will make the next one even sweeter. Just because we need to head to the woods to beat on our chests occasionally, doesn't mean we don't want to be reasonably comfortable.

sminch said...

Mike, the Klymit pad is insulated but it has all those cut outs. It is also only about 1 1/2" thick. I should've put a layer of pine needles to help. Actually I should had slept in the leanto. I'm getting a bag/bivy setup going for next time.

Chris, good to hear from you. You are always so insightful to me and I love your way of thinking. FYI, I have been following your blog but I just haven't put much time into communicating very well. I got fired up about you credit card tour.

greg said...

Nice Wil!

Looks like a great adventure. I would have ended up mildly hypothermic in your situation! Maybe the rum saved you...anyway nice to see a post from you. Hope to see that actual you sometime before spring. XC or backcountry ski daytrip that ends at Prohibition Pig?

sminch said...

That sounds like a good time. I wish we all had fatbikes like Mike. Fun times would incur!

bmike said...

wil, i don't think they add any insulation fibers to the inside of the air channels, at least i can't tell from their specs. that would make a huge difference (in shoulder season comfort, but also in weight and pack size).

air isn't a great insulator in that application, where you are directly on the ground, which is the ultimate heat sink. in the lean to you were probably warmer if it wasn't windy because the ground wasn't sucking heat out of you and your pad.

fwiw, the thicker, winter pads (which pack larger and are heavier) usually use primaloft or something inside the air channels. it helps slow down the heat transfer to the ground or snow.

anyway, its a sweet setup for 3 season use. you were certainly pushing it with the gear you have!