Fatbike freeride

Spring has come to the Flathead, even though for the third morning in a row there is a few inches of heavy snow in the backyard. Surely it will do what it has all week and turn through snain to rain within the hour. There’s got to be some great skiing up high, but in the midst of a full work week that doesn’t do me much good. The difficulty in transition times like these, the main valley snowpack is almost dead and the smaller valleys are hanging on by their teeth, is to embrace the current conditions rather than wasting time wishing the damn snow would just melt off and/or consolidate already. So absent the ability to drive an hour and skin 3 miles for turns after work, and in the time I’ve got apart from other projects, I’m trying to maximize my time on the fantastic flood plains of the Flathead before what still looks like an early melt off comes and temporarily erases them.

I find the current definition of freeride in mountain biking to be disappointing.  What’s meant to be freedom from the tyranny of trails has instead been enslaved by the shovel.  Of course, there aren’t too many places where a mountain bike is truly the best tool for absolutely open, off trail exploring.  Places where skill and vision play as much a role in making a route go as terrain.  Slickrock is one.  Beaches and floodplains, with a fatbike, are another.

The music doesn’t begin to evoke my enthusiasm for this riding.  I’ve never been one for sessioning, preferring to go places on my bike, but since the ~month since I discovered this particular area I’ve spent hours destroying myself while horsing around on what amounts to no more than 30 or so acres of sand, gravel, and debris.  Improving river braid crossing and finding out how steep a sideslope I can ride across have been particularly fun.

Sometimes things go awry.

Good practice for future endeavors, and a damn good way to spend the afternoon. This is a time of year when the more PNWetish weather has us thinking that perhaps sunnier, drier places would be better abodes. That may well come to pass, but for the moment it’s sound practice to work with what you got.

I can’t say my pedals have appreciated the sand baths and repeated submersion.

P.s: It’s worth looking at some of the videos from the aforelinked “So You Think you can Edit” contest. I actually dislike Renan’s favorite intensely; it needs to step away from the tgr. [Looks like they took them down sometime today. Bummer.]

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