Mining sunshine and riding sugar snow

or Sugarloaf Peak and Miner’s Ridge.

Started not too late, 7:30am, even when Steven’s Pass was closed until 6:15am for plowing.

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Managed to squeeze out 1:30 hours before snowmobiles passed me – then I passed them, then they passed me..

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Luckily, they then decided to _not_ go up to Sugarloaf Peak. My lucky day?

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The weather was a bit wild, clouds came and left.

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Several times I thought I might not see blue sky again.

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Only to be surprised suddenly, again. Pushing occasionally through some overblown snow, putting first tracks up to the peak.

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Clouds forming and disappearing.

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Reaching the top to see far and clear.

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I have a few minutes to myself before a couple snowmobilers make a brief appearance.

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Then I have the peak to myself again – for as long as it takes me to saturate on the view, and long to ride a bit more.

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What would it be like to stay in the Lookout this time of the year?

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Time to ride Miner’s Ridge. Only a couple snowmobilers pass me, and it’s 11 am already! The early bird gets nice tracks.

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Sugarloaf Peak does not look impressive from Miner’s Ridge. More like a smudge.

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But the mountain to the north still look impressive. Would a 2 day trip suffice to explore this ridge in winter?

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The snow is still fairly hard, perfect for biking.

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Then it’s time to ride back, and look around one last time.

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And ride one last hill up, before flying down almost 4000 ft.

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Elfin Land Magic

Rain in Seattle. But, sunshine in BC. Finally! 3 hour drive to Squamish, then ride up to Elfin Lakes. So many friendly Canadians.

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No more words needed.

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Posted in fatbike, snowbike, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Winter fatbiking clothing

When people ask me about going snowbiking, the first thing that comes up is clothing. Here is a summary of what has worked for me in the Washington Cascades and south-west British Columbia. Winter weather in this area is typically mild but wet. Daytime highs are typically between 20 F to 35 F, with night time lows 10 F to 20 F. Sunny, snowy, perhaps a slight drizzle. Typically, it’s not very windy.

Riding at 70% heart rate at 3 mph is seriously heart warming, even when it’s 25 F. However, when flying down a 2000 ft. descent on bumpy snowmobiles at 15 to 20 mph, one potentially cools down very quickly.

Sweating is not an option – I will always stop to shed layers (down to next to nothing) if I feel that I might start sweating. For the descent, I put on windproof everything from head-to-toe, potentially without adding any insulation depending on how long the descent is. I carry a thin rain jacket and pants for that purpose. My feet and hands get cold easily. I have thin fleeze gloves and giant mitts. On my feet I wear tennis shoes, covered in 40-Below Simple Slippers, which are stuck inside Neos Adventurer (non-insulated) overshoes.  Sometimes there’s lots of hiking, so a gaitor (which are part of the overshoes) is really nice when the snow is deep or there’s a bit of slush. I don’t use clipless pedals on my winter bike, and I don’t miss it. Sometimes I add chemical toe warmers inside my tennis shoes, if I don’t have to walk much.

On my head, I wear a thin fleece hat, and have a couple balaclavas (one windproof) for extra protection on long and fast descents, or if it’s rainy.

Layers on top are: 1) thin, mesh sleeveless shirt (think 80’s), 2) thin, long-sleeve wooly with zipper, 3) windproof yellow cycling jacket. 4) For extra insulation, or in case I did sweat through my wooly, I carry a thin fleece pullover. For the lower portion, I have cycling shorts, and choose from various tights based on the conditions. Cross-country ski pants work really well, as does anything that has a windproof front, and some ventilation in the back. If the daytime high is

For hydration, I have a thin 3 L Camelback close to my back to keep the water warm. It sits under the windproof cycling jacket/vest, and the tubing runs over my shoulder. I blow water back through the tube when done drinking. If I am out for a long ride, I melt snow with a tiny gas stove, which requires me to strip away the jacket to get to the Camelback (brr).

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