We had a large group of fatbikers join us on December 20 for our first Winter Randonnee ride. We counted 22 riders at the parking lot, but I think a few showed up later and headed up. We had all skill levels, including some training for JayP’s Backyard Pursuit 200k race next month. They had all their bivy and survival gear loaded on their bikes.
We had some go all the way to the top of Wolf Creek Pass, some turned around at the Wolf Creek highway, some turned back at the top of Soapstone Pass, and some down in Soapstone Basin.
Conditions were pretty challenging, with soft snow for much of the time. For many of us, it meant hiking in the soft snow, especially on the steeper sections. Probably the softest and most challenging conditions were on the far side of Soapstone Pass dropping down to the Wolf Creek highway. The big surprise was that the highway was free of snow, bare asphalt, with cars driving up and down. In the past this highway has not been maintained during Winter, and maps still indicate that it is not maintained. But that certainly was not the case. The hardcore riders in the group rode the 3 or 3.5 miles all the way to the top, with grades up to 8%, all on pavement. Extra credit points for them. Most riders turned around when we hit the pavement, which made for a nice, though tough, 15.6 miles with 2239′ of ascent. The lead group did 21.8 miles with 3378′ of climbing.
It was a nice day, with temps probably in the high 20’s when we started. On top of Soapstone Pass (9200′) it was pretty cold and windy, but once you got back down into tree cover it was pretty nice. The final descent back to the parking lot was also a bit chilly, especially with sweating hands inside damp gloves from all the ascending.
We’d like to thank everyone for showing up. Hope you all had a good time. Our next Randonnee will be Saturday, January 17th. Stay tuned for details. We are open to locations, so if you have a suggestion, let us know; either comment here, or email us at fatbikebrigade at gmail dot com.