Believe it or not, temps in the low 30′s don’t mean riding at Sandy Ridge is done for the season!
Tuesday morning, a hardy crew from the Mountain Shop rolled out of bed at 5am, braved the bone chilling cold, and made the drive out to Sandy for some fall biking. Pulling into a snow covered parking lot we began second guessing our decision. What had we gotten ourselves into?
As we unloaded our bikes and pulled on some extra layers, the stoke began to out weigh the doubt. Sure the parking lot was snow covered and slippery, but it would be better up on the trails. Right? The road up looked a lot like the parking lot. We were spinning out 20 feet past the gate. It was slow and somewhat perilous going, but we made it to the start of Hide and Seek. A quick glance at my watch told me it had taken us a whooping 30 minutes to ride that far. We made the decision to not go up any farther, in favor of testing out Hide And Seek.
This was a good decision.
Even though the trail was entirely snow covered, it was more packed than on the road. We whooped and hollered our way down the trail, slowly learning how to handle our bikes on the inconsistent snowy surface. When we popped back out onto the road, everyone’s smiles were glowing. Faces flushed, we decided to make the short ride up to Laura’s Loop.
There the snow wasn’t packed. We were riding on fresh, virgin snow. Our now, very narrow looking tires cut through the snow at all sorts of angles. Sliding, gripping, cutting loose. More or less guiding us in a forward-ish direction. All of us were wishing we had brought the Mountain Shop’s Fat Tire Salsa Mukluks instead of our regular mountain bikes. The stability those super wide tires would have added was sounding pretty damn appealing right about then.
Once we got to the part of the trail that Lower Hide and Seek connects to we were back on fairly packed snow. There were even a few spots of grippy brown earth peaking through the snow.
Riding the cutover trail back to the parking lot, we were hitting the bumps and burms with a little more speed and confidence, although still much slower that on a non-snow covered day. Back at the car we high-fived and celebrated the stoke. Our early morning wake-up call had been well worth it.
Here are a few tips if you’re planning on heading up to Sandy soon:
- Windstopper gloves are your best friend. Even more so than thick super insulated gloves, the Windstopper material protects your hands from the biting wind as you bomb down the trail.
- Wear layers. Bring a backpack to store your shed layers. It’s better to have a backpack than to be too cold.
- Take it slow. There’s just enough snow to make it slippery but not enough to snow to make for a soft landing if you fall. Get used to how your bike handles in the snow before picking up speed.
- Ride a fat tire bike! These bikes are built for the snow. Don’t have one? The Mountain Shop rents fat tire bikes.
- Have a warm drink ready in the car. There’s nothing like a hot mug of cocoa waiting in the car to help keep you feeling warm on the trail.
Photo credit: Clayton Andrews
Tags: mountain biking, Mountain Shop, mtb, MtShopPDX, Sandy Ridge, sandy ridge trail conditions, Sandy Ridge Trailhead, trip report
Posted in: Trip Report