POSTED BY JOEY - I took it as an extremely good omen when, on Thursday of last week, I woke up to snow flurries outside. (Anyone who knows me knows I am very superstitious. Or not.) This is because, due to the wonders of modern technology, I knew via something called a tracking number that my new Salsa Blackborow fatbike would be arriving that very day. And arrive it did, even though the FedEx man was driving a Budget rental truck instead of his normal ride, which confused me until he explained his truck was getting a total overhaul at the FedEx facility. I've told him about his driving... but I digress.
In any case, I built the Blackborow on Friday, getting absolutely nothing official done, because I knew it was supposed to snow up high, and I figured my single day off (Sunday) is a terrible thing to waste watching episodes of The 100. Such it was that I found myself getting ready to roll up to La Plata Canyon on Sunday morning.
Due, yet again, to the wonders of modern technology, it appeared in advance that La Plata Canyon would have anywhere between a muddy dusting and eight inches of snow. Due to the invariable reality that modern technology is never quite as good as promised, I was delighted to find 5" of snow at the base of the canyon and 18" up high. I'd bet that Kennebec has well over two feet, but despite my best intentions, I didn't make it to the pass.
There were automobile tracks, then jeep tracks, then snowshoe tracks, then post-holed footprints, then blessed nothingness, just a fresh, untouched foot-plus of snow. I was able to ride up everything until the footprints, and then I hike-a-biked for a while, and then I slogged for a while after that.
It became apparent that I wasn't going to make the pass unless I was willing to spend the night, which I decidedly was not. So I turned around a short way before the Columbus Basin road, and found that it was so deep I couldn't even ride downhill. Believe me when I tell you that although slogging downhill is easier than slogging uphill, it feels a lot dumber.
Once I made it back to the tracked-in area, I watched a Jeep almost get stuck, talked to a kid in full camo attire, and jumped on the bike for a high-speed descent down a couple thousand feet. Then I retraced my tracks through some sweet trail paralleling the road, jumped in the truck for the short drive home, and went to play bike polo in snow-free downtown Durango. What a day!
Oh yeah, about the bike (I'm bad at this selling bikes thing): It was awesome. Truly. The 5" tires float amazingly well compared to my older 4" bikes, but unlike other 5" bikes I've ridden, the Blackborow actually handles nicely. Adjustable chainstays via the Alternator dropouts mean you can have quick trail manners or more weight distribution between the wheels for better float - you choose. I ran it short yesterday, but will try out the longer "Alaskan" chainstay length soon. In short, if you're looking for a bike to do my favorite kind of snow riding (deep, fluffy, fresh tracking), this is it. Probably overkill if you're at the Nordic Center or riding packed-in hiking trails all the time, which is why we sell the Mukluk and Beargrease too! Stock Blackborows will join our current (large) line of fatbikes on the floor in the next day or two. Come ride one.