EDITOR'S NOTE - Brett Davis is a Salsa Cycles-sponsored athlete, director of Outdoor Pursuits at Fort Lewis College, and makes awesome cookies. He spends his time here in Durango - that is, if he's not off gallivanting around the globe somewhere.
POSTED BY BRETT - Snow is in the air. The El Nino year of “El Gordo/Bruce Lee” is starting to deliver. Wahoo! A couple of weeks ago Joey and I went in search of winter with a ride above tree line where we found 6 inches of snow and a few rogue pumpkins that were waiting to be pulverized by some trigger happy fools. Our ride was just a taste of what is to come…
Looking at the forecast for Tuesday evening, I knew our second sojourn into the mountains was going to be a good one. Meteorologist Joel Gratz, of the Colorado Daily Snow, was calling for nearly all of Colorado to wake up white on Wednesday morning. It was going to be a powder day…for fat bikes. With dreams of my big tires slicing through “cold smoke,” I reached out to my buddy, Sam, who I know is always up for some winter fun, as well as, Velorution’s newest bike shop ace, Harris. It was time to welcome him to the neighborhood by introducing him to the winter fat biking possibilities that abound around our local town.
Thus far, I had been suppressing the urge to pursue winter pursuits. The conditions were still great in the desert for explorations and the snow conditions up high were marginal at best when it came to making consistent turns without the fear of damaging both me and my equipment. When I woke up on Wednesday morning to a light dusting of snow on my truck and icy, slick roads, my willpower for seeking adventure in warmer climates was gone. It was time to embrace the upcoming winter.
Soon after picking up the boys and their trusty Salsa steeds (Ti Mukluk and Blackborow) we were at the mouth of La Plata Canyon looking at a blank canvas of white—untouched by skis, snowshoes, snow machines, or the naïve driver who makes a poor decision to test their 4WD on an unmaintained winter road. We were going to have fresh tracks.
Lowering our tire pressure for the maximum amount of floatation and traction, we picked up speed and dropped in…into 8 inches of Colorado champagne powder. With my first pedal strokes, I knew that the depth of the snow was going to make this ride a challenge. With an increased pedal cadence and the floatation of the Blackborow’s 5 inch tires, I started to make headway. My big wheels threw the snow aside in all directions as a spray of powder engulfed by riding shoes. We were powder riding!
Pedaling under clear blue skies we hopped off the road and explored the white fluffy stuff in the trees. The riding was challenging but exhilarating as we laid out a track winding through the Aspens along the La Plata River. Taking turns to break the untouched powder, we soon popped back out on the road and began a second lap. Finally, our work commitments called and we reluctantly made our way back to the truck. What a great morning!