Ride 2/50 – Fat Biking in the snow at GORBA Trails

Ride #2 in my “50 memorable rides in my 50th year” was last Sunday January 23, 2016 at the Guelph Lake Conservation Area on the GORBA trails (Guelph Off-Road Bicycling Assocation.  http://gorba.ca/).  GORBA has done a fantastic job grooming, maintaining and marking a winter trail loop through the snow, and although I’ve had a fat bike since last summer, I consider this ride to be my first really fun singletrack fat-bike winter ride.  I met my two brothers and a friend at Riverside Park in Guelph. The ride from Riverside to the trails includes some open double track mixed in with singletrack.  Recent snow fall has made these trails fun to ride.  There’s not a lot of elevation in the conservation area, but the trails have so much flow, they make up for the lack of elevation by having smooth flowing trails, even in winter. image1

The timing of this ride was perfect.  A good amount of snow had fallen earlier in the week and enough riders had been through to pack down the fresh snow perfectly.  I had ridden my fat bike a few times in the snow, but was still a little tentative in the snow at first.  However, after a little while, I was able to gain confidence in the traction of the fat tires and really started to enjoy the ride.  For those of you who have never experienced fat-tire riding in the snow, the only real comparison I can make is summer singletrack rides on hard-packed dirt.  The ride reminded me of why I got into mountain biking years ago.  Mountain-bike-specific trails didn’t yet exist, so the focus of riding was more about exploration than racing or fitness.  My fat bike ride on Sunday felt like this.  We got lost a few times, rode the groomed trails a lot, and explored some of the trails that don’t get as much use.  Pure joy!

Oh and I stumbled up on this old photo of my brothers and I and a mutual friend Hal.  The same group of four of us rode the GORBA trails on Sunday.  This photo is from twenty years ago when we were all getting into mountain biking.  We were riding around Bronte Creek in Oakville, discovering trails, exploring, just like last Sunday!

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