Today though I wanted to ride the 650B Ellsworth Truth in an attempt to do my Cape Horn loop. Everything started out well...The first 20-miles of the ride up Asotin Creek I usually ride as fast as I can (time trial you could say) just for fun - yes I am sick since I think that such a thing is fun. Anyway, I was curious to find out how the 650B Ellsworth would compare to my past times on other bikes (including the Ells setup as a 26" only bike). My fastest time ever was on the my Supercal 29er this summer at 1:08, but that was with a smokin tailwind (cheater), otherwise my fastest time was 1:12 on the same bike. The 650B Ellsworth suprisingly rolled through in 1:13 today...yes I was shocked a bit since it was cooler (typically slows me down some) plus I have been riding much less and hogging down plenty of not-so-health (very sickly fattening) holiday yum - which translates into decreased fitness and added weight (which I'm just sure has mostly resulted in massive fatty deposits on the inside of my arterties...aka future heart attack). I'm still pondering my result, but one thing is clear - my tire choice (Bontrager Jones ACX Tubeless - rear and Pacenti Neo-Moto 650B - front) is fast even if my ass is feeling fat.
After the first 20-miles I ran into soft road conditions (mud) and then the road transitioned into these incredibly slick ice fields that were quite interesting to ride. The tires I had on did a good job of maintaining traction and I stayed upright through it all. Then came the soft snow over the ice...hmmm that was even more fun to slip-slide though.
And finally above the 3000' elevation level I ran into hard crap-crust snow - a cursed snow crust that is very difficult to ride though since it is so hard crusted, but not so hard that you can ride on top of it...end result is a huge amount of resistance to forward motion which tranlates into slow, time consuming, and high effort riding (good training stuff, but I'm not training). This stuff was only a few inches deep, which was just enough to make riding through it difficult. Several miles into the crap-crust I bagged my attempt to do the Horn since it became obvious that I was going to run out of daylight due to the slowed forward progress. The trip back down was a frigid, white-knuckle blast - stayed upright though. In the end it was a 60-mile trip to nowhere with a wee 3700 feet of climbing just for fun.
On my way up Asotin Creek I did see another rider on a cross-bike coming down...this was the first time I've ever seen anyone else riding a bike on this road (see tracks very rarely). He gave a wave as did I also, but I wanted to stop or turn around and talk to him, but I was on a mission doing an I'm-not-training-time-trial. Maybe I will see this person again sometime, maybe not.