Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Slip n Slide

I don't know how the weather last weekend treated you, but over the weekend here the city of Allentown installed a gigantic luge track. The ground is completely covered with an inch or two of snow capped with enough ice that you just do not break through. Nothing to do but get out the sled.

The sled in this case is the sweet new Scalpel VPA will be sporting this year. BK hooked us up with a test bike and I mounted up the studded snow tires for a spin in the woods. Now, completely frozen trails aren't really a good test of the design since you don't need that new pivotless suspension when most of the rocks and roots have been filled in by snow and ice and you can literally ride basically anywhere you want - but its still a good time!

Well, its mostly a good time. If you've not been on studded tires for a couple years you forget just how low you can run them and how low you need to run them in order to get that good traction. You probably start with the pressure a bit too high and slide around a bit or even crash. You let a bit out, but still not as much as you should since you really don't want to tempt the flat tire gods. You ride some more and on an off-camber stretch you hit the ground hard.

At first you don't think much of it.
Then you start to slide.
And you pick up speed.
And you think, "I'll just grab a tree."
Then you miss it.
Then you start to slide a little faster
and faster.
Literally bouncing off a few trees
and grabbing for another one
with your legs since now you're getting a bit panicked
and maybe not thinking as well as you should.
You finally tuck up and just slam into a tree with your back
and come to a stop.
The bike got hung up on a tree further up the hill
or it probably would have bowled you over.
You have to break holes in the ice to climb back up.
You'll be sore tomorrow.
You're sore right now.
You let out some more air
the studs hook up.
Now that's fun.

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