Saturday, February 28, 2009

Hubbard Brook

Wow did it feel great to be biking outdoors again. And look at this place! It was beautiful out today, couldn't have asked for a better day. I was aware that this place existed because the Center for the Environment at PSU has been doing a lot of work in the area and its in publications on campus all the time. Hubbard Brook is a conservation area of sorts where they run watershed studies and the what not.

There is a big science center at the end of Mirror Lake Rd in Thornton and starting there is Hubbard Brook Rd. which is a dirt road that the scientists use for accessing various parts of the brook and the surrounding area. The studies don't stop in the winter so it turns into a perfect snow machine packed down trail that is great for winter riding. It had never even occurred to me to try riding here until Bill swung us by the place on the way home from Doublehead last weekend. He has skin'd up the road and skied down in the past.

You'll notice that I said Bill has skied here in the past. i.e. There is some vert to be had. Unfortunately for me my ice bike is geared 32:16 which is a bit on the heavy side for winter riding especially if you are going to be doing some sustained climbing. I figured I'd give it a shot anyway...and I paid for it a bit. Right from the get go things tilted up.


The grade wasn't too bad but it was more than I could handle for prolonged periods with my tough guy gearing. I was red lining about 1K in of climbing and had to stop and rest a few times to let the heart settle and the legs recover. So in essence it was like interval training, kinda. Not sure how far up I made it in total. I rode up/out for about 45mins and then decided that was about as much as I could take. The high torque / low cadence was starting to do a number on my knees.

you can see the hurt

After turning around the ride back down was AWESOME. and cold. Luckily I was smart and packed extra wind proof layers in my new Camelbak M.U.L.E. The descent was fast, probably took me 3-4 mins to get back down to the bottom. 45 mins up, 4 down...sweet. Snow was in perfect shape to rip but still be in control. Probably didnt even really need the studs, but its nice to have them there for peace of mind.

at rest after a hard days work

Speaking of my new M.U.L.E, it's very nice (read like Borat). Picked it up on Chainlove recently and I'm glad I pulled the trigger on it. Big resevoir, lots of different sized storage for various types of gear, all while managing to be not that bulky. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up.

I had originally planned on spending more time out on the trail so when I got home I decided I would re-gear the ice bike so I can come back here again and get farther up without my knees exploding. This simple re-gear project exploded into a giant manarea session with no less than 3 bikes being worked on. I was a man possessed. How possessed you might ask?

This possessed.

Things I got done:
  • Ice bike is now geared 32-21 running a Surly Singleator held with zipties (chopper lives again!)
  • The goofed 9 speed cassette that I bought to put on Shaun's 8 speed bike was installed on to my commuter
  • Shaun's bike is cabled, has the right cassette, and is good to go (minus a seatpost).

This came in the mail! I haven't been this excited for a new piece of gear in a long time. I can't wait to figure out all the little in's and out's and get it dialed. My 3 blog readers are going to have access to incredible levels of detail of every single bike ride I go on from here on out. You're welcome.


  1. Sweet I want one!

    You will have to post your rides to

  2. awesome, I look forward to tracking you 24 hours a day.

  3. You the man! That place looks awesome. Certainly beats my rides on the comfort bike trail. Keep the posts coming!