Last night I embarked on an epic 7+ hour all trail ride from Dubuque to Dyersville utilizing ROW trails... This route is one of the TripleD Race options (the entire route was 57 miles; however add another 10 for the round trip distance from my house to the Grand River Center and this route would be 67 miles). This option would be one of the hardest as there are no roads involved whatsoever (all trails).
My pace to Dyersville was way too hot, and caused me to bonk major time at Farley on the way back. A short 1 mile detour into town to stop at one of their fine drinking establishments for about 30 minutes (Mountain Dew and Snickers Bar) allowed me to gather my wits and start back to Dubuque at a more maintainable pace. After about another hour, I had found that happy indefinite pace that Arrowhead will require. The snow and trails were in excellent condition and allowed me to ride nearly 99% of the time. More snow (~6”) is arriving as I type and should be packed down in the next couple of days of sun and 30dF weather.
I’ve started carrying more gear as of late (extra clothes, survival items, water, etc.) to get used to maneuvering a loaded bike on the snow. Also, I’ve started testing a new custom clothing system which should be good to -40dF (it was 14dF last night, so I felt like I was in a sauna with this incredible single layer on).
I’m still a little concerned that I haven’t had the time to put in a 12 hour snow ride yet, In fact, the 7 hour ride last night was my longest ride sense 2006’s “24 hours of Nine Mile” National Championships. However, I must stick to an intelligent training regiment that my body can benefit from.