Global Fat Bike Day 2015
December 5th was Global Fat Bike Day, a day where those in the worldwide fat bike community get out and collectively ride their beloved fat bikes. The day was coined three years ago by some nameless British fellows as a way to bring the fat-biking community together. Each year the event grows larger thanks to the increasing demand for these burly bikes, which can float over pretty much every terrain you throw at them. Frequently mislabeled as "winter" bikes, fat bikes were not originally designed for snow but for sand. Since their invention and subsequent popularity, fat bikes can now be seen riding all over the place and in every type of condition.
My friend JR and I decided to head up to Strawberry Reservoir to ride our fat bikes. Since it has been a low snow year so far (a more common occurrence these days), we were not sure what the conditions would be like until we arrived. We crested the last summit before our descent into the valley and were greeted to a fog bank worthy of San Fransisco. The road was covered with loose snow that tugged the truck this way and that. Diffuse morning sunshine backlit the bare trees with a beautiful buttery warmth that every photographer longs for, at least I do.My ride waiting patiently at the trailhead.
The pullout for the trailhead was perfectly blanketed with fresh snow and showed no signs of any other visitors. The air was moist on account of the fog, but we could already see that the fog was going to be short-lived, much to my dismay--I love foggy photos! We covered ourselves with jackets, gloves, and snow pants, thinking that the moist, cold breeze would chill us down quickly. Boy, were we wrong! It was sweltering out there!
We reached the edge of the lake and threw off our gloves, hats, you name it, it was off in a flash. The toasty sun had made quick work of the dense fog, and we were left looking out over the icy reservoir to the powdered hills beyond. The surface of the lake was moderately frozen over, just enough to bravely venture out a bit. JR and I did some impromptu curling with sandstone rocks that weren't frozen to the earth. They glided easily across the clear, bubbly ice and came to a restful halt hundreds of feet away.
Suddenly, there was a strange echoing sound from what sounded like deep in the lake, a sound I have never encountered in nature. If you have ever stretched a Slinky out and listened to the sound it makes in the coil, that is similar to the sound we were hearing only amplified all around us. Honestly, I could stand there listening to it all day! I imagine the sound was from stress on the ice or from escaping gas. Either way it sounded otherworldly, like a science fiction laser blast underwater.
Spooky Lake SoundsWhat does it mean?
Have a listen and tell me what you think it sounds like:
Biking through the snow around the lake, we passed several boats that were out on the unfrozen portion of the lake. We didn't stop to ask how the fishing was, but I bet it was pretty good. The snow depth was highly variable, and on more than one occasion, JR and I had to do some pushing and postholing through deep snow. Once we rejoined the road, the ride back to the truck was swift and cooling, but in a good way; It was still very warm out. Cockpit view of my fat bike
Not a bad way to spend Global Fat Bike Day! It was my first time celebrating outside of Alaska, which made it feel a little strange. However, the company was good and the ride was warm. I couldn't really ask for more than that. Also, I would like to go back to that area and explore way more. There are trails up there for days, not to mention some killer ice fishing. Look out for those fatties!
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