SnoCade Ride to Newcomb and Beyond 2/20/14

2/21 PM Update: Inch of new snow Thursday evening was washed away by over an inch of rain today. We’re not wiped out by any means; I still have a foot-and-a-half of snow in my yard. But the lakes have tons of slush on them. Low-lying sections of trail near swamps, river and brooks are covered with water and slush. You can ride here this weekend, but you’ll need to be smart and cautious about it….

2/20 Trail Report: About a dozen of us assembled at the parking lot by the Indian Lake town garage this morning around 9AM. It was a beautiful sunny start to the day and the Indian Lake village trails were sweet from the get go. Cal, Matt and I led the mixed group of locals, semi-locals and a few ilsnow.com stalwarts toward Newcomb.

S84/Blue Mountain trail was freshly groomed, just a super ride all the way through. The only issue were the occasional corners blown down to ice. Hands down, the best ride I’ve had on that trail in years!

Newcomb trail was more of the same for a few miles, until we overtook the groomer. After that, the Newcomb trail was still a pretty good ride all the way up to its junction with C8B. The Joseph Mountain was scuffed down to dirt in a few spots and a bit choppy, but not terrible.

C8B over the Newcomb was in pretty good shape, ranging from nearly smooth to occasional small rollers and studders. And there wasn’t anywhere near the carbide clanking as I usually expect on this trail. Even the road descending down into Newcomb wasn’t that scratchy. There were a couple of spots where the water was eating away the trail base from underneath.

The trail through Newcomb to reach High Peaks Kitchen was bumpy and snirty, but we made it over for lunch without incident. After lunch, we headed back toward the junction of C8B and Newcomb trail. By then it had clouded up and the trails were getting loose.

Half of the crew went back to Indian Lake. Cal and I led the other half on a more ambitious loop back to Indian Lake via Long Lake, Raquette Lake, Inlet and Moose River Plains.

C8B to Long Lake was groomed today, but was thin and snirty in places. The final half mile or so to Tarbell Road was choppy and snirty, worn down to dirt in places. After riding a choppy, snirty snowbank along the side of Tarbell Road, we dumped onto Long Lake.

Long Lake wasn’t perfectly flat, but offered a nice, fast ride into town for gas at Stewart’s. Then we jetted down Long Lake, missing our connection to the powerlines trail, but making it all the way down to North Point Road. We rode the bumpy, snirty snowbank down to Forked Lake Campsites. The stretch down to Forked Lake was roller-rama and the final hundred yards with a choppy snirt farm. It appears that the Long Lake area has about half the snow that Indian Lake has, it was that noticeable of a difference!

After some brutal slide smoking, carbide shaving road riding after Forked Lake, we hit the short trail down to Raquette Lake. The lake crossing wasn’t perfectly smooth, but offered a good ride into Raquette Lake “village.”

Brown’s Tract Road was loose snirty chop and scuffed down to dirt in places. S81C was nothing but choppy snirt worn down to dirt in places. But it had appeared recently groomed and wasn’t the same torture chamber I’ve seen it other times.

Eight Lake Campsites was a roller-rama. 7th Lake over to the Ole Barn via the Inlet trails was snirty and thin, but was groomed flat for the most part. Ole Barn to Screamen Eagle in downtown Inlet via Gilbert Road was total snirts-ville: dirt masquerading as snow.

We had dinner at Screamen Eagle. The have lots of different flavored wings to choose from. I tried Cal’s recommended “Peanut butter panic” wings and liked them a lot.

On the way back home through Moose River Plains. It started snowing pretty hard. Irony of ironies, Cal’s finally got a helmet shield that worked and he was able to lead us back home through the snow like Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer. :)

The Inlet half of Moose River Plains out to Silver Run ranged from pretty smooth to some soft shredder bumps with some occasional carbide clanking. The Indian Lake half of the Plains between Silver Run and Headquarters was a roller-rama, especially on the hills.

C8 from Headquarters back to Indian Lake village was groomed today and in pretty decent shape. Trail ranged from nearly smooth to some studderbumps. There was occasional carbide clanking and a couple of nasty slushy water spots.

Indian Lake village trails had some shredder bumps from the day’s traffic and above 32*F afternoon temperatures. After everybody parted ways for their respective home bases, I rolled back to the compound with almost 140 miles for today. We had a great time today with a good riding crew. Lots of laughs for sure… I’m really bummed that the GO-PRO camera battery didn’t take a charge last night, because there would have been some really great footage. Instead, I’ve got some pictures:

 

Weekend Outlook:

No doubt, the rain on Friday is going to spoil things. We’ll just have to wait and see what kind of damage falls from the sky. I can tell you that Indian Lake and Speculator will do a much better job of surviving the carnage than Long Lake, Raquette Lake or Inlet, based on the snow conditions I witnessed today. The lakes, low-lying areas of the trails and the highly traveled trails will suffer the worst. Expect late winter/early spring riding conditions AT BEST this weekend. Colder weather will return in force next week, but it may become a waiting game for the next big snow that will bring us back to good.

Darrin @ ilsnow.com

 

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