Sunday, December 30, 2012

Winter S24O Under Full Moon

The winter has been absolutely great so far. Lots of snow and below freezing temperatures through the entire month of December, until last Thursday. The temperature rose slightly above freezing and the snow cover on the trees started to vanish. The weather would be back to freezing on Friday-Saturday night, but after that even worse weather would come, with more above freezing temperatures and rain.

Although December has been great with commuting and occasional other rides, something was missing. An overnighter. Not only the weather looked perfect for the Fri-Sat night with clear skies, but it was also a full moon. These kind of opportunities doesn't come often, so I joined Peter for a short overnight fatbike trip here in Paimio.

The plan was to go to the highest place in Paimio, 'Pauhojanmäki', and sleep in bivi bags under the sky. The night temperature was forecasted to be -11°C, so I took also my Multimat Extreme XL sleeping pad with me. Packed and ready to go.

Moon light and snow, perfect.

Rendezvous with Peter was near Hevonpää. Soon we started climbing to the Pauhojanmäki.

There were a few footprints on the small forest road, so we were able to ride. No problems with the float, but the track was really bumpy, and the steeper parts of the ascent had to be pushed.

The last part of the route was unbroken snowdrift.

Peter pushing hard.

In the end the ascent was very steep and bike-pushing was super hard, as there was roughly 30-35 cm of snow. Peter preparing his sleeping place.

After unpacking our sleeping systems it was time for some photography.

The night was cold (observed minimum temperature -15°C) but it was nice and warm inside my sleeping bag. But for some reason, I didn't sleep too well in the early part of the night.

In the morning it was the usual coffee chores. This time I had a thermos bottle with hot water. The new thermos seems to be very good, as the water was still hot after the cold night.

After the night, everything was covered in frost. Beautiful!

The morning temperature was around -8°C. My fingers were pretty cold. Camping skills has to be honed in cold conditions, and if it's really cold, some heating pouches are a very good idea.

The return trip was easy. Our tracks and downhill.

On the forest road things were better too, as a local tractor did a visit there.

I decreased the tire pressure slightly more. After that the float was very good. This trip further proved how great the 45North Dillinger studded tires are. Excellent grip on ice and very good flotation on snow! At the bottom of the descent I pumped air to suit the tire pressure better for hard surfaces. You really get most out of fatbiking with decreasing and increasing tire pressure.

The sun rising in the mist, as I diverged from Peter.

Almost home.

What a great overnighter it was! The timing was absolutely perfect with the nice winter weather and the full moon. This little adventure makes it slightly easier to cope with the mild and wet weather, which hopefully will be only just a short anomaly.

Thanks Peter for the company, looking forward to more of these!

LATER EDIT: Peter has done an excellent video that captures really well the spirit of our little adventure:

ANOTHER LATER EDIT: Check out Peter's blog report here.