It actually snowed last night, not a lot, but it snowed. Okay, not much more than one inch of snow, that’s about 25 mils metrically speaking and to be honest I thought initially that taking the Surly Pugsley fat bike out onto a meagre 25 mm of snow would be embarrassing, both for myself and for Pugsley. However, closer investigation revealed a nice, if potentially nasty, sheet of ice lurking under the fresh snow. Now we are talking.
I was keen to set myself a wee challenge today, with all this nice fresh snow and all. It might all be gone tomorrow, so better make the most of it. So, my challenge was one of my own Planet Gary unofficial virtual medals, the Snowman. This requires you to take either 10, 25, 50, 75 or 100 zones when snow is lying on the ground. Thought I might go for the Snowman medal while I have the chance. It would have been better if snow was actually falling, ideally during a blizzard or whiteout, to add to the challenge, but I can always try again another day should better, or preferably worse, conditions, prevail. Yes, I am slightly crazy but in the nicest possible way.
A pleasant if somewhat slithery cycle on the Pugsley around Bonnyrigg gave me a good start to gaining the Snowman medal. I suspected about 30 zones taken but would have to wait until back home to confirm. Temperatures were below freezing, even in the sunshine, but I was well wrapped up for this mini adventure. Four layers on top and a double layer on the legs. Warm winter gloves and a winter hat took care of the extremities. However, my main concern was keeping my feet and toes warm, so hiking boots and the thickest socks I could find. Just keeping my fingers crossed that my toes won’t be suffering by tomorrow*.
Riding a fat bike on snow and ice takes a little care. It’s easy enough in a straight line but it’s changing direction where the trouble begins. Even solid sheets of ice are not a problem due to the massive grip of the 100 mm wide tyres. No, the secret to cornering on slippery snow/ice is to slow down and any steering must be gentle and slow. No rapid movements. Otherwise, you will find yourself on quickly lying on the ground.
Actually, before the morning session, I meant to note my zone count, but forgot, so decided to head home around lunchtime for some food and to check exactly what my tally was so far. With 31 zones taken locally around Bonnyrigg not only did I get the Snowman 10 but the Snowman 25 as well. It was most pleasing to see I only required another 19 zones for that cherished Snowman 50 medal. After lunch I grabbed the Pugsley again and headed for Dalkeith, picking off zones in the Newbattle area first, then the town centre and finally back via Eskbank. By the time I was back at base another 22 zones were in the bag. The Snowman 50 was mine!
I must admit that going for the Snowman 50 medal was quite exciting, not quite as exciting as winning official medals and having them pop up on the Turf app but still exciting enough to be worthwhile. Now I need to create Snowman 75 and Snowman 100 medals. Back soon.
*Note from the day after. My toes seem okay and I’ve created both the Snowman 75 and Snowman 100 medals. Hope the snow lingers!
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