When winter hits in Oneonta, it hits hard. I’m talking about days where the mercury in your thermometers doesn’t bother showing up for work. Some days the combination of the cold temperatures, windchill, snow and/or ice keep you from wanting to leave your house, let alone wanting to partake in any sort of outdoor activity. That’s where the crazy idea of mountain biking on the frozen trails of Wilber Park comes into play. Now, I’m usually not one to shy away from a ride, but as aforementioned above, Oneonta in January is not the friendliest time of the year to ride in. So after receiving several inquiries from a few friends regarding a winter ride on a “nice” day in January, I decided that a group winter ride wouldn’t be such a bad thing. At least, it would make the suffering a little more fun, right?
Well, that’s only partially true. Having friends to ride in the winter with does take some sting out of the winter air, but only slightly. Climbing is nearly impossible on the icy, steep trails, but going downhill brings out the inner Sean-as-a-child-on-a-sled type of feeling. However, there are definitely a few “oh, shit” moments as well, but those are mostly followed by laughter and wide grins. Those moments simply showcase the duality of winter riding; it’s cold, miserable, and sketchy at times, but it also brings moments of sheer delight.
After a few miles of icy singletrack we then made the decision to go back up for round two. At this point we were already warm enough, but this next lap summarized what winter mountain biking is all about–just having fun while we can. It just goes to show you that sometimes a group of people are all you really need to enjoy the casual winter spin session: that, plus a fatbike.