Rosaryville State Park: Upper Marlboro, Maryland

January 23, 2005

January in the Washington, DC area has been pretty pschytzophrenic this year. One week we'll have temps in the 70s, the next it will be in the teens. It makes for a mixed blessing when it comes to mountain biking. When it is 70 out, the trails are too muddy to ride. When it is 12 degrees out, the mud is frozen solid, but it is definitely too cold to ride in short sleeves and shorts. I'll let you look at the photos and see which kind of day we had.

This is where we all wished we were riding on this snowy day. This is the kind of day we would have loved to have had.

Alas it wasn't meant to be. Eight of us got together to ride at Rosaryville State Park this beautiful Sunday morning. Five inches of snow had dropped on the park the day before and it was quite windy. And the temps? How cold was it? All you have to do to see how cold it was is look at the expression on Jason's face:

"Whose idea whas this ride anyways?"

If that expression wasn't enough, the thermometer on my car said it was 11 degrees out. The radio lady said it was a wind chill of -4. How does one deal with such conditions? Lots of layers. I think most of us actually dressed too warmly and had to take some layers off or at least unzip the outer layers to let off some steam. Pam cooking spray helps keep the ice off the pedals and derailleurs. Nothing will help your brakes. Fortunately everyone except one had disc brakes which don't have as much trouble with ice. Unfortunately for me, I was the one with rim brakes. I had a scraper in my pocket to get ice off, but it wasn't needed.

I think pictures can tell the rest of the story. I'll give you a break and shut the heck up. Enjoy...

Riding through the woods

Pat and Chris weaving through the trees

Dave finds the line while Mike catches up.

Mike was the only one of us that really looked warm.

Pat and Jason riding along the doubletrack

Jason really likes wheelies in the snow.

Dave and Chris riding past some of the equestrian obstacles.

Chris is underneath all that stuff.

Scott looks like he's about to fall, doesn't he? This is the norm for riding on these trails. About 1/2 the time we were on the trails, we were following some XC skiers. That made it extremely difficult to hold a good line when riding. The packed down sections were very slick and the powdery areas were very good traction. Anyone looking at the tracks we left would have though that we had been drinking.

Scott didn't bail on that section. He just kept cranking away and rode straight through it. By this time we were really having fun.

Riding in the snow was pretty dang tough. I think we all burned a lot more energy than we ever have in one lap at Rosaryville. Scott and I took turns leading for the most part. I found that when I had untouched snow in front of me, the going was easy. I could ride up most of the hills and I really didn't have any trouble to note. It wasn't quite as good when I was towards the back of the pack. I could still ride pretty well through the chopped up stuff, but the front wheel tended to wander a bit. The worst by far was leading when the skiers had been through the area. Jumping from slippery hardpack to soft powder made the front wheel jump from side to side and made steering extremely difficult. I'm sure Jason got some GREAT video of me sketching all over the trail as I try to pick my way through the tracks.

There goes Jason with the wheelies again.

Enough with the wheelies you showoff!

Pat picks his way through the choppy snow.

Chris plowed right through this stuff. His bike seemed to work really well in this snow. I think he had the fattest tires of the group.

North shore extreme!

Dave had some pretty nasty words for the way his tires worked in the snow. He felt like he was all over the place today. Quite honestly, he didn't look any worse off than the rest of us.

This little dip was fun and quite photogenic. Scott dives into the ravine.

His line was great and he popped right out the other side.

Jason takes a more direct line.


Pat takes the inside line. I think it helped to go through fresh snow on this.

He definitely got the fresh stuff.


Dave just blasted through




Chris was left with a lot of chop.

He handled it perfectly.


This is the crew! These are the guys that finished out the ride. Mike took a cutoff part way through. You'll notice that my buddy Drew managed to show up for the photo. He actually did the whole loop, but arrived a few minutes after we'd headed into the woods. He spent 80% of the ride between 10 and 20 minutes behind us. He'd never been to Rosaryville before. Lucky for him we left pretty easy to follow trails. No bread crumbs were needed.

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