Freeze/Thaw Season is Here

Board Member

November 01, 2020, 07:18 AM

On Friday, the trails out in Blue Mound were in good shape, and the forecast called for temperatures right around freezing and a beautiful fall day for Saturday, so we marked the trails open and looked forward to perhaps the last really nice day of the year.  Well, it must have gotten colder than expected out there, as the reports of muddy bikes and trails started trickling in, and then flooding in.  Thanks to everyone who sent feedback, and who were willing to bail on your rides.  To those who went ahead and rode, we get it; the trails were marked open, the weather was beautiful, you had driven all the way out there, and maybe around that next corner things dry out, right?  A couple lessons/reminders as we move into the shoulder season:

  • Riding wet trails is hard on the trails; it pushes the mud to the side, cupping the trail, so that they hold water, making them stay muddy longer, then they get more cupped, and so on.  Yes, there are videos all over the web of people riding in mud, and, yes, some soil types can stand up to being ridden when wet.  But we can't account for everything that gets posted on the web, and Wisconsin clay is not one of those types.
  • This is even worse during freeze/thaw.  The water in the soil expands when it freezes, making for an even looser, soupier mud when it thaws.  Go here or here for more details on this frustrating phenomenon.  This time of year, a cloudy day with temperatures around freezing will usually be better for riding than an unusually warm, sunny day.
  • Even with years of experience, we can't always predict how the trails will react to the weather, and we can't always get out to physically inspect the trails.
  • The actual condition of the trail always trumps the posted trail conditions.  If you get out and find that the trails are wet despite being marked open, please don't ride, and let us know.  Likewise, if the trails are marked closed but you aren't leaving a rut, pushing the soil to the side,  or picking up mud on your tires, it's okay to ride, and, again, let us know.

We all want to get as much riding in as possible, but sometimes that means staying off the trails so that we don't have to spend time repairing them in the future.  There's no shortage of good road and bike trail riding in the area when the trails are wet.  Thanks for caring!

« Last Edit: November 02, 2020, 09:41 AM by Renegade Rick »