Chilly temps and fair skies greeted us at the Briery Branch Community Center. The weather was looking good for this years Superbowl ride and the crowd gathering was a fair measure larger than lasts years ride, probably because the weather forecast was much better than last year.
As we headed out my mind drifted to last years ride and the awesome conditions.
Tom, Todd, and myself were all freshly fed and raring to go after our bagel stop at Bodos in C-ville. I checked my gear, bundled up my feet, and set off with the riders streaming out. While heading up the paved section I made a rare bike handling faux paux and nearly went in the ditch after taking my hands of the bars and swerving wildy to the right. I'm just glad I didn't take anybody out. Very embarrassing.
This year I took a nice easy pace up the mountain, a strategy I adopted after blazing to the top last year after freezing while waiting for the group co coagulate as riders streamed in. When we got to the top there was evidence of snow up on the ridge line leading to Flag pole knob. After greeting saying hello to the usual suspects I started getting cold and busted out a bunch of pushups to the amusement of the crowd.
We moved out on the fireroad into a ridge line landscape completely covered in snow. The road held some treacherous icy spots hidden in the white snowy cover. A very light snow shower and chilling wind was blowing in over sweeping views of the Shenandoah Valley. My very peaceful and serene ride to the second way point at Flagpole knob was briefly interrupted buy an attention starved soul boy who had a mini boom box spraying music from his handlebars. I rode away from him to keep the annoyance at a reasonable distance.
The group once again congregated at the top and gathered for some group photos. I wrestled to consume a gel that was almost a solid and uncomfortably cold. The was an excellent view over the valley and I snapped some photos while fireworks cracked overhead.
Todd, Tom, and myself headed out in advance of the large group and started down the mountain on a very slick rough fire road. There were a few rocky and steep sections that tested our skills and kept us off our front brakes. We reached another large clearing and then funneled into the single track that would take us down the mountain to Hone Quarry damn. The snow covered trail had much better traction than the fireroad and was a real blast to ride, and there were no handlebar boombox sporting freds anywhere nearby :)