The thermometer on my car read 28 degrees. The sun is just starting it's Westward journey across the sky, and hopefully my headlight has enough of a charge to light the way in the meantime. I haven't ridden Landen Deerfield in a while, so I need all the light I can get.
I step into my XTR pedals and off into the darkness. The single track is frozen, and connecting to my tires makes one of my favorite sounds in the world. Luckily, the new 29er, with it's belt drive, is silent, so I can enjoy the sound of this moment as long as the trail stays frozen. After one lap, the sun is higher on it's path, but it's still cold.
The trails at Landen Deerfield have changed quite a bit over the last few years. For a long time, I never rode them. But now, with my new homestead, I can either drive 15 minutes or bike 45 minutes to the trailhead. That makes this trail a very convenient spot to get some outside time for me. It doesn't hurt either that the trail is pretty fun. A couple climbs, a couple technical sections, with around ~3 miles of trail. It really makes use of the small space that was available.
The new 29er worked out pretty well today. After a lap I needed to adjust the tire pressure, as the previous owner had the tires inflated to the absolute max pressure. After adjustment, I still could not really trust the Clement tires. They are very fast rolling, but their cornering left much to be desired. Speaking of pressures, the Fox fork needs a little adjustment as well, as it felt a little off throughout the multiple laps. Apart from pressure issues, the bike was great. The steel frame was as expected, and the Shimano discs were superb. The belt drive was also top notch, never once feeling not like a chain. Gearing was spot on as well.
Four laps at Landen equaled a little over 10 miles, which was perfect in the cold temperatures. For the first time, I ended my ride with an ice beard, which I didn't even realize until it was mostly melted. Between the ice beard and the Velcro like traction, winter single track is the best.