Since 1999 Robert Herimann has been hosting a Thanksgiving morning ride at Pontiac Lake Recreation Area. I’ve wanted to attend for a few years, but the timing has never really worked out for me. This year it did, and I’m really glad that I went. It was my first ride at PLRA both on a fatbike and in the snow.
The drive out to Pontiac Lake became snowy and promised an interesting ride, but having the Mukluk and winter clothes with me (as has been the norm for the past couple of weeks) I was content and ready to go. Almost all of the trail looked like what is seen above with the snow, frozen leaves hiding and lubricating the surface, and icy rocks. The ride was a bit exciting and traction was a challenge at points, but it was still a good time. I had a really fun time and made all of the climbs (including the one after the chute) except for Three Mile Hill, where someone stopped in front of me at a point where there wasn’t room to pass. A bit lower tire pressure might have helped as well (I had 11 PSI rear, 7 PSI front on the Larry / Big Fat Larry combo), but I went with something slightly higher than normal to cut down on the chance of pinch flatting.
About half-way through the ride I switched from motoring along, trying to keep up with others, and just began poking along slowly, looking out at the incredible views. I’ve only ever ridden PLRA when there were leaves on the trees; I didn’t realize just how many beautiful ridges it went along. There are spots where I could have stopped and stood, looking out at the snow drifting down for hours. But, I was having too much fun riding. I’ll have to make another trip here this winter; I really enjoyed it.
A mirror of the traditional group photo can be found here, if you’d like to see it. I count 62 participants, and I’m just to the right of the right-most Handicapped Parking sign, in a yellow Trail’s Edge jacket and black helmet. I’m surprised there weren’t more fatbikes on the ride, only Jay Jones, myself, and a guy I didn’t recognize on a 2012 Mukluk 3. (The announcement post, showing the group photo for each year since 1999 can be seen here. The guy in the photo above is just someone who passed me after I stopped to take the photo. I’m not sure who he is.)