Had to sit back the whole week because of the bad road conditions. Snow and ice and not a lot of the biking lanes opened. But today - after another -14 degree night - the sun shone so brightly that I was unable to resist the lure of the roads. I decided to take the Litespeed with a Nokian NBX Lite tyre in the front and a Racing Ralph in the rear. That would give me some edge when the roads would not be 100% open. I started out over Bierbeek and Willebringen along the Haasrode road tour and soon enough I would venture on smaller roads that were still covered in snow. But the grip was good with my chosen tyres and I had no problems. Even on the smaller roads towards the chapel overlooking the Hoegaarden fields I made good progress. Only had to be careful in the descents but I never even fell like the bike was out of control. Looping towards l'Ecluse and La Bruyere the roads became wet with salt when the temps mounted towards -4 degrees and with the sun out there was some minor melting going on. I decided to do an extra loop over Hamme Mille, Nethen and Sint Joris Weert to pass next to the Zoete Waters. Here there were a lot of people who ventured on the ice - ignoring the warnings and 'forbidden to skate' signs. I made some pictures and moved on. I did a solid 53K today and I was very pleased to be out there again. Next week the temperatures are forecast to rise over the 0 degree mark so I guess we will be looking at a good messy offroad conditions but at the same time the onroad should be less dangerous, making it possible to venture out in the evenings again.
Ride Stats : 53.5K and 350 heightmeters in 2h30mins
Took a day off from work today in order to make a ride in the 15cm of snow that had fallen yesterday. In order to keep the rubber side down I mounted my very grippy Schwalbe Black Shark Mud tyres in 1.5 section. These offer tremendous traction in loose stuff, but have to be watched on tarmac and ice. I quickly learned that the best way to ride in the heavy snow was to point your tyres where the snow was still untouched. Easier said than done on the bigger roads - there have been a lot of jeeps going over them since yesterday - but on the smaller tracks that made for good progress. Obviously you had to watch the snow to see if there were no hidden pitfalls lurking beneath it. As there are : frozen gullies, branches and all kinds of frozen tracks, horses hooves being the most dangerous. If you ride in the tracks of jeeps care has to be taken because as long as you are on the track, its fine, but if your front wheels strays off of the track, traction conditions change immediately, making the wheel skid . So it was fun and demanded a lot of attention. I managed to take a lot of pictures. I hope you will enjoy looking at them, I certainly enjoyed being out there today and having my camera with me.