Mud season is a difficult time for both locals and visitors in a mountain town; it is neither here nor there in terms of skiing and biking. There is still snow on the peaks and upper-level trails, yet no lifts are turning and your feet are over ski boots. Maybe you could sneak in a few days of mountain biking, but most trails are still buried under snow. Or worse, they are snow-free and muddy, so that if you ride them you could mess up the trail with some serious ruts. How can you make the most of this sluggish time of year?
Get Your Bike Ready For Spring
Gear is a huge part of having fun. If your equipment breaks down and you can’t participate in a sport that you love, you’ll be frantically trying to get it fixed.
Mud season is a great time to take your road or mountain bike to White Pine Touring or Jans to have the Experts give it a once-over. Our trained bike technicians can spot faulty cable tension, a drivetrain that is past its prime or simply give your bike a tune to make sure that your first ride is successful and fun, as soon as the trails are dried out.
Check Your Gear
A successful first ride also entails remembering where you put everything from last season, and getting it ready for action. This applies not only to bike gear, but climbing and fishing gear as well. Rainy days, bad weather days, or days when you could go skiing but really don’t feel like it are all great times for taking stock of your gear.
Checking your gear is like taking your bike to the mechanic, you give it a once-over and decide if it can handle another season of abuse. Did you use all your tube patches last year helping out your buddies with flats, but still have the case in your backpack? Throw it out and get a new kit. Helmet dented from throwing it on the ground or a big crash? Time for a new one!
If your backpack is getting a little tattered from throwing it around in the dust, wash it and inspect if there are any tears. Climbing rope fraying or have some big whippers on it? Make a rope rug and buy a new climbing rope.
Do you have enough tippet, leaders, flies and strike indicators for fly fishing? Check sizes, stock up and organize your fly box and pack accordingly. Giving your gear a little attention in the beginning of the season can save you time and aggravation during the prime season when you want to maximize your time in the saddle, at the crag or on the river.
Organize Your Gear
Nothing gets me more excited for an upcoming season than gear organization. I do it with my ski gear every fall and my biking and climbing gear every spring. Dorky yes, but it also serves an important purpose.
Gear organization ensures that you will be prepared for your first outings. I like to organize all my bike gear in one spot so that when I walk out the door I can grab my helmet, sunglasses, backpack, shoes and knee pads (if I need them.) I make sure my pack has a few fresh tubes, a bike pump, multi-tool, chain lube and plenty of water. I also store a few extra layers by my gear stash so that I don’t have to hunt around for them either.
I organize my climbing gear in a similar fashion, with one key difference: I check this gear twice. Look over your rack for any signs of wear and tear, cracks or frays. Check your rope for similar signs of fatigue. Once I have made sure my gear is good to go, I stash it in a cool, dry environment, out of the sun, so it’s ready to walk out the door with me. I always make sure to have a first aid kit, multi-tool, head lamp, water and a few extra layers. You can even organize your racks according to activity (if you have the space to do so.) Having hooks for your sport rack and trad rack will help keep you organized the entire season.
By following this routine, I minimize the risk of walking out the door and forgetting something critical.
Head to the Desert
The last obvious tip for surviving mud season is venturing to the desert. Places like Moab, Fruita or Gooseberry have already dried up but have not gotten too hot to be unbearable. The biking, fly fishing and climbing is amazing, you get to wear flip flops and sit around a campfire and the muddy trails of home are but a distant memory.