Watching the bad-asses of Northern Europe kill it in the snow got me thinking, maybe I should try the opposite of the norm for snow riding.
Maybe instead of fat floaty tires, I should be running skinny tires that can bite through the fluffy powder to the frozen ground below?
That's what they do with Pro Rally too; run skinny snow tires that can bite.
That's what Mr. Kowalski did back in the day too. He'd take the huge balloons off his Bronco and put on these silly looking little snow tires to get through the Winter.
So that's what I did. I had bought some 37mm studded tires for commuting, and never really found a need for them. Now was my chance.
Mounted them up at about 40psi and hit the road. I left my cog / chainring the same effectively reducing my gear to about a 46" (from a 49").
Where other users had tread, I would have been better off with a standard mtb tire. Things were more compacted than the other day, but the skinnies were not ideal on it. Staying on the side of the trail in the untouched powder on the other hand was great. I gutted out the fireroads to an elevation were fewer users had traveled. At one point I was actually hoping to bog down, or spin out so I could take my glasses off, but no dice, I had to wait until the trail flattened out a bit to take them off (ah, shucks). The skinniness of the tire didn't create too much drag cutting through to the frozen earth below, and the studs and tread could really bite in. As long as the powder was fresh, and I didn't wander into a snow drift, or break through a frost heave things went well.
But even so, a lot of work. I'm properly anesthetized for the Holidays.
Merry Christmas (hohoho and all that jazz)!