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After our last ride in the snow, a few of us were scheming to get back out to play.  We set a plan in motion to make another fat bike assault on Reddish in an effort to go play in the snow over by Flagpole, Meadow Knob, and Pond Knob.  My compadres on this ride were Roland (on his Fatback) and Marshall Hammond (on his Mukluk).  Roland and I had not been out with Marshall on the fat bikes for a while, so this was going to be super fun.  Marshall is my “surrogate” father, and the dude is a stud on the bike.  You know it’s going to be an adventure when he’s along for the ride.
Due to the fact that I tend to have icy cold toes when the temperatures start to drop, I decided to ride my 5.10shoes with a new set of platform pedals that I picked up earlier in the week from Shenandoah BicycleCompany.  I also strapped a pair of insulated NEOS overshoes (from the Sole Source) to the rear rack on my Fatback.  I felt that it would be better to be over-prepared because I had no idea what to expect on the top of the mountain.  Marshall can make fun of my moon boots all he wants.  Have at it.  If they keep my feet warm, I’m down.  
Shameless product placement:  I’m diggin’ the new pedals.

 Marshall stopped by my place in the ‘Burg just before 9.  We picked up Roland on the outskirts of Bridgewater at just about 9:30.  We meandered west towards the mountains via a mixture of pavement and gravel, eager to see what snow remained in the mountains.  We encountered a lot of buggy traffic, as many of the locals were heading to Sunday services.  I was content to know that the three of us, too, were heading out for our Sunday services.
Whoa Nellie!!!  Hotrod Buggy!!!  Talk about horsepower!!!
You can just make out the little guy peeking out of the back window in the buggy on the left.  Fat bikes make everyone smile.
It’s difficult to tell from this picture, but we could easily see that the Reddish Knob/Flagpole Knob area was still blanketed in the white stuff.
As we began our ascent of Reddish, my eyes were constantly scanning the peaks for signs of snow.  The coating that we saw on Tuesday on Wolf Ridge looked almost completely gone.  My thoughts of cruising along on semi-packed ribbons of white were quickly morphing into visions of fat-tire mud bogging.  Either way, I was happy to know that our small posse would have fun, regardless of the conditions up top. 
The ride up to Flagpole was a mixture of wet, slushy snow and mud.  Off-road vehicles and the sun had clearly taken their toll on the snow-covered forest roads that we had seen just days before.  It was pretty easy going, but we were all hoping for more snow to ride on.  We stopped on top of Flagpole Knob for a quick snack and a re-evaluation of our clothing situation.  It was quite a bit cooler up top, as expected.  We were rewarded by a nice view of the Shenandoah Valley and a pretty sweet cloud formation.
Fluffy trail in the sky…
This is when I put on my monster NEOS overshoes.  It appeared that there would be plenty of snow once we hit the singletrack over to Pond Knob, and I was not going to let my feet get cold or wet.  The remainder of the forest road over to Meadow Knob was more of what we had already encountered.  It was a combo deal of slushy snow and mud.
Roland Rollin’
It’s hard to believe that this forest road, nearly devoid of snow, was impassable on our bikes just a few days prior.
When we dipped into the single-track over to Pond Knob, I was happy to have my overshoes.  I neglected to take any pictures, but the snow was pretty deep in spots.  There was much more hike-a-biking than riding going on at this point, and at least one other rider had previously hit the trail in front of us.  They had clearly hiked most of the trail as well.  I’m talking tire tracks next to deep post-holes.  It was fun to intermittently get on our bikes and ride as much of the deep snow as possible, but we were definitely doing much more hiking than riding.
Meadow Knob
Roland: Heading for the trailhead
When we turned onto the final stretch of singletrack, the depth of the snow had diminished to the point that everything was ride-able.  That is, except for where we encountered tree limbs that had been brought down by the weight of the snow from the storm. We thoroughly enjoyed the rest of the descent back towards Hone Quarry.  Roland even managed to slide out a couple of times and was rewarded with a nice memento on one of his knees.  I’m pretty sure that he was trying to create some custom ventilation in his tights.
Roland: pre-religious tights
Marshall: The man, the myth, the legend
Marshall:  Havin’ a blast, as usual.
On the ride back to town, I felt like a weak link.  I took a few turns pulling our fat bike pace line, but Marshall and Roland seemed extra motivated. It must have been in anticipation of post-ride refreshments.  I was content to draft off of their tires.  Roland took some monster pulls before he peeled off in Bridgewater.  Marshall and I dawdled back to the ‘Burg, and we were super pleased to have a nice headwind waiting for us on the final stretch down Rt 42.  It was then that Marshall decided he needed a final pit stop at my place.  It seems that his body is pre-programmed to stop at my place for liquid nourishment at the end of many of our epic rides.  We’re talking about a grand total of somewhere around 50miles for the whole enchilada.  Not bad for a Sunday on the fatties, and we even got to play in the mud and snow.  

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