Posted for Dan Lockery and the Actif Epica Trail Crew:
“AERecon Ride #5 Report – February 12, 2017
For the final recon ride we chose a section of trail that would represent some of the varied trail conditions that participants may encounter on event day. That meant a trip back to St. Malo and we headed South along the route to the Senkiw Suspension Bridge.
The temperature was warm to start, around -8C (~18F) with a steady wind from the West. The forecast high was calling for above freezing later in the day.
We met up in St. Malo at the checkpoint (and starting location for the classic route), with four riders and one course marking official (thanks Dallas!). Road conditions leading into/out of St. Malo were wet, but much less icy than our previous warm weather ride when it had rained.
The first dirt road section heading away from St. Malo was passable with wider tires but saw the MTB’s struggling and walking on occasion. When we reached the highway crossing we compared notes and decided to split up. The MTB’s detoured to the suspension bridge so they could hike in and check things out. The rest of us continued on through the trail sections where conditions were near perfect to begin with. The trail has been well used by sleds and we made fast progress until arriving at the fenced off section that had not seen any sled traffic in some time. We were walking through there in mixed snow depths until arriving on gravel at the other end.
After passing through Senkiw, the gated trail is walking-only down to the bridge with soft and deep snow conditions due to shelter from the trees and minimal deer traffic. Once past the field, things improve closer to the bridge. Turning back and by the time we met up for coffee/lunch, icicles and snow were melting as the day heated up.
Since then, we have been out along the Southern end of the route and had a look at some of the fields. Mud has started to poke through the snow in places and with warmer weather on its way later in the week we might be riding/running the edges of the trail to avoid getting bogged down in our “Manitoba-Mud” on any dirt sections (the mud won’t let go without a fight, we advise you avoid it if possible!).
Thanks again to all that were able to join us for the recon rides this season. We had a great time getting to know and ride with you over the past few months. To those traveling to get here, have a safe trip. We look forward to seeing you all on Friday at gear-check and the pre-race meeting!”