Me, rocking it tripod style. Watch that front wheel bounce out of the hole.
Posted Dec. 1, 2004
Snow slalom - on bikes!

Training should expose you to crazy conditions and make you smile. Our latest exercise accomplishes both.

All you need is a pack of landscape flags and a north-facing sled hill. Go out there while the kids are in school. Set up a slalom course. Ride it until the corners wear in. Move the flags. Repeat.

The way I see it, if you can turn on ice and snow and slush, then dirt -- any dirt -- will seem easy. It's all about expanding that training bubble.

What to expect
Forget about precision and control. Snow slalom is all about sloppiness and surrender. The sketch factor depends on the snow conditions. Cold, granular snow is fast and somewhat grippy. Slush is slow and random. Ice is death. For the first run expect a slip-sliding sketch fest. If you follow your line the second run will be easier. After a few more runs, the ruts will get you swapping like a '70s swinger. Either loosen up and take the abuse, or move those crazy flags.

Steve Wentz strikes that essential weight-forward pose.
Tips
Tires: Spiked tires would hook like crazy, but that defeats the purpose. We've banned spikes because -- let's face it -- the worse the traction, the better the training.

Cornering: Weight the front end and let your rear end slide around. As long as your front tire tracks, you're golden.

Choose your lines: Since exit speed is more important than entrance speed, don't dive straight at the flags. Stay high and go for a late apex. If you want to exit the last corner well, start by setting up the first corner.

We like 'em tight at the top and wide at the bottom.
Layout: Slow, tight courses are great practice, but fast, wide-open courses are more fun.

Kick it up: If the sledders left snow kickers, work them into your courses. Nothing builds champions as much as an icy jump to flat slush then a 90-degree snowy rut.

Pedals: Run flats. Are you a tough guy? Then keep your feet up (until you crash).

Steve readies his chain for first tracks. This guy broke his spine three months ago.
Clothes: You want slippery and non-absorbent. A nylon jogging suit is perfect. Go monochrome or go home.

Step up the fun: Time your runs or, if you have a crew, set up a dual slalom and race two-up. You'll be amazed at how much faster you go when you take smart lines and minimize the sliding.

Rip it up! You're Hod, the Norse God of winter!

Our spot: Tantra Park, just south of Tantra Park Circle in Boulder, CO.
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