Video: Christina Chappetta's Ridiculous Winter Solstice Ride

Jan 12, 2021 at 17:21
by Pinkbike Originals  


With one crazy solstice ride under her belt for 2020, Christina decided to add another one to the list. This time on the shortest day of the year. It's not the longest or highest ride but that doesn't make it any less ridiculous.








129 Comments

  • 47 2
 "Not unusual to see this many dumb dudes signing up for something like this... but it is uncommon to see this many smart women" LOL
Been awesome to see so many more women out for the dumb rides in recent years!
  • 38 2
 Before Northwest Arkansas became what it is now with the huge boom of trails and popularity of riding, the MTB scene mainly consisted of this sort of pointless, underground suffer fest that no one else really knew you did except for those who shared in the pain. I love where the sport is now, but I also sort of miss those days.
  • 4 0
 come to Squamish I would say there is 1 a week with different groups.. that or just get a Groad bike and do some races, cause their basically underground suffer fests
  • 2 0
 @Squamishboz: our gravel scene definitely still has that vibe! And there are still pockets of it happening in MTB, it’s just the sport has boomed so much that it doesn’t have the same small, subculture feel of weirdos doing weird things (even though there are still weirdos doing weird things, that’s not the majority... but I’d argue it is the core).
  • 24 1
 Almost 9 hours of riding in Valleycliff? Ouch. That's a special kind of torture.
  • 16 1
 hahaha YES!!! You feel the pain!
  • 13 1
 sometimes I'm like "Man I'm out of shape"...
watching this I'm like "Maybe I never was in shape ever?"
  • 7 0
 It's a state of mind sometimes...as proven here. That was the biggest ride I've done in months! And it took all day, but was possible.
  • 3 0
 @christinachappetta: awesome effort and good to watch. Impressed by the level of organisation re clothes - I normally just get soaked and hungry. Change of clothes...good idea.
  • 1 0
 @nukedchipp: Got so drenched, decided it wasn't even worth changing haha the ticket this day was to never stop moving for too long
  • 1 0
 @christinachappetta: you're proving @preach's point, if he's like me, you do 8+ hour XC rides never! =D
  • 17 10
 Here in the Northeast the local "trail police" would hang you for riding in any sort of wet conditions like that. I'm curious how that varies region by region... if it's just an uptight Northeast thing or if it exists to some extent everywhere.
  • 56 1
 A lot of that has to do with soil composition and how it responds to being ridden while wet. So yes, it varies from region to region. The PNW is much more like a lot of England in the level of loam and the amount of rainfall they get. If you didn't ride in wet conditions, you wouldn't get to ride much. But their soil also handles it better than other areas.

The "don't ride wet trails" definitely isn't just an uptight Northeast thing. It's pretty common sentiment in a lot of other areas as well (Northwest Arkansas). Though ours is more of a "if you're leaving tracks, turn back" because some of our trails can handle moisture and wet riding while others can't.
  • 10 0
 Depends on the dirt. BC dirt holds up much better in the rain compared to most other places due to the soil content.
  • 6 1
 That’s why we don’t remove leaves from the trail in the winter. A lot less mud.
  • 13 0
 Once it’s possible again i hope you can come try riding in the rainforest. On well bedded in trails it’s prime. Most visitors from afar come in the dusty months, which is both the worse riding and the most damaging to the trails IMO. When the forest here is soaked it’s nourished. When it hasn’t rained in a month and hot it’s simply crumbling apart. *delicate = new trails, so try to avoid them in the rain/wettest tread conditions
  • 6 1
 The soils in the northeast handle water pretty poorly, its more of a what trail surfaces can handle kind of thing. Also, trail construction methods rely much more on armoring in rainforests of the PNW than in the northeast since the trails are built to be ridden in the wet. If you want trails that would be rideable in the wet in the Northeast, effectively the entire trail would have to be a hard surface.
  • 2 0
 @vtracer: head south a state or two. Still in New England and able to usually ride 45+ weeks of the year on trails. Just have to know your zones and be willing to ride in colder temps.
  • 5 0
 Lots of Florida XC trails are sandy and benefit greatly from a good rain. However, the technical and man made stuff with clay and dirt closes when it's wet.
  • 2 0
 @DHhack: I used to go down to Mass where there was a little more dirt riding in the winter. Here in VT we'll probably be lucky if we're riding again by May. I don't mind riding in colder temps but most of the trails (that I know of) are fat bike only once the snow hits and the trails start being groomed.
  • 9 1
 @Hogfly: "if you're leaving tracks, turn back", I like that one. The other factor is when it dries how solid is the soil. If any tracks or ruts left become a permanent feature of the trail until the next rain, obviously no wet riding. It might be an oversimplification, but generally, the more clay content the soil has the less likely it can/should be ridden wet.
  • 9 0
 The soil in the PNW is better than New England. That being said, I've seen pictures of PNW trails that wouldn't pass "low impact" land manager inspections.

If you want all weather trails in New England, learn this word: aggregation. Typically that involves sharp edged (crushed) rocks, along with natural binders, but can include a lot of sands if the underlying soil doesn't drain well. You states' DOT aggregate handbook should give you the % mixes for different conditions. Course base mix is usually a good start. To find the existing soil type and its % make-up on the triaxial, use the Web Soil Survey: websoilsurvey.sc.egov.usda.gov Typically, your aggregation mix would contain the opposite of the triaxial of existing soils. Put the aggregation mix down on the trail just like you do with capping, but do it in the fall so the freeze-thaw cycle/spring rain works it into the underlying soil.
  • 3 2
 @kcy4130: yeah. For our soil, if you’re leaving tracks, those are going to remain as dried ruts once things dry out. It seems like in the PNW they can rut it up, and the ruts kind self-repair.
  • 1 1
 @goldfly: CT here. Fat bike groomed trails just create ice paths that we have to wait a week to melt. Luckily they have fallen out of fashion.
  • 1 3
 @CycleKrieg: if you’re building a bike path maybe. Just ride rocky natural trails built with a little common sense...
  • 8 0
 I've lived in ridden most of life in either the Front Range of Colorado or Bellingham where I live now, and the wet trail stance is vastly different in each. In Colorado wet trails would basically be peanut butter and ruts would dry and harden, radically affecting the trail surface and leading to public shaming. Here in the PNW its completely different. Most trail surfaces drain well and ruts are rare, as are dry days in between that might harden them. It seems to come down to how readily the local dirt is absorbed by water. in Colorado its akin to flour and water while up here its more sand/organics and water, which is obvious when you're out as water on the trails is much clearer.
  • 18 0
 In the UK if you ride on days the trails are dry then you only ride once a year (the other dry day is when we go to the beach with a billion other people to get sunburnt).
  • 3 0
 @DHhack: This assumes your location has usable rock. New England tends to be rocky, so that helps. But not every place has that.

Capping or aggregation is used where there is exposed soil. It gets worked into the soil below, its not the same as bike path where its chip limestone at 6-10" of depth. Its 3-4" typically at application and by the end of the first season is almost entirely worked into the trail surface. Capping can be put down anytime as its almost always mineral soil but aggregation works best in the fall.
  • 4 0
 *visibly confused in Welsh*
  • 7 2
 @bigtim: Yeah, all our trails are battered at the moment and fun as hell for it. They need a bit of maintenance once in a while, but that gets done. Seems like another excuse for people to enjoy telling other people what they can and can't do.
  • 2 0
 I wish people would stop riding some trails in the wet, especially in the Surrey Hills. I'm talking when it's reaallly wet, like now.
  • 2 0
 @DHhack: Even fist-sized rocks can be hard to come by on lot of trails near me in Oregon. Roots on the other hand...
  • 1 0
 @goldfly Pittsburgh area trail police are insane. Can't even post about group rides without people complaining. Pittsburgh mountain bike scene suffers at the hands of land management. Everyone wants to help but the city and planning make it next to impossible. Go check out the comments on "Crater/Humpular" in Frick Park on Trailforks. They make it sound like some of the most extreme riding you can do. It's so bad, they make it a point to remove log-overs or any obstacle on trails that aren't "designed" and "planned" to be placed there. Kickers are destroyed when found. Etc. I'm moving away soon.
  • 1 0
 @pmhobson: it’s cool living in an area where rocks were dumped by receding glaciers.
  • 11 0
 Lucky for us, a few of the crew are trail builders and spent time improving this trail before we rode it and after. It's in a "special part" of town that can usually be ridden year round and it's super popular with motos so in this case..no biggie. For sure different conditions and types of dirt/trails will call for different approaches.
  • 23 1
 Geologist here. It definitely varies by region due to soil composition. The American NE is a very old landscape, what I mean by that is it's essentially the last traces of an ancient mountain range that was once around the same elevation as the Himalayas are today. This has a few implications for mountain biking, but one is the rock types that existed deep within ancient mountains have mineral composition rich in flat mineral grains, which han be more self-cohesive than the angular mineral grains found in the 'younger' mountains of the West. In addition, the landscape has had millions of years to weather leaving soils very clay rich. Clay clumps and consolidates, therefore riding over it when wet will leave a deep mark that stays as is when the trail dries back up. In other landscape settings, while you can create a rut when wet, when the soil dries back out the grains loose their ability to cohere to each other and gravity helps cover up any ruts/marks left from riders in the wet. In other very wet areas, like England or the PNW, soils are very organic rich (loam) and are kinda always moist which is a different situation.


So yea, people in the NE can be dicks about the wet trail thing. But it is true that riding wet, clayey trails will leave semi-permenent marks/damage. Especially in the winter if it dips below freezing turning your rut into a hardened unpleasent bump. That said, find trails with sandy soils (they exist in the NE) and you can feel free to ride those in the wet.
  • 1 0
 @DHhack: Yeah, I'm jealous of the change in terrain/soil composition you get by going just a couple of hours north from where I am
  • 1 0
 Here in the Vegas area it is, of course, very dry. When you go 200+ days between rain fall it makes for dry, dusty, and loose trails. Some rainfall here can make the dirt amazingly grippy and lots more fun, but if it puddles stay away. Those ruts will be there forever. Once they dry back out they will just be rock hard ruts. SO, to answer your question, yes there is a fair amount of "trail policing" in the Las Vegas valley. That being said, it is warranted, because otherwise the trails just get destroyed. The extra traffic this pandemic has created is already wreaking havoc on local trails. Entire miles of desert single track now look like side walks. I understand the argument for line choice, but features that shouldn't have ride arounds do...all of them.
  • 1 0
 A function of how well armored the trails are, no?
  • 1 0
 Back in Santa Cruz folks would definitely scowl at you for riding in the rain, with good reason. Definitely thrashed our trails.

Where I live now in The Springs (Colorado), rain or post-rain is almost the only time you'll not be trawling through kitty litter. Post snow is actually quite nice as well.
  • 2 3
 Lol.

Moved up here to VT last January from CT. Used to ride frequently year round down there. The trail police up here are about as bad as the mask police.

I’ve had a couple instances where I recorded a hike as a bike ride on Strava, and thanks to Trailforks linking automatically, had people messaging me giving me a piece of their mind.

Trails are made to be ridden.
  • 1 0
 Owen has more than likely already gone back and fixed any damage.. He's that kind of guy, Crushes on the bike and quietly builds and maintains trails... .
  • 2 0
 @DHhack: i can second that, even in the netherlands we have that Smile
  • 1 0
 Oh man! I love it post rain here is AZ, the crushed granite/sand becomes velcro to your tires with no environmental impacts.
  • 1 0
 @Hogfly: glad you said that. We wouldn't get to ride at all otherwise!!
  • 2 0
 @ream720: WA State has awesome trail access and plenty of tech and aerospace industry for work. Come on over. Football team on the other hand, not much better, this year at least.
  • 10 1
 Why the same lap over and over again?
  • 13 2
 Why not?

But in all honesty, it probably allowed people to drop in and out as they were able and made it a more social affair. Also meant that you could leave your supplies at the bottom of the lap and not have to lug all the stuff you'd need for that kind of long day in the saddle if you were doing a single loop or a point to point.
  • 6 0
 It was the best riding to be had in late December with a mellower yet efficient climb trail. The bottom stash point was nice for the lack of carry all day.
  • 4 1
 Have you never ridden Dirt Merchant b2b2b? You'll understand after.
  • 5 0
 hahaha right?!?! I guess that was the mental part of the challenge. I enjoyed it, something I've never done before.
  • 4 0
 @owenbfoster: Thanks for the GREAT idea!!!
  • 1 0
 shortest day=lap the shortest lap in town (again and again and again) sad I missed it.. @owenbfoster whats the summer solstice plan this year. Count me in!
  • 2 0
 @christinachappetta:

Hey Christina digging your content .
I notice you have a Marzocchi Bomber fork on your new bike . Why ? And how are you liking it .
  • 1 0
 @Rosemount: she's sponsored by marzocchi
  • 1 0
 @Rosemount: Can't speak for her, but mine is great. Once I got the amount of tokens right, it was good to go. You just don't have to worry about it. It flat out works.
  • 1 0
 That was going to be my question. Were the other trails closed. I get the challenge but with so many great trails why repeat the same short lap time after time
  • 8 1
 Good times! I’m stoked that everyone that came out had more fun than expected. That’s the best.
  • 4 0
 I love stuff like this! Had a similar day earlier this year with some friends to send off a local's favorite trail that was getting closed down. Half-way through the day we started tailgating at the bottom and then my buddy brought out his e-bike to tow us to the top. It really doesn't get better than weird days on the bike with friends
  • 6 0
 Truth. I went on a ride this weekend with my son and a bunch of groms. I was intent on nailing an entire 20 mile loop in a specific way. They ended up cutting through all kinds of neighborhood roads, sessioning stuff, cutting out parts of the loop, adding in other parts of the system, and basically just having a chaotic 5 hours of randomly pedaling trails before ending back where we started. It was very unorganized, which is kind of the opposite of how I normally approach my rides, but really fun.
  • 4 0
 @Hogfly: Kids teach me so much! Especially how to have fun on the bike which is why they're always sending it!
  • 3 0
 Awesome ride Christina!! I recently "convinced" my oldest son to tackle our first ever mtb century ride. It was a mixture of everything since we wanted the fun factor to be high. After the first 5 hours, our chamois told us this was going to be a ride just to survive sort of thing. We did 101 miles in 9:30 hours. Did about 6500 feet elevation. It took about a month to fully recover! Can't wait to do it again! (Okay, I can wait... but still would like to eventually do again). Peace.
  • 3 1
 I think Squamtom looks absolutely beautiful in the wet. Add a bit of snow . Magic! Yes those trails can handle wet riding as plenty of it is granite. ohhhh Pumkin orange bike! Luvin the colors!
The best thing about the shortest day of the year? Every day after is longer.
  • 4 0
 "The best thing about the shortest day of the year? Every day after is longer."

Feeling this so much right now.
  • 2 0
 nice video christina! love the joy that sparkles from it, despite the not so instagrammable conditions, hehe. great to see a group of weirdo's doing just the thing they are stoked on. but well prepared and full commitment Smile ride on!
  • 1 0
 All the trails near to Bristol are thrashed to pieces in the winter. Especially so at the moment cos covid. If we had more trails and more dry time maybe we would be less inclined to wreck them. But to be clear there is no special mud in UK, we just ride our trails right into the ground.
  • 3 0
 Mission accomplished. I'm inspired to come down to Squamish for some winter laps. Could be better than the current ski conditions!
  • 3 0
 Glad to see I’m not the only one who starts mumbling incoherently in the woods when there’s nobody around during a climb.
  • 5 1
 Awesome riding, those are some gnarly trails!
  • 4 1
 Cold, wet rides....Excuse me fellow pinkbikers while I go and turn the heating up several degrees.
  • 3 0
 The kind of ride that requires at least an hour under a blanket to thaw from hah!
  • 2 2
 Hey Pinkbike, send Christina or one of the Mikes or better yet all 3 here to Utah for the spring or fall version of this ride. March and September are prime desert riding. I will gladly sign up for those shenanigans. I may only see them at the start, finish and each time they lap me, but I am still in.
  • 1 0
 If I do a ride like this, I will be in bed with a mega migraine for 2 days afterwards. Not sure what it is but gets triggered when I completely empty myself on a ride. Anyone else have this? Any tips?
  • 4 0
 for me, it's my salt intake. i need to 1) consciously consume electrolytes during the ride and 2) not just blindly chug plain water all day the next day while consuming very little salt in my food.

eat some potato chips and a candy bar after the ride for good measure
  • 3 0
 Like pmhobson said: salt. I'll add that sometimes table salt isn't enough, rock salt or sea salt, which is more than just sodium chloride, can help with trace elements.
  • 1 0
 my helmet is the culprit I eat salt and tons of water
  • 1 0
 Happens to me too, but only in the summer, so I suspect it’s electrolyte / heat related.
  • 1 0
 Yep, getting that too now, didn't used to. Got an MRI recently and it may be from my sinuses, everything else looked okay. Have to take it easy on midweek evening rides or I'm worthless at work the next day. Have wondered if the helmet contributed but I don't wear it on uphills.
  • 1 0
 Interesting to see that some of you suffer from this as well. This happens to me when I go too hard, to the point where I have to be mindful of what I have on the next day (work etc). Similar to what’s been posted, I agree that’s it mainly due to a loss of electrolytes and I’ve been getting better about my recovery routine ie ensuring that I consume food with salt as well as carbs immediately after a ride.
  • 4 0
 Have you always been on a coil rear shock? @christinachappetta
  • 1 0
 Nope, just put it on earlier this fall. Big fan, especially in the colder temps.
  • 2 0
 this is honestly what MTB is about, i havent had a full ride day since my XC days, i will have to organize one for this summer, thanks for the inspiration Cristina.
  • 1 0
 Always happy when my silly adventures inspire others :-) Thanks!!
  • 6 5
 @christinachappetta What is the blue sticker on your top tube? I am a fan of esoteric ephemera and generally pointless details. Cheers, L'chaim!
  • 2 0
 Looks like a Shimano Sticker.
  • 1 0
 I think it says make up mark or something.
  • 2 0
 Was wondering the same thing
  • 1 0
 It's a Shimano sticker.
  • 2 0
 @ridingrascal: Make your mark
  • 3 0
 Confirmed.. Shimano sticker haha hard to see with all the mud
  • 1 0
 @Cmolway: autocorrect got me.
  • 6 3
 She would be a blast to ride with.... or just hang with.
  • 3 0
 Thank you!
  • 3 0
 That's a very large PB&J. I like your style!!
  • 3 0
 What model of sports watch are you using? @christinachappetta
  • 1 0
 Garmin Fenix 6s, on the smaller side which is comfy for riding.
  • 2 0
 Such a fan of winter riding
  • 2 0
 I'm a huge fan of riding on those cold clear days. None of my trails would be ridable if it was this wet, so I'd just be on the trainer.
  • 2 0
 Kudos for a loop di loop kind of rainy day.... looked awesome
  • 1 3
 Did she even wear half that stuff?

Even in the dead of northern WA winter, I wore what I brang, I generlaly a "winter kit" with an extra base layer, ear warmers, legs warmers, and an extra set of gloves (wh bnring three sets of gloves??).

Better to be prepared, but damn, that's a lot of junk and weight/bulk.

Maybe all that stuff was for the advertisers?
  • 1 0
 West coast winter soaks you to the bone, wool everything and lots of spares. Temperature is relatively mild. Desert cold is a whole different enchilada.
  • 2 0
 Good stuff Christina. How’s that Marzocchi set up holding up?
  • 2 0
 Pretty fab! Coil shock did amazing that day, too!
  • 4 3
 I don't understand what's impressive with this. Seems like a normal XC ride.
  • 4 1
 Pipe down Nino.
  • 3 0
 Perhaps..but there is no such thing as a "normal xc ride in the pissing rain and 3 degrees on a 1.5km long technical purely single track loop through muddy ruts" around here hahaha Hard to get my pals out for those rides.
  • 2 0
 After all that and only one beer in post race meal.?
  • 1 0
 For sure low numbers for me hahah I had to drive back to Whistler later on and a ride that big...beer gores straight to the head lol
  • 2 0
 Ya! Good work Christina! Love this
  • 2 0
 Thanks Rafe!!!!! Hope you're well homie 3
  • 2 0
 I said it before and I'll say it again. We need more Christina content
  • 1 0
 "He loves to see people hurt but he also loves to have a good time"

I'm not sure what to think of Owen right now...
  • 1 0
 Stub your toe while I get
the hoola hoop?
  • 1 0
 Good job Christina...dreaming of rainy rides and mud rather than snowy trails im riding now.
  • 1 0
 I really liked the music in this one, especially the songs from the first few laps! Anyone know the source?
  • 1 0
 Kind of hamster in a wheel thing to me.
  • 1 0
 what kind of watch is that ?
  • 1 0
 I have the Garmin Fenix 6s watch. It's nice and small to ride with and all the info! Battery lasts for days too which is helpful for the big rides
  • 1 0
 Eh O!!
  • 1 0
 O Eh??
  • 1 0
 Eh Der bud!
  • 1 1
 Really pleased to see the waterproof socks and not battery heated socks.
  • 1 0
 100% had my heated insoles this day hahah AND waterproof socks so the feet were cozy!
  • 1 0
 @christinachappetta: thats double toasty!
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