Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Hidden Beauty

The beauty of the forest in Elk River at Hillside Park on Sunday was stunning.  With 4 inches of fresh snow fallen(ing), it was proverbial winter wonderland

Most of us racing Fatbike Fest (the original Fat Bike XC Intergalactic Championship) don't remember any of that beauty.  The first lap was an exercise in the art of frustration - pushing, falling, frozen pedals.
I got away early on the trail that had a few tracks.   

When those tracks ended, the suck began.  I couldn't see the 8-12" wide trail and not being on the trail meant a dab followed by walking followed by trying to remount w/ iced up pedals.  After a bit, I decided to sit up and share the load w/ the ~5 guys chasing.  It was quite nice being 3-4 wheel kind of like sitting in an armchair=)  
We still hiked for more than 1/2 that first lap.  At that point, the course flattened out so I hopped on, spent a minute pounding my cleats free (on my pedals) and rode away.  Once I got riding I just put my head down.  There was still plenty of hike a bike on the last lap, but much less than the first lap. 
I rode home alone in just over 3 hours...this course on a normal rideable day takes 1.5 hours.
The finishers, only 1/2 of the starters in the "advanced 2-lap" class all looked like ghosts, as no one had enough food or drink on board for 3 hours of XC level intensity. 
I really wanted to quit, but the only thing I hate worse than running in the snow with my bike is quitting!  I quit a race once ever, and I still think about that sour memory often.

Finally, equipment you ask?  My "too skinny" 65mm rims worked great.  I was running the same pressure as everyone else at 3-4 PSI.  Oh, and Nates are king in the snow.  No question.

All the pics are from Chris Gibbs.  He did a wonderful job capturing the event.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good job! In a hard race like that, you don't have to think about the final goal - instead focus on the small steps you are achieving. That's what I do every time I'm in a
bike race and it works great!