Friday, March 14, 2014

Fat Bike Birkie

I can still remember my first fat bike ride 2 years ago as if it was just yesterday.  I was strolling down Cedar Lake Parkway smiling like a kid on her brand new Big Wheel…and people in cars were stopping and pointing and laughing.  That was just the beginning.  At that time I could have never even imagined the amount of energy, joy and excitement this new winter sport would bring to my life.  Feeling blessed doesn’t cut it.

Photo Credit: Kelly Randolph
This past weekend 500+ Fat Bikes made their way up to Cable, WI for the best Fat Bike race of all time, the Fat Bike Birkie.  This race was so incredible that I’m scared my post here won’t quite give it the justice it deserves.  To say they rolled out the red carpet would be a massive understatement.  EVERYTHING was top notch.  The grooming on the course was like no other grooming I had seen before… it was unscathed and it felt like we were racing on snowy pavement!!  Throughout the 47K course there were a whopping 7!! aid stations, which were all manned by amazing hard working volunteers!  THANK YOU so much!  The start of a the race was equipped with music, an announcer, preferred start call-ups, a neutral snowmobile roll out and even the National Anthem! 

Photo Credit: Kelly Randolph
I can’t stop bragging about it.  The finish line was incredible…lined with people cheering and they were announcing each person’s name as they crossed the finish line. The post-race heated tent was massive (think Chequamegon!) and we were all treated to a free beer and the biggest bratwursts I have ever seen in my entire life!!  To top it all off, American Birkebeiner Association and Freewheel Bike even managed to convince God to turn on the sun and heat!!!   I could not stop smiling.  The post-race party put on my was a real treat and so much fun to share a beer (or more) with many fellow racers!!  These are really just the details…none of this gets even close to explaining the positive energy we all soaked up in one incredible day.  Thank you to all the sponsors, the volunteers, and to all the racers that helped make this one of the best days of my life.

Photo Credit: Todd  Bauer

The Race:
Fat Bike Birkie was named named the US Fat Bike National Championships which meant that it drew an incredible crowd of big name racers from all parts of the country.  Specialized legend Ned Overend made the trip as well as the Queen of Pain, Rebecca Rusch.  A 9Zero7 posse from Alaska rolled into town as well as many of the best male and female racers in the Midwest.  It was a competitor’s dream.   

Due to my placing in some recent races I was able to get a preferred start call up and therefore started right on the back of Hollywood’s wheel.  My start could not have gone better and soon enough I found myself in a pack with the top 10 men…yikes. 

Photo Credit: - Hey NED!!!
That once in a lifetime opportunity quickly dissipated when we took a left hand turn onto the trail and the snowmobile picked up the pace.  This is when the race really started.  The course instantly felt INCREDIBLY HILLY!  The truth is there aren’t many hills in the city…. and I haven’t ridden any of them in a really long time!  My legs and lungs were both totally pissed off and suddenly I went from feeling awesome to feeling really not awesome.  I was soon passed by Diana who was FLYING, and then Amber, and then Sara.  I was hanging on to 4th when my buddy Seth rolled up. Seth and I were able to work together for a portion of the race (okay to be fair Seth probably did a tad more work than my suffering self ).   Together we worked our way up the field and I eventually caught all the way up to Diana.  

Photo Credit: Todd Bauer

Diana and I began sharing the work up front and I was bracing myself for what would eventually be a battle between the two of us for the finish.  Turns out I was wrong as suddenly we were passed by a charging Jenna who was basically mashing her way up the hills in a way I’ve never seen before on a fat bike.  I reacted on instinct and forced myself to keep up.  I managed to stay with her for a brief period of time, but eventually fell off.  It was however enough of an effort to put a gap on Diana thus allowing me to roll into the finish in 2nd place.  What an incredible race!
Diana McFadden, Me, Jenna Rinehart
Photo Credit: Kelly Randolph
Huge congrats to Jenna and Diana on their amazing races. I am also very happy for my good friends Seth, Brendan and Lisa who all raced extremely well! Seth has lost 65 lbs in the last year…. Brendan had his best race to date…. and seeing my fav friend Lisa finish the race strong and with a smile on her face was one of my most rewarding moments of the weekend.   
Thank you Tom for the hand-ups ….and for simply being my rock this winter.   Now it’s time to trade the snow for some dirt.  Until next year friends….thanks for checking in!
GLFBS Podium:  Martha Flynn-Kauth, Jill Martindale, Danielle Musto, Chelsea Strate, Me
Photo Credit: Brent Twin Six

1 comment:

  1. This past weekend 500+ Fat Bikes made their way up to Cable, WI for the best Fat Bike race of all time, the Fat Bike Birkie. This race was so ...