Monday, December 21, 2015

Solstice Chase 2015

Did you all know that 45 freaking amazing women finished the Solstice Chase this past weekend??!! That's 20% of TOTAL FINISHERS!!! It was seriously fantastic and I could not stop smiling my entire warm up because I just kept seeing so many MORE WOMEN!! 20% might not sound like a lot of women, but trust's a lot!

We did NOT have snow on Saturday but we did have some chilly (smack you in the face) air which caused us to bundle all the way up so it kinda sorta felt like winter.   As most of you know I’d been looking forward to the Solstice Chase since  forever… and Saturday was everything I could have hoped for and more! 45NRTH even proved that you don't need snow to have an Igloo!!!

This year we were again treated to a sweet pre and post-race experience in a barn complete with romantic lights, beer and pizza!   There were over twice as many fat bikers as last year nearly selling out he race at 300 racers!  It’s really incredible to me the growth this sport has seen over the past few years.  I remember back in 2012 lining up at races with maybe 20 other crazy people.  Good news though…crazy is contagious! 
Photo Credit: Matthew Pastick
Saturday's race proved to be one of the most competitive yet for women with a majorly stacked field (AWESOME!).  I knew it was going to be fast and competitive from the get go so I had prepared myself to suffer badly.  The first 15 minutes hurt crazy bad and about 10 minutes in I lost contact with Jenna’s group (pretty much the front group of dudes!) however I was also realizing that I had pretty good legs.  Days like that don’t happen often so…carpe diem!   About 25 minutes into the race I got into a good rhythm with about 6 or 7 guys.   It’s funny racing so bundled up….because I didn’t even recognize some of these guys I was riding with until the race was over!
Photo Credit: Solstice Chase
The course was hilly, bumpy and fast in parts with some really rad descents and sharp 90 degree turns at the bottom!  Braap!!!  As much as I was sad about the lack of snow,  I was enjoying the speed of the dirt and also was impressed by how well marked the course was (CAUTION!)!!!  Most of the race I focused on riding steady and staying with my group of dudes NO MATTER WHAT! 

The final massive climb tore my group apart and I quickly realized that I had chosen the perfect SRAM XX1 gearing for the race (32T up front).  I pushed through the pain and was happy to descend my way thorugh the finish as 2nd female and 17th overall!

Photo Credit: Matthew Pastick

Huge thanks to my CTS coach Matt  for nailing the training leading into this race.  Hilly courses are normally a challenge for me, but thanks to a handful of agony intervals I felt like a hill beist on Saturday!  Huge congrats to Jenna for the win! (your power is impressive!) and big YEH! to Danielle for creating a podium that she coined as a 45NRTH sandwich.  Jeff Hall took home the men’s win and Adam from HED nabbed the 2nd stump!  AND way to go 45NRTH Kurt on 2nd in the 21K!!!  The list could go on forever!   Great job to all of you racers out there….many of which was your first fat bike race ever!! YOU are all a bunch of beists!
Photo Credit: Solstice Chase

Monday, December 14, 2015

45NRTH & Blackrocks Winter Kick-Off Party

Hey Everybody!!!  Guess what?!?! It’s fat bike season!!! Today I’m recovering from an incredible weekend up in Marquette, MI taking part in the 45NRTH & Blackrocks Winter Kick-Off Party!  (That’s right….it’s winter!!! Just without the snow!)  If you’ve been following my blog for a while you know by now that Marquette is one of my favorite places in the entire world and this weekend sure did not disappoint. 

45NRTH & Blackrocks put together one heck of a weekend full of group rides, UP Snowcross racing and a killer party at the Blackrocks Cannery.   The more and more I race my bike the more I fall in love with this fat bike community.  I get so much energy from seeing everyone’s excitement on these bikes that today I’m nearly pinching myself that I get to do this for another 3 full months!

Dolan and I made the trek up there Thursday after work arriving just before midnight.  Most of Friday was spent dorking around like goons and taking some sweet team photos (which was a challenge without snow!).  We got a killer night ride in…where I may or may not have rocked a tripod down a super sketchy rooty downhill.  

45NRTH Scott found some snow!

Bad ass endurance racer Tracey Petervary inspired me to finally learn how to ride a wheelie…..Braapp!!  I’m only two pedal strokes in…but it’s progress towards  my dream of one day rocking a finish line wheelie!

That's Tracey on the a boss!
And of course when the 45NRTH team gets together there is always bound to also be some  a lot of shenanigans… like dinosaurs, wearing your Wolvhammers to the brewery (totally normal!)

These boots are sooo HOT!
and being challenged to eat a cookie off the floor with just your face. Yeah... THAT happened.

Saturday was the big day – the Winter Kickoff Party!!!  Which meant we got to enjoy riding a couple of hours on some sweet UP Singletrack which included the longest, rootiest ( is that even a word? should be!) climb I’ve ever seen.  I couldn’t believe how awesome the ride was on my new HED Big Deals! I swear these wheels just turn themselves. 
Laced with sweet Onyx Hubs!
AND THEN Saturday night we got to smash ourselves for 60 full minutes at the UP SnowCross race!!  Holy hard!!!  I had a blast racing with good friends and being scared by random people in the woods with fake chainsaws!  What a riot on a sweet course that even had a snow pit! 12 laps of fat bike bliss.
Photo Credit: 45NRTH

Photo Credit: 45NRTH
Afterwards 45NRTH and Blackrocks treated us to an amazing post-race party that helped raise money for the local trails!  There was great beer, great music, and even a TACO TRUCK!! 

45NRTH Kurt!  AKA - Bunny BEIST!
Talk about a perfect kick off to the season.  I’m really looking forward to returning to Marquette in February for the 906 Polar Roll.   However,  first on tap is the Solstice Chase this weekend.   Looks like we’ll be lacking snow, but we certainly won't be be lacking fun.  Hope to see you BEISTS on Saturday!