Wednesday, March 2, 2016

February Fat Frenzy!

It’s been a FAT BIKE FRENZY!!!.  So much has happened in what feels like so little time.  We took the shortest month of the year (even with the leap!) and managed to fill nearly every waking moment with something exciting and memorable.  I’ve raced 5 incredibly awesome events in 4 weeks.  Then, we decided it was totally normal and possible to buy a freaking house right smack in the middle of it.  It’s been a wild ride trying to fit in all the travel, training, racing, packing, unpacking, shopping, pinteresting, decorating, working, Frostbiking, partying, and caring for sick cats (they are better now!) – all in no particular order.  This is our life.  We wouldn’t want it any other way.  Buying a house was a pretty special deal for us – it felt like we had been rebuilding and saving forever.  I still pinch myself when I turn the keys…I mean we have actual neighbors and stuff.

I’ll remember this month of racing for a long time.  It was incredible to see feel the results of to me what feels like many years of dedicated training all coming together.  Thanks Matt! Historically a season like this would cause me to come apart at the seams. I’ve matured a lot as a racer taking things much less seriously – smiling more – and reminding myself that cycling is my passion (not my job!) and that I’m lucky I am to be able to do what I love weekend after weekend.   I am again behind on blogging, but I do think each of these races deserves in own special recognition – because after all, this is my favorite season of the year.  So here are the highlights of what seemed like the fastest February ever.

Iron Line Fat Bike Race:
We all know I love cats – but the truth is…I love dogs too.  I wrote about this awesome adventure of a race getting to share the trail and event with sled dog teams on 45NRTH Chronicles page.  It was a riot and a fun post to write. The best part – racing in a long sleeve t-shirt and then hanging out afterwards in the sun!!  I was reminded of the great community of fat bike racers and how fun it is to see all my friends as we travel to destinations across the Midwest.  I was inspired to keep on traveling. This races wins “Best Surprise” of the year.

Photo Credit: Jenny Scott
Cuyuna Lakes Whiteout:
I love Cuyuna, and the mountain bike mecca that this town has built.  They put together an awesome new race course with enough rad singletrack to make just about anyone happy.  It was warm and the riding conditions were mint – that almost never happens.  Plus there was free Red Bull and tons of 45NRTH swag to raffle off!  This race wins “Biggest sufferfest start” of the year as Hollywood Jay set a roaring pace that had me dropped and chasing a wheel for a torturous 2 mile roll out. I loved my Dillinger 4 studs on this day as well as the killer “up-north” bar party!

Photo Credit: I think Danielle's Phone
Penn Cycle Fat Tire Loppet:
We hosted 5 people in our tiny apartment the night before – it was awesomely crowded – and then we got to treat them to Hoagies, our neighborhood greasy spoon.  We were all grateful for the late start.  and being the 2nd race in 2 days I expected this one to hurt…but not nearly as bad as it did. OUCH! Penn put on a first class event and they had a big turn out!  I had a great start, but then suffered badly, like what I’d imagine a road race breakaway feels like.  Pam was hot on my wheel for most of the race – did I mention how bad this hurt? This race wins “Happiest to see the finish line” for this year.  
Photo Credit: Matthew  Pastick
Tom waving to his mom...priceless.
Photo Credit: Tom's sister Michele

Fatbike Frozen Forty:
BRR!  Seems they jinxed this race when they put the word “Frozen” in the name.  It is always the coldest and the longest race of the year.  It’s also the most humbling and really the only race that provides a long enough time for us all to experience the rollercoaster that is endurance racing. I think it’s also the most satisfying of races to complete.  It’s far from easy. I raced in my Wolfgars for the first time and gleamed with joy that I had warm toes for 4.5 hours!  It was beautiful.  Elm Creek is the best groomed trail there is – and I love that course like a sister.  This is also the race where Kurt at 45NRTH broke out the polar bear fur! This race wins “Best Snow Beard” of the year! 
photo credit: Matthew Pastick
906 Polar Roll:
Marquette.  I adore this town and all of its beauty and simplicity – and because it’s always treated me well.  45NRTH kicked off the weekend with its RideDuluth video and then Saturday we were all treated to a very tough race – one that forced  us to dig deep and decide what we were made of.  Soft snow isn’t necessarily my forte as I prefer to stand on the pedals and smash. Over the first 10 miles I traded places with Danielle(who has much more finesse) and we couldn’t stop laughing with all the crashing that was going on.  I think I crashed my bike more than 30 times this race!!  My abs were blasted from trying to balance on the trails and from laughing so hard Saturday night that I thought my ribs might explode!! This race wins a double for “biggest crashfest” and “best after-party.” I think I’m still recovering from that epicness :)

Photo Credit Hilary Dolan
Last weekend was finally some sleeping in and finishing up some moving stuff.  Plus I got to check out Frostbike and  practice my grooming skills in the 45NRTH booth.

Check out that sweet photo above me of Elm Creek master groomer C.J. Smith!
Plus I finally got to meet Jim from Onyx for the first time!  What a great guy!  It's been so awesome to ride their hubs this season and I'm excited to hear that they have something pretty rad up their sleeves! Frostbike also taught me how massive my quads look when they are larger than life.
All-City makes some great bikes, and I’m stoked to be representing their Macho King in this photo.  This steel stallion will be my bike of choice for the upcoming Dirty Kanza 200.

Next on tap is the Grand Finale, AKA the Fat Bike Birkie....see you all on the trail!


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