Monday, February 6, 2017

Fat Bike Maddness!

Alas, there is a lot of awesomeness (and a bit of sadness) to write about and I finally have some time to do it (which is the best thing ever!)  The blog hiatus shall officially come to an end.

Riding Lake Minnetonka Regional Trail with Tom and Luke - the only time I pulled all ride :) 

We're sitting right smack in the middle of yet another ridiculous fun fat bike season.  I'm literally pinching myself weekend after weekend that I get to call this sport my passion. The events, the community, the smiles and ALL the positive.  This winter sport has been the ultimate joy for me. Although we could use about a foot of snow right now I'm trying to make the best of this warm winter alongside a bunch of other rad folks doing exactly the same thing.  Here's the highlights from the races thus far.

Solstice Chase: If you want to shock the system at the beginning of the fat bike season - ride outside your comfort zone on this initial climb and you'll quickly remember what race pain feels like.  Great opening weekend on some soft snow which made for a few snow angels and a rewarding finish. I got to chase Jenna around on this day and that's always a special treat for me.  I also enjoyed breaking in the 45NRTH Naughtvind kit....seriously the best winter bibs this world has to offer. The highlights of this weekend were the new 45NRTH fires and starting and ending our weekend at the Dalles House. This race wins the "Best Post Race Vibe" award and the rights to "Best Popovers Ever."

Photo credit: Ben Mullin
Norpine Classic: What a great surprise!! Lutsen has always been a great place to race and the Norpine Classic knocked it out of the park on their opening race!  From Friday nights beer tasting all the way to the post race party I'd say this one definitely wins "Best All Around Event." One of my favorite courses ever with some sustained climbs and a fast and drifty course (Braap!)   Even though it was -11 degrees that day and I may or may not have covered my face enough, I had the time of my life!!
Photo Credit: Matthew Pastick

As you may know, our cat Chubbs passed away the Wednesday before this event, and the compassion the racing community shared with both Tom and I on Friday night nearly took our breath away. Thank you so much, that meant the world to us.  I dedicated this race to the cat with the best meow there ever was.

QBP Fat Bike Rennet: Three Rivers Park District stuck it to crabby old man winter and gave us all the opportunity to race under the lights on snow when the rest of MN was half green. It wasn't the firmest of snow, but who's complaining?!?! I was stoked to actually make a smart decision for once about tire pressure (3 psi) and also to only yard sale ONCE in this race!!  Cheers to Solidcore and #abs2017 This race for sure takes the "Overachiever" award and I'm already looking forward to next year!
Photo Credit: Brady Prenzlow
Top Step Love - Apparently riding 0 PSI is actually a thing...just ask Kevin.

Freewheel Fat Thursday Cyclocrit: I was able to sneak out of a work a little early to make it over to Lord Fletchers for their 3rd Crit. The "Most Crazy Technical" race of the season thus far had us riding over docks, through volleyball courts, across the ice and through swampy frozen corn maze like brush!  It was a riot and Tom put the screws to me pretty good (he is getting quite fast these days)! I think this race also wins "Best Tacos Ever" because I'm still dying to have those carnitas again. I was also elated to break in some new matchy HED Wheels!!! complete with Dillinger4 Studs and Onyx "Right Meow" hubs!  ALL THE COLORS!!! So humbled and grateful to represent these amazing local brands.....all led by some really great people!

Yes Coach, I know I should wash my bike more.

45NRTH Cuyuna Lakes Whiteout: Always one of my favorite race weekends of the year filled with an abundance of festivities from start to finish.  We got a late arrival into Crosby on Friday but were welcomed by a house full of all of our favs! Some folks were upset we had to switch to Sagamore, but I love this course, it's fast, it's flowy and requires you to pedal your bike smoothly through the fast, drifty corners. I loved the roll out pace and the fierce chase group competition from Sonia, Tom, Brendan and Chris. It's no doubt that Sonia is one (if not the best) trail riders in the state.  Teach me how to pedal through all the corners too!! Complete with the Cuyuna Lakes Yeti, the recent opening of Red Raven Bike Cafe & Cuyuna Brewing and all race proceeds going to the trails....I'd say this event wins "Biggest Smiles" of the year.
Finding all the laughs with Evan Pre-Race with my main squeeze right on my wheel :)
Photo Credit: Touch the Sky Blue
Photo Credit: Touch the Sky Blue
Photo Credit: 45NRTH David Gabrys
And...can you believe the season is only half over?!?! :)   Looking forward to the coming weeks and praying for snow like crazy.

Huge thanks to 45NRTH, HED, ONYX, Tonka Cycle and Ski, SRAM MTB and Ride iSSi.  You all inspire me to ride fast, and more importantly to always be the best possible version of myself.

The amazing Nick Milton...thank you Tonka for always finding a way.

Beyond bikes...

Saying a very sad goodbye to our beloved cat Chubbs in midst of all this fun was the hardest, most gut wrenching thing we've done as a married couple. We find peace knowing she had a great life, yet we all still miss her like crazy.

We also snuck  away for the weekend to visit our friends John and Sara on Marco Island....where we saw freaking wild dolphins!!!

And lastly we finished our first DIY house project (a new Vinyl floor!) which left me sore and walking like a Grandma for days. Thanks Chubbs for forcing the issue :) We're pretty proud and so grateful for all the help from our friend Jeff.

I now plan to dedicate this week to chilling, and sleeping, and enjoying the accomplishment of a major milestone at work.  Oh and giving Vito ALL the attention. Life seems to just keep getting better and better.  Or at least that's how we like to believe it.

Until next time....keep the smiles up and the wings spread wide!