Monday, January 23, 2017
This year, conditions were not cooperating. They had a good base and some well packed trails until a little over a week before race day and then things went to shit. First, a bunch of warm weather and rain and then, a few days before the race they got several inches of fresh powder. A course re-design was in order. some quick regiggering and they had a course that seemed like it would hold up. Fingers crossed...
Race day. I got there uber early so that I could hopefully do a full loop to see what conditions would be like and to set tire pressures. Unfortunately, because of the course change, I couldn't figure out where to go or what direction so, instead, I rode as much course as I could in the direction I thought we would be going. I was happy to see that, while the conditions were tricky, it seemed like almost everything was rideable but there would definitely be some running involved.
Somewhere in the opening few miles, Brian bobbled in the single track and I was able to slip by. That was shortly followed by a long-ish snowmo trail climb. Sadly, of the three of us, I'm the worst climber so Ryan slipped by me and entered the second half of the single track in 3rd. The second half of the course had some seriously dicey downhill S.T. but finished with some super firm track in an evergreen forest that put a smile on your face.
When we entered lap 2, we hit a section of S.T. that was skipped in the first lap so that the field could spread out. Thank god we did. With temps in the mid-30's this section was already tough to ride even before 100 fat bikes had been over it. This would become the section with the most running.
The rest of lap two and three saw us jokey back and forth between 3rd and 4th. considering how hard the conditions were getting (slushy ice ruts and literal single tire width wide tracks to ride in many areas) we were somehow having fun. Unfortunately, we hadn't seen 1st or 2nd in a while so we knew we were fighting for the last podium position.
Last lap. Ryan was leading me but I took over 3rd in one of the running sections. At this point, remounting your bike was a gamble unless you knew that you could stay on for more than a couple of minutes so I made a strategic decision to run ALMOST EVERYTHING until we got to the firmer sections. No gambles, just head down suffering. The strategery worked and by the time I got to the snowmo climb, Ryan was nowhere in sight so, after another 15-ish minutes of single leg butt pucker downhills, I rolled across the line in 3rd. Mike Rowell took the win with Gareth in second. Finally a Moosebrook podium.
Bikeman.com and Kona Bikes for the
awesome gear and support.