Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Moose Brook Fatbike Race

OK,I didn't win and that's not surprising since this is the first time I've ever even seen another fatbike in the wild. I've seen a few on the bike shop floor but never out in the world.  Where to start?  OK, it was cold.  The kind of cold where your family and friends tell you that you need your head examined to be out in it.     And it was cold , so cold that doing ANYTHING outside before the race was miserable.
After 1 minute outside before the race.
 But I dressed appropriately, I have to thank my commuter skills for that, and during the race I was anything but cold.  A check of the Mount Washington weather, not far to the south, showed that they had wind chill values in the vicinity of 100 below with gusts over 100mph. so we really had it pretty easy.
You can see I left a place on my forehead for all of the heat to escape my body.

I was out to have fun so I started near the back of the pack.  The race started out almost in slow motion compared to the start of other bike races.

Big Pack of Fat
The event itself was awesome!  The race directors seemed to pull it off without a hitch.  The course was very well marked.  Something I appreciate having wandered off course in the CBBC this summer.  All the volunteers were extremely cheerful for the conditions they were putting up with.  I am SO glad they were able to secure the lodge because doing the before and after stuff would have been pure misery in that cold wind.  The food was great and the wooden raffle tickets/finishers medals were a nice touch.  I also need to give a shout out to my wife, my biggest fan, for braving the cold and taking these pics.

The waiting is the hardest part

 Despite having a fatbike for almost a year I don't know much about fatbiking.  Mostly in the area of tire pressure.  I had recently been experimenting with really low pressure and that felt like trying to peddle around an elephant so before the race I had overcompensated and went with a pretty high pressure for the start of the race.  During the first climb I was feeling pretty smart.  I started near the back of the pack and passed about half of it with my quick rolling setup.

Then we turned onto the singletrack... It was a lot bumpier with lots of solid frozen footprints than I was expecting.  My teeth were chattering and my tires were bouncing off he trail like a basketball at a 3rd grade gym class.  Some of the people I passed were passing me back.  Once back on the flat smooth snowmobile trail I was happy again and was in the passing lane.  Then it was back to the singletrack.  Since I had never ridden the course before I had no idea what the mix was so I was determined to make it a full lap without adjusting my pressure.  I bounced my way around the course nearly bouncing off bridge entries.  It wasn't being much fun.  Once I passed through the start line I knew what I was up against so I decided I'd stop at the top of the second snowmobile trail and bleed out some air.  I probably dropped from a very overinflated 12PSI down to a still slightly overinflated 8PSI.  Once the pressure was adjusted it took what seemed like forever to get my hand back into my sweaty double layer of gloves.  Time was lost.
Finding my place in the back right after the start.

The second lap went better.  The bouncing was quelled some and the course seemed pretty ride-able now.  There were some icy spots and the icy chute of death at the end which I rode once but decided it wasn't worth re-breaking my collar bone during it's healing.

I really could have / should have let some more air out of my tires but experimenting in the middle of a race didn't seem like a great idea so I stuck it out.  I was on the last half of my 3rd lap when the first rider lapped me.  I was both impressed and pissed.  Impressed that he could glide through the bumpy singletrack with what seemed like ease.  Pissed that he could do it so much faster than me.  I was lapped by 3-4 other riders.  Each time I pulled off the trail so they could race their race.
I'm done.

The results: I finished in 2:46:08 / 23rd out of 32 starters and about 47 minutes behind the leader.  Honestly, I didn't think I was being that slow.  A lot of people uploaded it to Strava and as it turns out, I was being that slow.  2014MooseBrookFatBikeRaceCourse

Now for the excuses!  I probably lost 3 minutes adjusting my pressure, 3 minutes going slow enough not to bounce off the trail in the first lap, 5 minutes overall by still running over-inflated tires, 2 minutes by being cautious about my collar bone and another 3 min for not having studs (There was 1 climb that was impossible without them)  So what's that 16 minutes I probably could have made up which would have put me in at 2:30.  Still nowhere near the leaders who are clearly stronger and more skilled than I but not quite as far back as I was.  I can live with that.  Now I'm going to have to put it to the test next year.  I'm hoping it will be warmer, like 10F.

This just in:  I am #88 and show up at briefly at 0:55 and 2:52

No comments:

Post a Comment