Monday, March 6, 2017

Fatbike to the Clouds

 Ride up Mount Washington, sounds like a great idea...
The Goal (at least as far as they let us go)
 Actually it sounded like a good challenge and something you just don't get to do everyday.  The weather was brutally cold and windy but could have been so much worse.  Take away the wind and it was a cloudless day with temps rising into the 20s, not bad.
Typical winter conditions at the top (Wind a steady 55mph with a 24hour gust of 114mph)
Standing around before the race was the coldest part.  I ditched the second jacket just before the start.
I mentioned it to Barney and he was all over it!
The skiers started first followed by the snowshoers and then the fatbikers.  I assumed that the fatbikers would be the fastest group and that the start was a strange order.  But I was wrong.
The starters full of anticipation
As usual I started off very conservatively, mid pack.  If I do this again I think I'll push a little harder from the start to avoid getting stuck behind dozens of riders.
Still doing good after the fun rolling flat part, time to head UP.
This was the last flat ground we would see until the end of the race.  The next 4ish miles were at an average 12% grade with some sustained 16% spots.  It was time to find a rhythm and grind. I'm generally a good climber and passed about a dozen riders in the first mile.  2-3 passed me back and then the placing didn't change much for the rest of the ride.  My back was aching by the second mile.  Standing to pedal wasn't possible in the steeper sections but gave a little break at some of the lower grades.  Luckily the wind was at our backs for most of the climb and really helped to push us up the hill.  Despite the sub zero windchill I was overheating for most of the race.  Frostbite was not an issue with the heat I was throwing off.  The finish line came a little sooner than expected but I was OK with that.  I gave a little sprint to the finish to see if they guy ahead of me was still alive.  He was, good job Bob!  You got me by 1 second.  Not even a photo finish.

I climbed 2200' and all I got was this lousy view?
I milled around at the finish for 15 minutes, collected my finishers medal, got a drink, took a picture and headed down. About 500 feet from the finish line I found my friend ready to bring it home!
Still giving the thumbs up!
This picture shows the excellent conditions of the trail.  The trail crew had hauled dozens of dumptruck loads of snow to fill in where mother nature had taken away.  You couldn't ask for better.  Given that the trip down was fast and fun after getting past the people still finishing their race.  I hit a max speed of about 30MPH on the way down which was fast enough on that trail.  There were plenty of people pushing bikes up the last part of the race.  I considered that a few places but managed the whole thing on my bike. 

I was hoping to make the top 50% given how many fatbiking animals there are out there, I didn't expect better.  I managed to squeak into the top 25% with 16th place. Based on nothing I expected my time to be 1 hour.  I came in at 1:01:59 I'll take it. Results

Cheers to the hours of grooming it must have taken to make this possible after the early melt we had this year.