Sunday, March 1, 2015

Mac5 Winter Fat Tire Festival

Today I raced at the Mac5 Winter Fat Tire Festival in the Open race.  After my test lap yesterday, I could only hope the trail would be more solid and more rideable.

The Open race was the second race, so I showed up after the first race was just about over.  I was pleasantly surprised by a painting in the snow of a guy on a uni.  Ha ha... hey that's me!  How much more welcoming could they be?  It looks like he's wheel-walking. Nice!

The word around the starting line was that the trail was getting rather chewed up as more riders rode it.  Ugh.  My hope was that the fat tires of the first race would have solidified it more, but the opposite had happened.  Oh well.  I was paid and ready to go, so it was what it was.

Somehow I misplaced my sunglasses before the start but decided I could ride without them and the race was soon underway.  Like in my test ride, some parts were rideable and some were nearly impossible.  All of it was difficult.  When I did get a good section of riding, it wouldn't be long before some deep soft snow or a rut the width of my tire would trip me up.  The extra effort to get through the snow meant my heart rate was near its limit and when the going got even tougher, the odds of riding were against me.  I walked a lot.  Maybe even as much as 50%?  I'd feel bad about that but at any point during the race I could look around and see many bikers walking too.  Mounting was harder too.

The snow was too soft in places, too rutted, and riders walking on the trail just compounded the problem.  The trail grooming for this kind of race hasn't quite been perfected yet.  Still, it was certainly a good time and I appreciate the huge effort that Trail Methods and others put into it!

Thanks to and for taking photos during the race.

I was glad to have some good riding near the start and finish so people could see I wasn't just pushing my uni around the course.  Unfortunately since the trail was actually worse than yesterday, my lap time was slower and I could only fit two in.  But I got out, got a good workout, saw some mountain bike friends, impressed some people, and got a consolation prize of a balaclava which I'm sure I'll use.  My missing sunglasses never turned up.  Bummer.

I think this kind of winter race is a lot of work for organizers and riders, but it's a lot of fun too.  If the trail grooming could be improved we'd add even more to the fun.
Thanks again to Trail Methods and Mac5 Bikes for putting this together.

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