Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Fat Bike Birkie, 2015

3rd year. Good time racing, spending time with Lynn and with friends. From 200 races in year 1 to 400 in year 2 to 850 in year 3. Goal is 5,000?? YIKES!
The trail held up well, until the last 10k where the short race made it's turn to go back. Then there was a single groove in the snow and the rest of the trail was pretty soft.

16th out of 85 in the 50-59 year age bracket. I switch age divisions next year......I was the fastest 59 year old with my time faster than the winner of the 60 and above bracket....a guys gotta have a goal!

 Won some swag.

The Start.
Photo Credit, Fat Bike Birkie.

8.5k into the race, 1st aid station.
Photo credit, Craig Smith.

Double "OO" turn to head back.
Photo credit, Fat Bike Birkie.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Friday, March 6, 2015

Jason's first Fat Bike race. Sweaty Yeti 2015

Exposed grandson to his first fat bike race. The Sweaty Yeti at Levis-Trow.

Jason was watched over by friends while I raced. My original plans was to be on a team to be able to take time off the trail, but at the last minute our team went all solo. Was then planning on just doing a few laps and hanging out with Jason but every time around the 20-25 minute laps, plus we pass the start/finish during the race, so I got to see Jason every 10 minutes or so and as he was doing fine, I went more and more and got deeper into race mode.

After the race we got to try out a kids 24" fat bike a friend brought.

Gotta do s-mores.


Gramps out on the race.
We had matching furry helmets.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Birkie 2015

I signed up in early Fall for the Birkie, before it filled up, but was concerned about skiing at all much less racing with my shoulder/clavical healing. I'd spent a lot of time on the fat bike this winter, 4 ultras in 6 weeks (1-2-25 to 2-14-15) 485 miles....did well I think, placing 3rd, 4th, 15th and 18th place. 
Plus finished 5th at the Badger State Games 21 mile race so that was 506 miles in 6 weeks not counting any training miles. None of these races have age divisions. 
That said I believe only one guy within 10-12 years of my age beat me and he was within 9 years. He did that at the Arrowhead135.  He was 50 and finished 4th.
So, didn't roller ski or snow ski once this fall/winter and decided not to do the birkie but then Doug, my buddy from Appleton, WI contacted me about flying up again so I said yeah, pick me up. Figured it would be a fun flight up and I'd just ski around the lake some until the race was over.....well, the more I thought about it the more I figured they won't want me on the trail so was thinking where to ski late friday night as I drifted off to sleep.

My alarm was set for 5AM to get the Stevens Point airport and I woke up at 4AM thinking, what the heck, go registor and pickup your race bag/bib and just start the race. If the shoulder bothers, pull out, so that's what I did. 
I didn't have my best skis and didn't bother doing a great wax job but just stepped off the plane basically, got dressed and took off...kind of slow and easy for the first few miles feeling things out as Doug and I stuck together, then just started skiing like normal.
The shoulder never bothered me....took me 4:18 but felt that was fine, had a good time and finished feeling good. A little slower than average, but not bad.

This was my 10th Birkie. Conditions were very good as for temps. Snow was a bit soft and deep in a few spots but over all I think it was very good.

 3/4 of the way there. Near my hunting land, Catawba, WI.

Coming in for the landing, Telemark Lodge. Which is just about ready to be razed. 

Loading up after the race.

Lifting up over the now vacant start line. 10,000 skiers started from here.

 Homeward Bound.

Thursday, February 26, 2015


Anyone that has been thinking about a Fat Bike or upgrading, now might be the time to do it.
Ask for Scott and tell him Mark sent you. They ship!
Lots to choose from: Salsa, Surly, 616 and Specialized.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Actif Epica, Winnipeg, Canada

Decided a little late in the season to head to the northern prairie near Winnipeg, Manitoba for my 2nd time at Actif Epica. Back in 2013 was my first trip north.

I was originally planning on joining family and friends for a social xc ski race in northern Wisconsin called Book Across the Bay the same weekend as Actif Epica. BATB has been around for awhile and raises money to benefit local libraries. 3 to 4,000 people show up for this "race" which is really a social event. It runs across the 6 miles of  ice on Chequamegon Bay, part of Lake Superior, from Ashland to Washburn, WI.

Last year that included a Fat Bike race the day/evening before the actual BATB so my plan was to do both the fat bike and xc-ski races.
But, with the lack of snow, a bit of a heat wave before the efent which questioned the quality of the ice and most importantly, no time on the xc skis due to my broken clavical from last summers mtn. bike crash, I decided to do something different.

But, enough about BATB....I went to Canada instead. I figured Lynn would like the venue as well "up Nord" and the folks up there are about as nice as you'll find anywhere.

We pulled into Winnipeg in plenty of time for gear check, the racers meeting and dinner after.
Then we drove over to a friends house where we spent the night with another racer that was in the foot division and the first women who would eventually enter into the Order of the Hrimthurs and into the Realm of Legends, of which I'm currently a member of.

Lynn and I got up and drove to the start the next morning. The race would start south of Winnipeg and wind its way through a few small communities, all of which hosted a checkpoint, before ending at a mall type location in downtown Winnipeg.

I got my bike ready before the race and got to the line ready to go. Conditions were a bit brutal. My jeep said -18F and the wind was out of the NNW at 10-12 mph so that put us in at a windchill of -40F. Add trying to ride around 10 mph into it puts the windchill around -45F pushing -50F at times.
Not a lot for margin of error to avoid frostbite.

About 30 seconds before the start I realized I didn't have my glasses on. But I did remember that I had stuffed an old pair of downhill ski goggles in my seat bag. So after the start at the first road crossing I jumped off the bike and got out the goggles. This put me dead last with the sun on the rise.

Photo credits by Tom Kolesnik.
The Start.

Digging out my goggles, a couple hundred yards down the road.

I jumped back on and headed out across the lake. Last, but working my way up to the front.

Ended up riding most of the day with Dan Lockery from Winnipeg. We also had riding time together at Tuscobia 150 and Arrowhead 135.

Coming into the first checkpoint. I needed to get my wind pants on. With Dan Lockery (left) and Adam Frederiksen (behind) from southern Ontario.
Photo credit  Kim Mitchell

Photo credit Tom Kolesnik.

Modeling cold weather biking gear!?
 Check point duties....eating and stuffing wind pants in gators so they don't get caught in the bike chain.

Dan, Adam and I heading out. We had a pretty good lead on the rest of the pack after the first couple of check points.

Shoving in some calories.

Half way...checking out Dan!
With 15 miles left I started to have a hard time keeping up. Dan and Adam kept up a pace I had to back off from and I finished 3rd.

Dan qualified for a 2nd Order of the Hrimthurs doing Tuscobia, Arrowhead and Actif Epica in one season. I didn't get the 2nd distinction as I got DQ'd for the light infraction at the Tuscobia.

That said, I think I'm the 1st person to complete all 4 of the major Ultras in the Lower 48, adding JayP's Backyard Pursuit to the 3 above. 485 miles...toss in a local 21 miler and that's 506 miles not counting training in 6 weeks.....whether official or not. :-)

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Nevada Riding 2015. Junk? and Petroglyphs

While out in Vegas for 10 days of work for a trade show I got a couple of unexpected days off. I promptly called "The Heathen" whom I had ridden with before.
Dave is Wisconsin native. We met online 8-9 years ago on a mountin bike forum.

Day 1. Cottonwood trails. Blue Diamond, NV.
Fun time in the middle of a cold WI winter.

Viagra, a great downhill run....it's exciting, nuff said.

Dave and Cindy.

Yours Truly and Dave.
Day 2. Trip to the Petroglyphs.

Yucca, the catcus the Native Americans used for many uses, including needle and thread.
Dave collects discarded metals while out on rides and turns them into art. Pretty cool and original work.