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.
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!?
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!
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. :-)