Next on the docket was the Fatbike Frozen Forty in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis/St. Paul. It's one of the older fat bike races with this being it's 5th year. In the past I've headed up to Actif Epica in Canada this weekend or maybe the social race of Book Across the Bay or maybe even escaped to Alaska for the Sustina 100. This year though I committed to the FFF.
It was a bit chilly for the start of the race, around -8 or so, but being on single track and in the woods with the sun coming up and temps forecasted to rise it wasn't much to get too concerned about. Also, being that it was 4 laps/40 miles or so, although plenty of time to frostbite any body part not protected, a lot less time than compared to the Ultra races of Tuscobia and Arrowhead.
The RD had setup a warming tent and with the parking lot close to the start line, keeping warm before the race wasn't an issue so more clothes than necessary worn at the start wasn't a problem.
I did a little pre-ride and was very glad I decided to put on studded tires earlier in the week. We had been getting some thaws now and then lately and with the lack of new snow I felt studs sure wouldn't hurt. Plus, I wanted to try out the Dillinger 5 tires so off with the Ground Controls and on with the studded D5's.
I had bought the D 5's without the factory studs and instead went with Grip Studs, a company in Oregon. These can be inserted and removed plus they are a tougher, tungsten-carbide vs. just carbide and more aggressive than the 45 NRTH factory studs.
Based on the pre-ride, I decided to add some air to the rear.....I opened the valve and then got the floor pump out of the jeep. By the time I started pumping, the rear tire was completely flat....the valve must had been held open by some ice??
At the Start with buddy Mark Seaburg....the Boys in Blue.
Photo Credit Hannah Hoglund Photography.
I'm very glad I had studs on!
The rollout was designed to spread the field out some and it did, but it just seems some people sprint on the road just knowing full well they aren't as fast, comparatively, in the single-track. But, I guess instead of complaining, I should just sprint out as well....but then, I'd be That Guy or Gal, as the case maybe.
Scott Cole and I got behind a string and got further behind when a biker in front of us went off course and we followed, along with a few others, so the few bikes we were able to pass ended up in front of use again. That's what you get for following!!!
Random race photos by Hannah Hoglund.
Each lap was 11 miles plus and it was in really good shape if not icy in a number of areas. Mostly the corners, of course, where all of the snow gets pushed off. Yes, there was some ice at times, ok, quite a bit of times, but hey! it's winter riding.
Scott was in front of me without studs and he was feeling the need to unclip a lot and keep a leg out on many corners while I just pedaled on through. I thought if he had to do that for 40 miles it was going to be a long day for him.
One guy spun out on an uphill and he and his bike got spread across the trail. Scott went around him and I followed, never spinning or sliding a bit.
As we came through the start/finish to head out for the 2nd lap Scott took off. He's a much stronger biker than me!
About half way through the 2nd lap I had passed a couple riders but couldn't pull away from them. It seemed I was slowing down based on the effort. The back tire was starting to drift just a little in the corners as well. I figured it might be low on air so I pulled over to confirm. It was low so I pulled out my pump and started filling it. The 2 riders passed me and I gave the pump another 30-45 seconds and jumped back on.
It felt better and I repassed the 2 riders.
When I got to the start/finish line I rolled over to my jeep and got out the floor pump and gave it a good fill. I also pulled out a Red Bull I had in my frame bag and drank the 1/2 that wasn't frozen, stuffed the can back in the bag and took off.
With the full tire, some Red Bull in and a short rest, I felt good and fast on the trail. The 3rd lap went great but the tire was still losing some air. As I came through the transition area for the 4th lap I asked if there was a floor pump available to avoid going to my jeep and there was. So I filled up some and took off in time to catch a rider that passed me while pumping before we hit the single track.
I maybe lost 5 minutes total airing and maybe some actual race time while pedaling but it's all part of the race.
The issue was that before the race I decided to put in some air and the valve would not seat. Somewhat a rookie mistake....don't mess with things right before the start.
The tire hasn't lost air since it was able to warm up on the ride home and dry out the valve (I travel with the bike inside my jeep.)
Another race with age divisions, so was able to still win the DD (Dinosaur Division) 60 plus category.
Photo credit Hannah Hoglund.