Sunday, January 15, 2012

Farmers Fat Bike Race

Fat is in! Yup, you heard it here first, fat is in! In case you don't know what I'm talking about, it's 3.8 inches of fat tire fun! The fatter the tire, the bigger the smile.
My first race of 2012 was on a set of fat tires, along with 75 others on fat tires at the Farmers Fat Tire Race in Grand Rapids. The weather has been pretty mild for this time of year. Barely any measurable snow and mild temps. But the preceeding 36 hours of the race the snow came down and we had a good 6-8 inches of fresh powder to make this a true winter race.
The Duo team riders got to go first when the gun went off, a couple of minutes later, all us solo riders were allowed to hit the course. With this being only my second ride on the Pugsley and the first in snow, I had no idea what to expect. The start was uneventful as everyone found their place in line. Most of the course had one solid lane thru the snow and if you felt adventureous you could go onto the lane that wasn't proven and go for a pass. As some of the slower duo-team racing traffic was caught, this was an option you had to exercise or stay in the conga line and take a little rest, which wasn't a bad idea either.
As the race went on and the traffic spread out, you could pretty much run your own race. There was one run up that some folks managed to ride, but every time I hit it, there was traffic, so I never did get a chance to try it. About the 9th lap I was pretty happy that I hadn't wiped out yet, but that would soon change and what's funny, I didn't see it coming and I was on the floor before I knew what happened, good thing there was a lot of freash snow to soften the landing!
I managed to keep the pace going, but when I stopped to get my third and final bottle at around 2:20 (race being over at 3:00) I heard some of the race "officials" shout out it was the last lap. Which didn't really register until I came in the next time around and all the racers were being ushered off the course. So at the 2:37 mark of the race, it was over. I managed 11 laps and 9th place. With the race ending a 1/2 hour sooner than I anticapted, my strategy didn't help my placing but in the end, I had a blast! I got to see some of my "Fat" friends and race in the snow!

Go ride!