Thursday, August 16, 2012

Fat 1, Fat 2, Fat 3, GO!

The Swanson Race happened this past Saturday. I wasn't planning to participate in it. Wixon asked me Friday night before the race, I said my legs were still a little tired from the ride to Manawa and my feet were sore from riding the 27 miles in my Sanuks. Yeah yeah, want a little whine?

(lots of pics below and scroll down for the video of Chris falling, also the Keg Pull video)

Getting ready for the go

eh, might as well take some pictures.

And then we were off!

But when I found out that there would be more than just Chris entering the fat race (big Mike was doing photography), I became a 70% maybe. Sorry Chris, but I know you can kick my butt out there on the trail so just you and I would be no fun. Although that would be a guaranteed podium!!!

Never thought anyone would race in these! Surly Black Floyds

Turns out that EIGHT of us showed up for the fatbike category! Woohoo! We had day of registration, it was cheaper for us, and we got to race two laps. That was a surprise to me. I figured that we would be up with the Cat 3 in terms of length of race. More power to us. And best of all, we had a keg sand pull. My race tag was F3. How cool is that?

Traffic jam number 1

Time to dismount and walk

Was I nervous for this race? Absolutely not. Last time I raced was two years ago, back when Todd was still in Cat 3 open and just doing a race or two here and there. Then he did a year's worth of Cat 3, moved up to Cat 2, and you know the rest. Wonderboy who podiums on his entry level Trek back in the day. Anyway, back to me. I was nervous when I raced at Manawa, Tranquility, time trials at Jewell and Lewis and Clark. But for some reason, knowing that the fat race wasn't counting for points, we were on fat bikes, and that I would be taking it a little easier somehow helped to ease the nerves.

Time to air down and have some real fun!

It was definitely the most fatties that I've seen at one time. And by fatties, I mean fat bikes. Come on now. We had Jorge's Moonie, Surly Pugsleys left and right, my Muk, and Christians 9Zero7. As for tires, we had Larry's, Endos, Husker Dus, and even some Black Floyds! Maybe that's how he was so fast! There were steel fatties and aluminum fatties and a carbon fork. Only thing missing was Blaine's Ti Muk.

Swanson trail conditions were great. Not dusty at all with the rain that fell during the week. There was a new addition to the trail, but I'll get to that later. We were suppose to start after the Cat 3 men took off. So we all lined up behind them. Then, right before go time, he changed it so that we would go at the same time. What? Not that I was super serious about racing. Heck, I had my camera out and was taking a pic five seconds before the go signal, and I had my GoPro going also. Yeah, that's how serious I was about this race. I was out to have fun!. Anyway, everyone took off. The smart fatbikers took off fast and raced past the slower Cat 3 folk. Most of us were already situated in the back so we just went with the flow. It seemed alright at first, but then the slower Cat 3 folk were riding really slow. I was tempted to pass many times, but I knew there were two laps, and I could see a whole line of people. Would it be advantageous to pass? I'm usually the one getting passed, so this was all new to me! Kind of like driving on a two lane highway. You pass one semi only to find out there is a whole row of cars in front

Then came some of the more steeper rooty sections. Ones that I knew that I could make on the fatty. Yeah. The ride came to a screeching halt and as people were dismounting to "walk" their bikes up. Uggh. Oh well. It is what it is. And any race is going to be like that. Then came the crashes.

Crash number one that happened in front of me occured when Chris went to pass me, then attempt to pass Eric. As documented in the video. It happened so fast, luckily there was no rolling over of a fatty by a fatty. Then another biker crashed in that same video segment towards the end. So I made my move and gained two spots. Third fall: I followed a guy around the fire station area and came up to the new log crossing of monumental height type of thing. Wow that thing was new to me. Same to the guy in front of me. He goes over, I go over, people are taking pics. He goes down and up comes to the narrow set of trees. Yes, everyone knows what I'm talking about. Especially the guy in front of me who clipped it and went down. I swerved quickly to the right to avoid the trees and the guy on the ground. Started to go right and saw a log on the ground! Holy crap, no way that I would have time to go over that, unless I was going to endo over that. So I quickly cut back and went between the log and the tree that the guy clipped. Probably about a foot or two of room at the most. Then I saw Jorge fly be me on the left. He avoided the guy on the ground and gained a spot! Then he took off as I tried to figure out what the heck just happened. Finally, I heard Jorge fall at one of the jumps, then I passed him while asking if he was okay. Talking to him later, I think he said he was showboating for the cameras and bit it. Crazy, four falls in one lap! I managed to stay upright all throughout the race.

Crash video, two go down in it!

Swanson Race! People falling! from Misterlime on Vimeo.

Keg Pull Video, from the back seat POV:

Keg Pull on a Salsa Mukluk from Misterlime on Vimeo.

As you can see, it was all smiles by us fat bikers.

Second lap was better, no traffic at all. Like riding the trail on your own on a Sunday afternoon. But the problem with that, just like a time trial race is that you have no gauge of time or standings. I passed a guy or two but that was it. Never saw another fat biker except Chris who passed me on the straightaway. But I could still see him throughout the rest of the second lap. Turns out that he would podium and I would be finish one minute behind Christian for 5th place. Ahh, not so bad. Like I said, I was there to have fun and to support the fat bike race. If nobody showed up, then it was be a FAT chance that they would allow us to do it again.

Sean took a break from the mic and gave it a try

The keg pull happened in the sand volleyball pit. We strapped a backback on our back that had a rope tied to an empty keg. Goal? Get as far as you could. But during our trial runs, we found out that it was possibly to get to the end. Then I made it all the way back. Yes, during practice. Might as well time a complete run. Just my luck, during my actual run I couldn't make it! My foot goes down and I lost all momentum. Try to start back up while in the sand. Nope. It was embarassing! Mike was hoping I would fall for the paparazzi. Maybe I should have...

Winners of the Keg Pull

Great race everyone. Thanks to Psycowpath, the sponsors, Sean for letting us race in a separate division, Mike for providing the props, the photographers, THOR for getting the trail ready, Dave P for being chef, to Todd and Cody for getting me to race, anybody else who helped,  and for all of the fat bikers who showed up. Hopefully with your guys' support another race will happen. Always talk of a fat bike casual ride, scavenger hunt, or whatever.  We'll make it happen sooner or later.
Congrats to Jack for winning 1st in his age group

Photo by the Kenoyers

Photo by the Kenoyers. Thanks for being there to take pics!

Be sure to check out NE Fat bikes on Facebook for more links to photos and videos.
Also a cool video by Mike McColgan at
photos by Mike McColgan at!i=2022342418&k=MHDmGGD
Photos by Emilie K at
and photos by Tom Winfield at

No comments:

Post a Comment