Lori not only wrote her first blog post, she did her first fat bike race! And guess what? She crushes it. Read more:
In 2014, I wanted to enter the WinterBike at Copper race but my husband ended up in the ER that day (all is good). So it was on the agenda for 2015 especially since it was moved out 1 weekend which happened to be my birthday weekend – all activities revolved around me!
We snowboarded in the morning to ensure we had some time outside in case the bike race didn’t happen. We arrived at Copper ~3pm to demo bikes and see if any bikes were available for the race. All the bikes for the race were spoken for…except 1 guy loosely mentioned he might have another bike. It was a soft offer…I told him I brought my 29er hardtail and would see how it worked but his offer was my backup. I tried my bike out around the plaza at the same time that he returned from biking to his car and said ‘you can use my bike’…both knowing the conditions would be extremely challenging for my bike. I didn’t realize the soft offer was for his rig but I quickly accepted as I could probably finish on my bike but it would have been really tough. I asked his name and offered my bike, driver’s license or credit card as collateral but he declined all – I ask if he would take a picture with me & he sent me off with a good luck…& was probably happy I stopped asking him so many questions : )
My recap of events up to the start line…I arrive, don’t have a bike, find a bike, randomly register and get to the start line. OMG, I’m so excited – this is going to be a blast!
My husband’s recap, you…rode a fat bike on Monday to confirm you could actually ride one & face planted, somehow score a guy’s very expensive REEB, have not trained, have no food plan especially given you snowboarded this morning, have not realized the bike is a 1×11, are biking in your 15 year old hiking boots, have never been to Copper Mtn, have not pre-ridden the course, you’re wearing a hydration pack w/o insulation – do you realize or even care that it will freeze, have no idea what clothes to wear, don’t know how much the race is, yes you’re welcome I have cash to pay the entry fee as they will not take your credit card, don’t know the start time, you thought the race was 10 miles but they just announced it is 15, it is dark outside and you are the most excited person here!
Great, we’re on common ground…I am the most excited person here! Time to race…
I lined up by 2 ladies (1 who is sweet and introduces herself…oh, I feel like I’m at a CX race) that are talking about the pre-ride. Pre-ride?! I’m just happy to be here – I’ll figure the rest out later. And we are off! It is slow out of the gate, opens up shortly after and I was in awe that I was actually making a few passes. A handful of people are already going down and immediately my mantra for the remainder of the race is ‘don’t crash this guy’s bike!’ I have to walk near the top of the first big hill – ouch, I think I’m riding a 1×11. The first descent was huge (~23% based on other’s strava). I gave 2 riders high marks for their head first slides down the descent. I paused to let the carnage move along and I bomb it. This REEB is solid – lovin’ it! I cruised through the back portion of the race (redlined) and back to the steep hill which gave me trouble in my bald hiking boots. I entered the village, spot John, woohoo having a blast (still redlined). The next big climb didn’t give me riding trouble but I was overheating. I stopped to take a layer off but was caught up in my head-lamp cord that was wrapped around my now frozen hydration pack – screw it, put it all back on. Down the backside and I realize I was finishing lap 1. Yippee, not bad – I can do another one of those! Lap 2 I decided not to ride the big descent as racers were hiking up 3 abreast eliminating a few outs if needed and I was now more concerned with not piling up the sweet bike I was riding. The rest of the lap was filled was ups, downs, skids, slides and a huge smile on my face the entire time. I crossed the finish line – ecstatic! The excitement was a bundle of emotions…I finished, did not crash, had an amazing time, the bike was awesome, when is the next race, I need a fat bike, how will I carry this new bike on my car, so many things to think about…how about I start with a beer!
It was the first time in my life that I left a race before checking results but I needed food desperately. 9/25 women, 97/171 overall. All things (that my husband actually) considered, I was more than impressed and found yet another bike discipline that I love. I highly recommend giving it a try and let me know if you are as I might join you…I’m known to do things last minute : )
Many thanks to Brian from Cycles of Life in Leadville for loaning me his bike and making my first fat bike race an amazing experience!