The Fat Turkey
After three months of away from racing, I am trying to remember how to prep. Step one, gather clothes and food. Step two, figure out what tire pressure to run when it’s -10 degrees Celsius. It’s my daughter Sarah’s first fat-bike race, so we spend a couple of evenings riding circles in the deep snow around our neighbourhood.
We get up uber early Saturday morning and pick up our teammate – it’s his first fat race, too. Off to Turkey Point. The roads are a mess with the second dump of snow in two days, but we still arrive early.
The trails at Turkey Point are amazing. The Turkey Point Mountain Bike Club have done a fantastic job of creating awesome trails, including a route through the Kiln Winery. I discovered the venue this past fall, and riding here in the snow is equally fun. In week coming up to the race, Substance’s Dan Marshall and others worked tirelessly to pack down the course, but the night before another five inches of fresh snow got added.
We do a short warmup around the vineyard and say hi to Dan who’s snowshoeing along the trails, pulling a tire behind him to pack the trail.
At the start of the race, within about 30 feet off the start line, riders funnel into a single line because of the snow. The first 1.5 km of the course is well-packed from pre-riding. Then we’re on the road heading toward the start of the single track. This is where the fun begins: four or five inches of fresh snow, rideable. Hard work for those leading, easier for those behind. And that’s the way it is through the tight single track for the Marathon riders for the next 20 km.
With about 8 km to go, we reconnect with the Half Marathon course, which is now packed down perfectly thanks to that category’s 30 or so riders. With the change in work effort, suddenly the Marathon field opens up. Then we’re back on the road, speeding towards the winery.
I finish in just under 2 hours 40 minutes, taking fourth place in my category. Very happy with my finish, given the conditions, the level of competition, and the amount of snow my wheels picked up with all my trailblazing work up front!
Sarah enjoyed a great race as well in the Half Marathon and had a blast.
Thanks to Dan Marshall for all of the amazing hard work and to all of the volunteers and sponsors: Cycle Solutions, Fat Bikes Canada, Ryders, Blue Elephant Brewery, Ridefatbikes.ca, 45North, Skratch Labs, and Burning Kiln Winery. And thanks to Cyclepath Oakville for the support!
Next up: Fat #2 on January 7th in Kingston. Check out substance projects for all the details.
Photo credit Jeff Shikaze