Fat Bike Birkie 2016

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I had actually planned to write about the entire weekend in one post but then realized there was not that much time in a day for me to do it so I’ll summarize today and then go back and talk about the race and the riding in depth later.

The weekend was the best. Maybe the one best visit up there in years. I had a great time. I left early Thursday and by 1pm was on the trails. Between the race and the riding I got in almost 50 miles! Thursday I checked in to the hotel and headed out to the OO trail head. From there you can either do Seeley Pass to the north or Makwa to the south. I did both!

After a nice dinner at The Angry Minnow I went to bed a waited for the others to get up here. Overnite three others arrived and on Friday morn we headed over to Cable to preride and check out the Birkie conditions.

On Friday the Birkie conditions were amazing. Rock solid. Like pavement. You didn’t even leave a tire print hard. If this was the way it was going to be it would have been the fastest race to date. These conditions were faster than in summer.

Really, you dont need to pre ride a lot as its the Birkie trail and its so wide and up and down. Just a couple of miles is all you need to get a feel of the snow. And besides…  some snow was on the way later in the day so we were sure it was not going to be the same as it was right then but man I wished it would be.

So after less then an hour we headed back and went to do some trail riding which is kinda the real reason I come to the area.

We headed to the “Forrest” trails right out of downtown Seeley. We park by the Sawmill Saloon and its only a 100 yard ride to the trailhead. The trails start in the Uhernholdt Forest and head over to the Seeley ski trail cluster and shares some of the ski trail to get from section to section.

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Uhernholdt Forest

The entire trail is machine groomed and is pretty much the most technical snow trails in the area. Some pretty good climbs and some downhills too. Some fast downs and some slow and very technical. After about half way thru we decided to pull the plug and get back to save our self’s for the race tomorrow.

And thats when we got kinda lost trying to figure out the way back

Using my master tracking skills I measured the sun and figured out which way to go (really a lucky guess) and we got out of there with about a hour and a half and not too tired.

After heading back to the hotel to get cleaned up we went back to Cable to pick up out number plates and race stuff. My sponsored pro rider Mike R also entered the crit races for Friday afternoon. So we when to watch that also at the same time.

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And low and behold he pulls off the victory. SBC on the top spot of the Friday podium.

After making fun and heckling him the entire way we again heading back into Hayward for some food. About 10 of us enjoyed some good pizza before turning in for the nite. Plans were to get up around 6ish and head over to the race about 730ish.

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snow Friday late aft.

But the conditions for the race in the morning was changing fast. A quick dump of 3 to 4 inches of snow late Friday had the trails in way different shape and we just were not going to see it until the morning.

So that brings us to Saturday morning. Up early. Having a nice breakfast in the hotel with others. I cant believe how many people were kitted up already at 6am. The race wasn’t until 9. I just relaxed with a few others and had some waffles. People were pacing. Just way too worked up over a bike race. It looked like they were not having a good time. After my waffles and coffee I took my time getting dressed.

Took off and heading to Cable,WI and did have a few minutes of looking for parking but not too bad. I actually got some street parking just two blocks away. Everyone knew the snow changed the course conditions but no one knew by how much as there was a two mile road lead out before you got to the Birkie trail. I guess we will all find out when we get there.

Without going in too much detail, which I will do tomorrow, I had a great race. At least great on my standards. I didn’t finish last and I didn’t hurt myself so there’s that. I went pretty hard a couple of times and finished strong. Passing at least 5 or 6 riders in the last mile or so. Passed a guy 10 feet from the line. Found out that he was actually in my age class too. I kinda felt weird about sprinting in for 144th overall but I was racing another in my age class so it was all good. A somewhat uneventful race in a good way. Nothing bad happened.

I have a simple 3 point criteria for a good race. 1) dont fall down( and I didn’t even unclip but once on a icy hill). 2) Dont finish last in my age group. ( I didn’t.) 3) Pass somebody, anybody near the end of the race (I passed 5 or 6 on the road back to the finish line)

I covered all three points and thus in conclusion consider the race a success.

I’ll stop here for today. Detail tomorrow.

DLD

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