Went to the prerace meeting last night. Lance Andre, and Matt Maxwell put on an amazing seminar about surviving overnight winter races. Packing butter and peanut butter for high calorie fuel, and taking along a small stove to melt ice and snow for water, among many other factors. These guys know their stuff with multiple experiences in all the big winter races, like Arrow Head, Susitna, Tuscobia, and on and on. Lance is now headed this year for Idititrod, which is invitational only, and 350 miles of extreme winter bicycling in Alaska.
So Birgit and I chatted around a bit, and had a few beers and a few pieces of pizza all in a good crowd.
Ok now for today. Triple D race. Last night at the Prerace meeting Lance made the comment that he didn't think a 'FatTire' was going to win the race. He said the snow is hard enough packed that a skinnie tire, a.k.a. Mountain Bike would probably travel faster. So a last minute decision was made by me last night to switch bikes from the FatBack to the Trek Hard Tail. I stayed up until midnight getting the needed bike parts on the HardTail and tuned.
In the morning before the race, I checked the outside temp and it was 9 F. I placed chemical warmers on my water bottles and placed two insulated sleeves over each one. I put a can of pop in my back bag and planned on drinking that first before it froze. I dressed in multiple layers of wool and a wind breaker. I packed Pop Tarts and fruity bars, and even a Lil Debbie. I had duel sets of batteries for my front headlight and two blinkie lights for the rear. The route was 68 miles and with the snow, to finish, I would need to finish in the dark.
The race started on time, and we rode a non competitive pace out of town through city streets. Soon the trail changed, we were now on snow mobile trails, through wooded areas, corn fields, over creeks, winding hills, and sharp corners. Places the snow mobiles have a lot of fun on. The FatTire bikes ruled here, the snow was soft. I found myself pushing the bike up most hills, the 2.3 tires would spin out in the deeper snow. I was starting to sweat and removed my gloves, hat, and wind breakers. Only to put them all back on after a long downhill section. The ride was challenging staying on the bike. I had one goal to get to Heritage Trail. There the trail was frozen hard, and level, my lighter bike would travel well in those conditions.
I was skipping gears on hard grinds, and my derailleur was sticking. I thought must be getting frosted and ice bound. Some of the hills were killers, I was on the last climb of the route, then shIT happened. My pedal spun around fast and the bike stopped. I thought my chain rolled off my front gear. I looked down and I knew it was over. My chain snapped. This is a non supported race so there was no repair or replacement going to happen.
The housing on the chain cracked, I was on a flat out stall on a steep hill pushing hard not wanting to stall out. When you stop on a hill with loose snow, your done, you have to walk the whole hill to get back in the pedals again. Not sure how to avoid this type of failure in the future. Will move up a notch in chain quality if nothing else.
I called Traci who was handling SAG, and told her I was out of the race, and would hunt down one of my boys for a ride. I was out in a farm field, I could see a road and started walking to it. Some riders were walking by that were behind me, here we have Grace and John, who are a lot of fun and this is their third year in Triple D. John is a veteran Iron Man competitor. They make neat movies of previous Triple D's. Grace was also interviewed by the local newspaper for the same article I am supposed to be in, but I am wondering when it is going to be in the newspaper. I thought maybe today. I thought wrong.
They saw me walking the course backwards and said they were not going to allow me to quit. Then they saw my broken chain hanging off my crossbar and knew, like I knew, it was over.
Thank you for visiting.