Check out the facebook page here.

Check out the facebook page here. It's got more pics, links and ways to waste your time.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Dec 21st, Fatbike Demo and fun race, full details!

So, here are the final details for this Sunday,

Thanks to Tall Tree Cycles, along with The Ottawa Mountain Bike Association, there will be another fatbike demo at Camp Fortune before the race. From noon until 4pm, folks are welcome to try a selection of 9zero7, Kona and Surly fatbikes out. No charge, but first come first served. the will be a fire to warm yourself by, and warm drinks. Trails off of the CBC fire road will be packed down(mostly) for you to try. We'll get Junior, RPM, Connector and hopefully some of Pea Soup set up for you. Park as far at the end of of the parking lot, past the lodge, and look for the Kona and OMBA tents.

PLEASE NOTE: No riding on the ski runs, at all!


Around four, people will be invited to practice for the race, maybe earlier if we get it done. The race will be much like last year: Starts 5-ish, dual-slalom, elimination format. Likely we'll set up on the t-bar side of the hill. It won't be about speed, but about balance and skill.  The track will be a narrow, snowshoe packed course, and the turns will be really tight. This year, with a twistier course, I expect a lot of slow speed slideouts. That said, there will be a prize for best huge, yard-sale style wipeout.

If there are a lot of people out for this, we'll do three-cross (each on their own track) with a consolation round. Warm up/practice starts around four, and racing goes until it's over. Prizes for best man and woman, and draws for those who just came out for shits and giggles. 

Best heckler wins a prize! Crowd nominates and decides who is this beautiful bastard!

If any races dressed in a Santa costume, you race for free.

For real: just no sexist, racist or homophobic slurs.  That's not cool. If you can't put someone down without resorting to that crap, you're not trying(and frankly you're not all that welcome at the event' either).

More fire and drinks afterwards. Bring something to share if you care to.

Suggested donation, 10$ with half going to OMBA.

See you all on Sunday!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

LPP, season 4!

Folks, I've been lazy.

Neglectful even.

I have a new baby, which is taking up my time. Poor LPP has suffered for it. The poster is still being drafted, and my posting has been infrequent.

The baby isn't of the crying, breastfeeding and soiling type. Instead, I've taken on co-ownership of a small business, and the learning curve has been steep.

That's not to say I haven't been doing anything LPP related, just that everything has been slow to boil. So, there will be a longer post soon, promise.

However, right now I can announce this:

LPP, Lucky #13! Sunday, December 21st 2014!

The event is a Camp Fortune ski hill, Chelsea Quebec. The fun starts around noon, at the far end of the upper parking lot, as close to the biathlon course as you can get. from 12ish to four-ish, there will be fatbikes to demo, coffee, and the trails under the aerial park will be accessible for the day. Around 4, we'll set up a small, non-threatening dual-slalom course and have a fun race. The day will end with a fire and a bottle. Prizes too.

And, I promise more info for the rest of the season soon.

-Flounder


Monday, September 15, 2014

Nakkertoked.


At this point, the fourth year running LPP events. It’s been decided that it is time to go mostly legit. No, not big prices, sponsors everywhere and rules out your wazoo, but legit in the matter of actually getting permits.

And doing something in the daytime. Something big. Something hard. Something a bit stupid. Something that still will involve mandatory consumption of beverages.

To that end, Mr Wood and I headed up to Val-des-Monts today to check out the XC ski area know as Nakkertok North (N.N.). Run by a 1400-strong ski club, N.N. has a sister area called, unsurprisingly, Nakkertok South, both of which are connected by a 20 km backcountry trail. 

Can you see where I am going with this?

John and Dave, the trails coordinators for Nakkertok N&S respectively, started talking to me late last year about maybe, possibly, perhaps there was a chance that, fatbikes could be allowed on the trails at N.N.  While it was too late for last year, we agreed to talk in the early fall about what sort of usage/access fatbikers could expect. Last week Dave called, and said, if I wanted to come and check out some of the trails and the facilities, we should do it now, as hunting season opens next week. I said there was no rush, that we could wear orange,  and besides, what would be the odds that we’d see hunters on the property? To which Dave replied, ‘there are hunter’s blinds ON the property. Eeep. Mr. Woods and I loaded bikes into his truck and off we went.
To put it succinctly, we thought the place has promise as an event venue, but as a season long venue?  We’re not sure. Look at the map below for a moment.  Most of the trails, such as trail 1, 5, the southern part of 13, and 19 run along side the edges of the hills, with pretty mellow gradients punctuated by a few climbs that would be doable by fatbike. They are double track; pleasant enough on a mtb, and by fatbike would be good, while leaving space to pass or have machine-set ski tracks on it. It’s the trails that cross over the hills, such as Heartbreak hill, Phil’s Folly and Awesome that would be killer. They are hella steep on one side, and a somewhat easier grade on the other side. Add to this some of the snowshoes trails that seemed pretty techy (we didn’t get to ride them), and skidoo trails that bisect the trails, and it would be an interesting place to have a race.
Especially if that race left from Nakkertok South, did the 20km connector, and then did a loop of N.N. Imagine a 50km-ish course(with a smaller course as an option, of course)! The two cabins, one for day usage, and the other available for overnight guests, offers a infrastructure for racers and organizers. The skidoos on the venue mean grooming can be done the night before. There’s lots of parking at N.N

And of course, there would be large fires, food, and beer.

That’s our thoughts for Nakkertok as a event venue. Ditto for the idea of having a few fatbike days at N.N., where we could have the run of the place along with the skiers, and pay a daily fee.  However, we are not sure about whether it would be viable as ongoing fatbike venue, where one paid a yearly membership. There are a few issues, first of which is the distance. Nakkertok is about 15km outside of Wakefield. It was about an hour there on a nice day in September, leaving from Tall Tree Cycles in Downtown Ottawa. If you are from the suburbs, and it’s winter, think 75 minutes. That’s a lot of traveling. Especially if the selection of trails are limited.
While we got to ride a lot of trails, I am not sure what ones we will get to use. The backcountry trails seem the most fun, but can they be set enough for a fatbike? Can we use the snowshoe trails? John never really told me what was on and off the table in terms of trails. On top of that, some of the trails are directional, which is not a good thing for fatbikers. Ideally, skiers want to climb the steepest side of a hill, since they are practially walking at that point, and then go down the more gradual side, as they don’t have brakes, nor any edges to really speak of (in my opinion, anyways). That is pretty much the opposite of what a fatbiker wants. If any of these trails are a no-go, suddenly 17 km of trails become 10. 10 km of trails over an hour away seems like a pretty hard sell for a yearly membership, that also includes an mandatory two days of volunteer trail work.
What I am going to suggest is a year of getting to know each other. Let’s have a couple of fatbike days as a sort of snowy meet-and-greet. The Nakker folks can get used to having share their trails (another hurdle to deal with), fatbikers can suss out the trails, and how serious Nakker are about this, while Nakker can make some extra money without a lot of effort. Then, let’s have a race. Have a party; invite the skiers; get drunk; touch someone’s firm bum by the fire. Let’s see how it goes. Then we can plan for 2016.

What do you all think? Let us know.

 -Flounder 

The map. We did most of the upper-middle and right side of the page

The main cabin. under renovations, but room for dozens. and stoves!


A typical section of the main trails
The sleeper cabin. A bit disheveled right now, but looks like it could sleep about 8. and it has running water(but uses an outhouse)!

It looks easier in the pic.

Mr Woods, in the woods. Starting Phil's Folly from the easy side (which is the wrong direction).



Sunday, June 1, 2014



A few of the gents from Surly Bikes and NRG Enterprises were in town visiting shops yesterday. Some of the crew from Tall Tree Cycles took them out to Kanata Lakes for a ride. I got the chance to try out the new Ice Cream Truck fat bike with a Bluto fork on Outback trail.
My impressions? The new frame is a massive departure from the Pugsley. The front end is light-handling while the frame is stiff enough that the wheels go where you want it to, while still being comfortable with circa 9 psi in the tires. I took it over every drop and through the countless rock gardens of Outback and the thing cleared everything.
Is it fast? Meh. I was using two speeds with it: cruising and rock-crawl. That said, I was was not last in group and once up to speed it keeps that speed remarkably well. It isn't a snappy accelerator, but popping up the front end was remarkably easy. As for traction, the thing is just stupid, making recovery from bad line choices pretty easy. Off-camber roots and rocks in the middle of a corner? Whatever; just pedal.
Part of that traction and control comes the Bluto fork. It made riding down drops effortless, and kept the front tire from bouncing all over the place in rough stuff. Simply put, if you want to ride your fatbike year round, it is a no brainer: get one.
If my only mountain bike was an Ice Cream Truck with a Bluto, I'd be fine with that, although I would put the thing on diet with lighter weight tires and go tubeless. Really, what more praise can I give?




Ice Cream Truck!




Sunday, March 16, 2014

A visual recap of LPP#12

I'll write more later, but right now I have a bit of a hangover, a dog to walk, and a garage that looks like a fugly bomb went off in. For now here is some footage that Jason Gordon shot of his "hot lap"during the last LPP of the season, #12.  Click the link, and enjoy!

-Flounder.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

LPP#12!


Last year. You know that if you weren't there, you missed out.
So the finale of the 2013-14 LPP series is upon us. Here are the Deets:

Saturday, March 15th. Register at 7:30pm, race starts at 8pm.

Race is at Kanata Lakes(why mess with a good thing, as it has been such a hoot the last two years?).

The duration will one hour and a lap, kids (under 15) will do 45 minutes. Anyone in the midst of puberty will have to man-up. Or women-up, depending on what secondary sexual characteristics are popping up, so to speak...

All tires sizes are welcomed.

7 bucks to come play, if you didn't pay for the season. You do get a free drink out of it, and a prize toss at the end too!

Afterwards, bush party! Wennies, fire and drinks! Yee Haw! Bring a bottle and a date; it'll be that kind of a night.

Email if you need more details, or directions.

Flounder.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

LPP11: A collective recount of the super fatbike sprints.

Kinda sums up the night. Go to http://redbikephotography.smugmug.com/Cycling/Fatbiking/i-jLhJ4n3 for more pics from Gilles

I spent the afternoon of Feb 14th fretting.

Not because I was not doing anything for Valentine's day (the husband was away in Waterloo), but because it felt that I was missing something. Something huge. I packed and re-packed all my gear for the night's event, but I couldn't get rid of a sense of creeping doom.

Then I realised what it was: I wasn't completely in control of this event.

Now, pretty much anyone who meets me will know within 30 minutes that "perfectionist control-freak" is not a label that applies to me, nor to LPP events, which are run pretty(okay, very) loose. But since Steward Mcintosh of Chelsea Nordiq approached me to do this event, and I said sure, I realized that I had not seen the course and didn't know what sort of support I was going to receive. I was even a bit unsure if they were going to leave the lights on at one point! This is not meant to slag Steward in any way, but just to illuminate how over the course of the day, the sense of doom slowly grew...

Partly, the sense of doom-growth was attributable to my worrying that I had over-promised and was about to under-deliver: Steward asked me how many folks would come and pay the twenty bucks to ride the course, knowing it was going to support a local para-olympian who was going to Sochi that that Chelsea Nordiq sponsored. I said twenty-five would be likely. But the afternoon of the race, I thought that number would take a small miracle to hit. After all, the race was outside of town(just outside, but still); it had snowed that morning, and IT WAS FREAKING VALENTINE'S DAY! Really, how many folks could bail on the date night of the year?

Turns out, quite a few could. 35 people showed up, a record. $700.00 was raised, to the fatbike community's credit. The support Steward offered was marvelous; lights; a course that kept everyone engaged; a cube van with heaters in it; and food and drink! All this support was great, as with such a big crowd, I was kept busy grouping and sending off waves of fatters down the course. I would like to say a thousand thanks to Sean Ralph and Mike Dougherty for taking care of the finish line chaos; making sure that riders were awarded points and those points were tallied up. Without you two, the night would've been a gongshow, way more than normal.

I was so busy that I have no idea how the racing went down. All I have are the list of the winners. For women, it was Cat Weaver, Kari Ferlatte and Marcie Girirouand. The men were Matt Surch, Rob Orange and Patrick Dupras. So, in keeping with this theme of loss of control, I am going to turn the narrative of the event to people who actually raced. I asked a few people to write a quick paragraph giving their impressions of the event, so here they are.


Matt, hunting down Jim McGuire. Thanks to John Rathwell for coming out and taking pics, again. See more at http://johnrathwellphotography.com/lpp11-feb-14th-super-fat-sprints/
First off is Matt, who, to paraphrase Mark Twain, didn't have time to write one paragraph, so he wrote several:

If you look at the criterium format of road racing, it's clear that interesting courses are essential to interesting races. At the other end of the spectrum, incredibly hard courses, either on the road or off-road, often lead to boring racing. The best races are run on courses that have challenging elements, but at the same time allow for strategy and tactics to play out. The fat bike sprint course, build by and for skate ski racers, was such a course.

Despite perhaps 15cm of light, dry snow the previous night, the course that awaited us was in good shape after grooming and an afternoon of ski racing. Light snow blanketed a firm base, and easily gave way to rolling tires. However, the fastest lines were the ruts that were formed as the new snow was pushed off the base, exposing firm snow underneath. 

Practice quickly revealed how slippery the track was, similar to clay-heavy mud on a cyclocross track. The opening straight led into a small step-up; as ruts formed, the trick was to stick one and go full gas. The trick here was to avoid spinning the back wheel too much, and twisting the grips like a throttle helped a bit with that. Next were two rollers, which developed firm ruts as riders bedded the track in. It was best to stay on the gas through these, and try to stay in your rut for maximum speed. 

The opening straight of these features was perfect for sorting the riders are they approached the first turn, a left, which evolved nicely into a deeply rutted motocross-style turn. As a racer, the aim was to get to this turn first, stick the rut, and power out. If you were stuck behind others into this turn, you might have to get off your line, or get stuck behind a crash. As in many disciplines, most of the race is about getting to the first turn before everyone else. 

Next up was a span of slalom gates through which four lines were available, none much faster than the others. This made for some exciting moments, as racers battled for their preferred line!

A sweeping right hander followed, which was the first 'recovery' section of the 400m course. After riding out of the saddle to this point (if possible), this was the place to sit down, spin through the turn, and try to regain a bit of composure. 

The toughest turn came next, another right hander that was slightly off-camber on the inside of the apex. In practice, riders fell left and right. As the course bedded in, a nice arc formed through the turn, easy enough to follow. However, at max speed, this one was tricky, and any dab or tumble would surely mean a top two finish would be near impossible. You didn't want to be chasing through this one!

Sweeping left around the generator and massive tower of lights, traction was good leading into the final hurtle, a slight incline banking left, dropping back to ground level with a depression to one foot high drop off. If already gassed at this point, the climb would put you into the red, and you'd have to keep it there for the final bend left and flat out sprint for 30 meters to the line. 

The racing was dynamic and exciting, exactly what we all hoped for. Like other short, high intensity disciplines, the start was key for closely matched racers. A failed pedal entry, or spinning back wheel could cost a second or two that would be difficult to get back. Taking risks in the turns could either pay off or totally flop, which is precisely what makes racing fun! When the consequence of a botched turn is a bit of snow in your face or up your sleeve, why not go for it? Indeed, just about everybody pushed themselves, and the endorphins were in the air. 

One has to look at the incredible turnout, particularly of women, and ask, how come? Fewer women race a Sunset Series mtb race in July. Snow seems less intimidating as a surface to ride on, and the format allows everybody to race until they're cooked, without fear of smashing themselves, getting dropped, or lost. Perhaps mountain bike racing would be more popular in the region if a few lessons were taken from Friday night's race.


This is from Sandra Beaubien; Thanks Sandra!

It was fantastic to see so many women racing in the Super-Fat Sprint races.  Many of the ladies were on borrowed bikes and were trying Fat Biking for the first time.  Having the women in a separate category made this event friendly for all skill levels.  The first few heats were all about staying upright on the bike, making sure not to slide out in the corners. As everyone got used to the conditions, every race got a little faster with many having really close finishes.  The final was exciting to watch – Cat got off to an early lead and pushed hard to stay ahead of Kari.  There was a battle for third and Marcie fought hard to beat out Sophie and Christine.  We can’t wait for the next race!

Here is Mike Dougherty's(who I thanked earlier) point of view:



This was also my first LPP experience, albeit from a volunteer’s perspective.
When Stew (Chelsea Nordic) mentioned the idea to me a couple of months back, admittedly it seemed like a stretch.  Convince an organization of skiers to host a fat biking event, hmnn…  But with his hard work and organizing, combined with the established series and event know-how of LPP – what a great event it turned out to be!

Aside from being LPP’s biggest event to date, it indeed raised approximately $700, which is being combined with Chelsea Nordiq’s (www.chelseanordiq.ca) significant fund raising efforts – all going to support biathlete Caroline Bisson(That's her name! Stew never got around to telling me her name!          -Flounder) at the Sochi Paralympics.  http://carolinebisson.ca

 My role was quite easy, though busy, chasing down racers to get their names (repeatedly) at the Finish and confirm their scoring (OK – it was a near constant stream of bundled up people zooming by on bikes at night).  A trip to get a warm drink for blue-lipped score-keeper extraordinaire (Sean) had me happily serving up hot chocolate to smiling rosey faces for a while.

 It was great to meet some of the Ottawa Fat Bike Society members as well as many others – French and English, male and female.  Nobody seemed particularly concerned about results, actually the only concern that I really heard was as to which shwarmas were vegetarian.

Thank you Flounder, Stew, Chelsea Nordiq and all of the participants for putting this together, supporting a local athlete and bringing positive exposure to our sport. Pretty cool that such a fun event can be realized by the regional fat bikers, for a good cause, in collaboration with another Winter sport group.

Happy riding!   

Here's Ian Steward, who brought his wife out to race with him on a bike he made for her. Love isn't dead.

For this different format race there was a monster turnout, there were people I've never seen on a FB. Lots of women were riding which is great. My wife rode her TINY XS 907 in red which was very appropo for Valentines day.

Flounder had wheedled us access to a mini cross country ski course. It was a twisty little beggar with a loose surface, never-the-same-twice corners, and was a hell of a lot harder to go fast than you thought. It even had a warm up truck with the bonus of  warm hot chocolate. Definitely not Flounder's usually provided beverage, but appreciated by many.

The racing was 4 person format heats with the top two advancing. I was usually doing fine until  I washed in a corner, or pulled my foot out of the pedal, or was surprised by not crashing, -even with full bike side to side contact with Al. Ok, I was never doing fine, but trying counts for something, right?

Lots of fun and drama on the twisty circuit from first time fat bikers Kari Ferlatte (excited shrieks) and  Deb Hine (no shrieks but plenty of smiles), Matt Surch's no-saddle run and close sprint wins, to Cat Weavers killer glare while racing. We all had a great time.

Next up is Jim McGuire (aka BMX Jim) who we all expected to kill it. He almost did:

So this was my first time at a LPP "race" since the inaugural effort at Hampton park many months ago, which I rode on a crappy old hardtail MTB. This time was vastly different, riding my brother's high end Salsa carbon-fiber build, I couldn't exactly complain. That, and the fact that this race format was about as close to BMX (my first love in biking) as we are going to be able to find. I arrived as the ski folks were packing up and waited for Flounder to arrive. A few warm up laps on stiff legs resulted in a mild hamstring pull which thankfully inmproved with more riding and staying warm. A few 'heavy hitters' showed up, including the always fast Matt Surch, Rob O, Ian Radford and Brent Atkins. Not to mention my buddy Al McConnel, Andrew Olive , Dave Bilenky and a dude on a unicycle fat bike wheel. I think around forty riders in total including a bunch of female riders, yeah! Flounder had his format loosely planned and went with motos or heats of four, with riders gaining points for a first or second place. The racing itself was a riot, with basically only one good line in the first turn, followed by going as fast as you could while still maintaing traction. The snow was just loose enough in spots where a little extra push in a turn would send you sliding with a foot down. So Flounder and the efforts of scorer Sean Ralph determined a final four with Me, Matt, Rob O, and another guy who is apparently very fast on his MTB. Matt was predictably fast and took the lead, while I chased hard until a crash on the second last "straight". I think I went down because I was trying too hard. Ya - thats it. I attempted to get up and still beat Rob O and the other guy, but was forced to settle for DFL. In the womens race, it was a large group of five women I think, with Cat Weaver of Trips for Kids fame leading from wire to wire. The 'race' fees were used to help fund a local para-olympic athlete on their trip to Sochi-excellent. I hope to be back next year, as the venue and format were awesome.


This is from Jakob, aka "the crazy-fast unicycle guy":

The event looked well organized, we had everything, good lighting, good marking everywhere, a clear start and finish line, hot chocolate and shawarmas! As a rider and spectator, the course was awesome, short and sweet. Having a small lap like that made it fun for everyone who wasn't riding unlike big laps where you can't see anyone. Racing 4 at the time was perfect, just enough riders to motivate riding faster and not too much so we all had enough space for riding. 

The event was awesome! It made Valentines day much better than usual!

Thanks everyone who helped make this event awesome.

Presidente Brett
Here is Brett, chief of the Wheeler's tribe:

I was dead on my feet tired that evening and almost did not show up because the event started a bit late for a working guy like me who starts at 7am on Sunday-but I did not regret my decision to participate, the fun far outweighed the fatigue.
  The theme was laid back fun with friendly competition-kind of like the the kind of fun competition you have with friends at a house party playing charades or pictionary.
There was hot chocolate and shawarmas and a place to warm-up wihich is super well though out for such a low pressure production!
 The venue was first class spectator friendly that had me ringing my cow bell and cheering my friends in the events.I will be back for more in the future with more Wheelers.

Brent Atkins 
El Presidente 
West Quebec Wheelers

I've saved the best for last: Deb Hine was so moved, she expressed herself in verse!

Valentine's night
and the timing's just right
to try fat bike excite
under a full moon light

Winter nights in Chelsea
are a regular for me
But winter's to ski,
Don't you agree, Flounder and Tall Tree??

My first time on a fat bike, how hard can it be?
I can ride a cross bike in sand, so surely
I can race a few laps on a course which is really
for cross country skiing, on this borrowed blue Surly!

I'll skip the gory details about going anaerobic
and how that feeling made me feel rather close to being sick
Turns out I don't have a single muscle fast twitch
Instead, I'll list the highlights, of which
the night was rich:

friends old and new
awesome course
bright lights
warm temps
unicycle!!
shawarma
slalom
a full moon
Chelsea Nordiq cooperation
cheering
cowbells
a good cause
a jump!
racing right to the line
skids and falls
hot chocolate!

Today I was back on my xc skis
And that's the winter activity
that's the greatest for me

But what a fabulous night of fat bike camaraderie!


Wow. I've inspired rhymes. 
I'm going to leave it at that, because how can I top it?
Thanks again to everyone who raced, and I hope to see you all on March 15th. Location TBA, as usual.
-Flounder


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Huge Correction...Please read if you are thinking of going to the Nakkertok Event


So, there was a miscommunication within Nakkertok regarding fatbikes running the loppet course this Sunday,  and we were given information a bit prematurely.Turns out there will NOT be an event there this weekend.

I repeat, do NOT sign up or go to Nakkertok Nordic this weekend expecting to ride a fatbike. Sorry for all this.

But there is hope that we may be able to do something in early march up there, so stay tuned, and have hope. Again, sorry for the confusion, but we were not part of organizing this.

-Flounder and Tall Tree.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Race is still a go.

Just got word that the course was packed and groomed around 12:30 today, and will be groomed once more this afternoon. Whew. so everyone, show up around 8, and be ready to race by 9.

Here is a pic of a section of the course, which was taken last night:

See you tonight!

-Flounder

Thursday, February 13, 2014

So, I hope to see a good turnout tomorrow night. If you were on the cusp of coming, you should; everything is ready at my end, and should be at the site, which the folks at Chelsea Nordiq are stoked about. And it is for charity, so come out and ride; the racing will only be as serious as you want it to be, people will be grouped together by speed after the first round.

There will be food and hot beverages available and tons of prizes, but sorry, no liquor. The organizers of the ski event can’t have anyone drinking at this event on site, as it is on city land, and they don’t have a permit for it. There are going to be a lot of kids around too, and if we fatbikers ,as a community, want to build good relationships with other trail users, drinking in front of their kids and racing bikes is perhaps bad optics.

I know; it hurts me to have to say it too, but this one time we have to be quasi-respectable.

On top of no booze at the event, the organizers asked that we  do not park around or near the course, but at the school parking lot, just past the course. WHATEVER YOU DO, DO NOT PARK NEAR THE FIRE STATION, OR ON ANY ROADS THAT WOULD BLOCK THE FIRE TRUCKS!!!

Bad things will happen if you do; firefighters have their own justice.

Hope to see lots of folks out there.

-Flounder

Monday, February 3, 2014

LPP#11, Feb 14th: Super-fat Sprints!

Stew from Chelsea Nordiq contacted LPP two weeks ago with an offer to do a race. It turns out that the xc ski club he is all deep in, is doing an event for the Gatineau loppet on Feb 14th. It's called a super sprint and to me, it seems like a bmx course for xc skiers.

This is the logo for the race, which also has a rough map of what the course will look like. Stu told me the club are spending several thousand dollars bringing in snow and building a course that will have climbs, drops, step-downs, and rhythm sections, all in a 400 meter-long, 6 meter-wide course.

Here is their logo, with a sketch of the course:

This is a video that shows a race:

So here is how the evening will go:
  • The race is going to be at the Chelsea Elementary School on  Old Chelsea road in Chelsea(click here for the link).
  • The night will go from 8:00pm until 11:00 ish. Yes, the course is totally lit, so no need for lights!
  • Registration starts at 8:00 and there will be 30minutes to an hour of warm-up, starting at 8:30ish
  • The racing starts around nine. 
Here is how the racing will happen:
  • Everyone with do at least four rounds of racing.
  • Riders will be going down three or four at a time, depending on the number of racers and course conditions. 
  • Points will be awarded according to finishing order (3,2,1)
  • Folks will race against other people with similar points. Winners go up against other winners middlings go up against others. 
  • The highest four point totals will go up against each other in one or two more races(depending on time) and will race for the glory. 
  • Drinks at the tavern after! (sorry, no drinking at the race; the event organizers don't have a liquor permit)
Now here is the catch: the event is going to cost 20 dollars for season subscribers, 24.00 for non-season. The added cost is due to the fact that this is a charity event. The funds are going to Chelsea Nordiq's outreach program, which gets underprivileged kids out into the woods. It's a good cause.

But I want to offer some consolation for the price increase, so here's the deal: there will be hot drinks: coffee, hot chocolate. and there will be prizes, tons of door prizes! Live to Play has offered up a bunch of door prizes as has Kichissippi Beer. I can guarantee at least a 50% win ratio.
Don't forget, it is for a good cause. And there's banked turns!

Oh and one bummer, the organizers have said that want it to be a fatbike-only event, so no regular MTB's on the track. Sorry.

I'll post more details as they come up. We'll see you on Friday, February 14th. Bring your date.

-Flounder.


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Video! A real, honest video!

This will be my legacy.

Well, actually it will partly be mine: VJ Ina at Ottawa Velo Vogue and a friend of her's (sorry I totally forget your name), showed up at the last race, filmed it, and she put together this great clip. I suggested the song, which is 'Shut Up" by Savages, from their album called 'Silence Yourself'. I hope they don't mind we used it.


Oh and the next race is Feb 14th, from 7:30 until 11-ish, in Chelsea. More details to follow...

-Flounder

Monday, January 20, 2014

Video!

Thanks to Rodrigo, there is a video of one full lap of Saturdays' race. Enjoy!


Sunday, January 19, 2014

LPP January recap, the one where I finally figure out how to take videos.

So, Hampton Park is in the bag.

Post race drinks, next to the jump track. Special thanks to Eric B. for hosting and letting us ride his jumptrack!

Unlike last year, the conditions for this edition were perfect: hard, fast and with the snow that fell earlier in the day, plenty grippy. The racing was fast and at times intense; Marty got accused of throwing an elbow, but claims that he was just passing on the inside. No fists were thrown, so all ended well. Overwhelmingly people were pleasant and polite and new folks were greeted warmly. Post race, Iain confessed he felt really awkward having to ask the rider in front of him if he had lapped him.

Oh, the burden of being fast...

The best part of that exchange was that the person lied to Iain and said that he had, but in truth hadn't, thus avoiding said lapping for a while longer. Tricky!

video

After three years, I think I finally have nailed down the way to mark a course well enough that folks who are cross-eyed from effort don't go off course, even at night. Without using tape, that is. This year the feedback was great: people didn't get lost; and the comments could be surmised with the following statement: Not grueling but it had enough surprises to keep you on your toes. 

Especially if you were George, riding a single-speed 29er, as seen below: There were about three guys who came out on regular bikes, and seemed to hold their own.

  video

Around 30 folks showed up, many new to the scene, including four ladies (finally)! Of note was Kat W, who along with Sean R. decided that racing was best done in the following format: Do a lap, have a beer, do a lap, have another beer, spectate for a bit, then do a last lap, followed by more beer. Mel, the fastest of the womenfolk, was just excited to be out: she and her husband Andrew have been coming out to races regularly, but with a young child, they don't get out as much as they would like. Unfortunately, the babysitter had to cancel at the last minute. Since Andrew made it out in December, Mel was up. She was all smiles.

video

The top three were Matt, Iain, and Ted. Rob P would likely have been in there, but had a mechanical. He borrowed  his wife Trish's bike, but didn't regain contact with the front runners, even though they stopped and waited for him. Since the top three all said they would rather be third than try to produce art, I will not give them rankings. Matt tried to persuade me to accept his nose-bonks on the table-top jump as performance art, but since it wasn't really engaging in some larger discourse, I couldn't accept it. And anyways, Ted was doing some nice jumping too...


video

I will leave you with this one final video. Jakob, the unicyclist showed up again, as he did at Fortune. He loved the course and again, he impressed the hell out of everyone with his speed and skills. Here he is on the jump course, on his way to becoming a fan favourite!

video


Thanks to everyone for coming out; it looks like I managed to cover my costs again, which is all I ever want. Well, that and some free stuff.

See you all in February.
-Flounder






Saturday, January 18, 2014

And today's event is...

At Hampton Park!

here is a map of the location: https://mapsengine.google.com/map/edit?mid=zHWaSPnNA4HE.kd8HACrq_C6g

You can park at in the lot at the end of Sebring avenue, behind the mall. Then just follow the main trail (the one with the lamps) over to the start/finish line. There are a few as in three parking spots at the end of Buell street, but it's first come, first serve.

I did a not-so quick strava run of the course today, while walking the dog. Here's that link: http://www.strava.com/activities/107190100#2327063179

I am happy to say that the course has just one place that is a bit icy, which is the off-camber section, but it is all rideable!

See you around 7pm, don't forget, pre-ride is at 7:30 and race is at 8pm sharp.


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Post thaw...

...and the course is good. It is a go folks

There are a few small posthole here and there, but right now, the course is totally rideable. It is a bit icy,  especially in the off-camber  and high-traffic sections. So, if you have studs, put them on. However, if someone with a regular mountain bike wants to come out, you likely won't be walking much.

I am also excited to announce that a friend of LPP, who lives adjacent to the spot where the race will be, has agreed to host a post-race party. So everyone is invited after the race to wheel the 300 meters over to his house, where there will be drinks, snacks, a fire, and best of all: A jump course with three table tops, and a banked slalom course! Whoo!

As mentioned before, the location will be announced Saturday at noon.

-Flounder.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

After Thawageddon, we race! After we race, we Art!

So, first things first: The next race is Saturday, Jan 18th. Sign-up and pre-ride between 7pm and 7:30-ish, race starts between 7:30 and 8pm. We keep it casual. Pre-race libations encouraged.

Race is one hour and a lap. There will be drinks and snacks afterwards, nearby.

I will announce the location Saturday around noon on this site. I'll post a map too. I will say this: the location will be familiar to veterans. To those who are new, it is downtown-ish and easy to get to. There is parking.
One of several 'bumps' in the course. Harder than it looks. 

As for the course, well, yesterday it was in crazy good shape. However, with this melt, I think there will be a few long nights after work filling up postholes.... sigh.

We've opted not for any big climbs, stunts or set pieces, but a course that really twists and turns back on itself and 'bumps' that will disrupt your momentum. Lots of slow- speed turning, speed-up-then-slow-down sections. It does have three sections to open up the throttle and pass, since this is suppose to be a race. Aside from one steep downhill, I think the course is pretty low-risk.

Just mind your head.

Oh, and the top three places will be decided by an art-off: the top three get fifteen minutes to create  'art'(I use the term generously), with either crayons and paper, or with snow. If you want, a performance piece will be accepted. The finished pieces will be judged by the rest of the racers.

The theme? Naked fatbikes. Time to get your Art on!

See you all Saturday,
Flounder.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Social report. Oh, and a x-mas gift from Camp Fortune!

Sorry this is a week late; I was hoping to get some actions pics of the day, but to no avail, yet. When they come in, I'll post them up.

Sometimes, snow both giveth and taketh away. Sunday the 15th was a case in point, in that while the demo was kind of a disappointment to me, the racing part of the day was a blast! The social was an example of how with fatbiking fresh snow can be either a blessing or a curse, depending on how you approach it, and when.

The morning of the event I didn't have high hopes. Don't get me wrong, everything was set to be awesome: a horde of snowshoers directed by Iain R. had packed down three spur lines off the CBC access road; a flotilla of demo bikes were ready, and both firewood and drinks had been secured. As foundations go for a good fatbike event, you couldn't get any better.

Unless, it snows a foot at Camp Fortune overnight, ending only an hour before the event. That can wreak havoc on the best laid of foundations. The snow was the type of cold, dry, drifting snow that is impossible to pack down in the time we had before the demo started. Although Watson, Noah, Chris, Marcel, and Rob tried to stomp the lowest and shortest section of the demo trails, it was to no avail. With that sort of snow, you need much more traffic and few days for the trails to set, not a dozen footprints and an hour of time. Thom's text to me summed up pretty much what I was thinking when I woke up: "you know, getting newbies to try out fat bikes in these conditions isn't optimal."

"Yeah, this could be a wash," I feared.

Getting sized up for a fat run.

I thought that because of the snow, not many people would turn up. I was wrong. People were there the waiting for us when we arrived, and at times folks were waiting for the bikes! In all, about 30 folks showed up to demo the bikes, some of them having skied by, gone to their cars and changed shoes so they could come back and fail around in the snow. One guy even gave me his season's pass as ID for the rental!

Hot drinks, cold trails, equals goods times.
 Generally, everyone who went out came back with positive experiences. Even if most of the trails were buried, that didn't stop folks from trying, and/or taking them for rips in and around the parking lots and the foot of the ski hills. What was cool was that people hung out afterwards, had something to drink and talked about the bikes. The recruitment, err, I mean the demo was a modest success.

The fire pit is starting to become an expected feature; these folks brought fatbikes to ride, and wieners to cook.


As the sun set and the last of the skiers came down the Mountain, Matt and Thom went to work setting up a dual-slalom course on the lower flank of Marshall. They quickly discovered that despite the new snow, it was impossible to get any poles into the ice-hard man-made snow base. So they improvised(what a surprise, given this series' history); the course morphed from parallel courses  to one where there were 6 wide gates, marked by hastily built-up snow mounds lit by glow sticks. Two riders were sent down at the same time, hoping to get the holeshot. 

Bikes getting ready to race!

Talking about the format and racing order. Yes, that is a fat unicyclist in the pic!

The Olive, prepping for the race...

...and best cape contest, which he owned. Mind you, David's all-black victorian number was pretty swank. Dapper, even.
While this format in most other contexts would likely have resulted in some elbows thrown, everyone knew this was not that sort of race, and if they didn't, they quickly got the hint from the amount of heckling that was going on at the top of the hill. If that didn't keep them in line, well, the course did. 

All that soft, new snow meant that staying upright was the major challenge, not your challenger. If you could stay upright, or manage to fall the least, you would win. In one race, each person slid out at least twice. One poor soul face-planted twice (laughing at the end of his race as he cleaned the snow out from the inside of his glasses, thankfully) and another fell four times, only narrowly losing to his competitor, who only fell three times... 

The race was done elimination style, with the winner of the consolation round going up against the loser of the champion round. The championship came down to the mad, hellbent descending of Matt, versus the smoothness of Daniel's runs. We all thought that Matt was going to take it, because, well, he was going stupid-fast! So fast, that everyone was wondering when, (not if) he went down, how much time he would lose. But we all thought that by the time he went down, he would have a big enough gap to recover, and his competitor would've wipeout out as well. However, Matt went down early, with Dan right behind him. and Dan didn't fall. Dan was in for the win. 

I can't remember much of Nick's winning run. I was staring at his new fatbike suspension fork the whole time...

 Below are the results, kept track on my high-tech scoreboard (a posterboard taped to a table). The top names are the under 40 podium, the lower three are the over-40 winners

So, Dan, Matt, Nick and Karl: I am still waiting on the prizes Giro and Outdoor Gear Canada gave me to get here. It will be likely the second week of January. Send me your emails or FB me in the new year. Or check back here; I'll post when they are in.

The fire was sooo nice afterwards, and made nicer by the bottle being passed around.

Finally I want to thank a shit-ton of people of helping out. Getting all the stuff up to Fortune and setting trails is no small task, and these people deserve thanks. All this community support is pretty heartwarming, for it shows that this fatbiking thing has the making of being a pretty cool scene of folks willing to help out to get folks together to play in the snow.
-Iain, for the snowshoing, which alas was for naught (this time; more on that after New Years)
-Mike and Noah for coming up to Fortune the night before and marking trails in one of the coldest winds I've experienced in a loooong time, and hauling stuff back and forth.
-Chris Wood for hauling up a big pile of wood.
-Marcel and Rob P. for being packing fodder (again, for naught).
-Thomas and Will from Tall Tree Cycles for bringing up the tent and their fleet of demo Surlys (which you can rent until the 7th of January),  and for paying for the drinks. Much thanks!

And special mention goes to Watson, who ran all sort of crap errands for me while I was at work: getting photocopies, getting paint, tarps, and gods knows what else. All hail Watson!

So that's it for now.  I'll post post new pics when I get them.

Happy Holidays, and I will have good news in the New Year; if you liked what happened this time, well it looks like we may get a repeat or two! Thank you Mr Sudermann!

But for now; bank on the next race being in the city, on Jan 19th. It starts in someone's backyard.




Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Social is still on.

Ok, the weather tonight and tomorrow will be very, uh, winterish.

Normally, I'd move the date (if anyone recalls I spaced events out to a month apart  this year to give myself some 'act of nature' latitude.

However, this time I am sticking to my guns, mostly due to the fact I have to.

Tall Tree only has their demo fleet until the first week of January. Then it is off to Alberta (if you can't make it to the demo, call the shop and reserve a day ASAP if you want to try one). With the holidays starting next week, there was no other time to really do this. Speaking of time, it is kinda hard to reschedule at Camp Fortune; mr Sudermann has been very gracious, and I don't want to push my luck. The coupled with the return of the demo fleet, Fortune starts night skiing after New Year's, again adding pressure to do the social tomorrow.

So folks, dress up, and if you are coming for the race, know that there may not be a lot of bush trails to ride before 4:30. We will do what we can. However, there will be fires and warm liquids for you.

And the hill itself should be crazy fun! Powder!

See you there,
Flounder.