Check out the facebook page here.

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

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,

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Fatbike Social: all the details!

So, it is official: Camp Fortune has amazingly agreed to let fat bikes run amok on Sunday, Dec 15th. Thank you Camp Fortune, and Peter Sudermann!

But there are limitations. Here are the details, both good and slightly inconvenient:

There will be a tent set up to the left of the Clifford chairlift. Tall Tree Cycles providing a demo day from 2 to dusk (4:30) with a fleet of Surly Pugsleys and Moonlanders. There will be a couple of short trails to try them out on. Maybe a few 9zero7's too. Demos will be let out for 30 minutes a pop. First come first served, but you can take them out multiple times if there is no one waiting. This is all free.

We will NOT be allowed on the skiing hills until after 4:30, when the skiers are off. There will be no hillside lighting, unless it comes from a nearby trail that there is snowmaking on, and no, you can't ride in the snowmaking! I know; I thought "boo" as well, but freshly made snow is really heavy and hard to ride through, so it's not as much fun as you'd think, although I always keep aiming for it when I see it...

But I digress: the point is that LIGHTS ARE MANDATORY FOR THIS EVENT (200 lumens at least).

After 4:30, there will be a cover charge of seven dollars to ride a series of packed trails, the cbc access road, and Marshal ski run. If you want, you can register and pay for the whole series of four races, a mere 21 dollars at the registration table.  Starting around 5:30 will be a dual slalom race on the lower third of Marshal. The emphasis will be on fun(as always), and turning over speed. Winner in the 4 categories get a prize:

Men under 40,
Men over 40,
Best cape worn while racing. For real: this category gets the best prize.

Things will wrap up around 7. There will be fires to keep you warm, and free coffee and hot chocolate to keep you warmer. If you are wondering, and are new to these events, the 7 bucks is to cover costs, if that. It would be nice if I could buy the volunteers a round, someday...

Speaking of which, after the race, folks are encouraged to stop in Chelsea for drinks. I will!

please to give us an idea of how many to expect, there is a facebook page set up for the event. Please click here and let me know if you are coming, so I can get enough drinks for everyone.

See you at Camp Fortune,

Oh, does anyone have a load of firewood to sell???

Monday, December 9, 2013

The 15th is go!

Mr Sudermann said yes. All hail Sudermann!

However, we need to figure out the hows and the wheres. One thing to note: you will need lights for the latter part of this event now, as the ski hill lights will not be on. The chalet will be closed after 5, so bring your own refreshments. Naturally I will provide some, but they may not be to everyone's tastes! The daytime demo will go on as stated before: on a short course off to the side of the ski runs.

Looks like the slalom course will be lit by tiki torches and glow sticks now... not that that is new.

More details tomorrow night.

Anyone got some firewood up there?


Friday, December 6, 2013

Fat Bike Social, Dec 15th at Camp Fortune! (tentative)

A place where everyone will get to know your name. Yes; they'll be mandatory.

Early this week, on a whim, I called Peter Sudermann, co-owner of Camp Fortune, on a lark. For a while, I had an idea to do an event there in the evening before the resort opens for night skiing. However, I never bother to follow up on it, thinking I'd get rejected out of hand; I've been frustrated these last couple of months after several attempts to work with groups to organize some more accessible events have fallen through. I didn't think much was going to happen this time either.

I made my pitch. Mr. Sudermann asked a couple of questions, asked about waivers, and then said, essentially, that he was okay with it, as he knows a few people with fatbikes. However, we would need to sort out the details a bit before he totally signed off.

Damn, that was easy. I know it is not a 100% yet, but Mr. Sudermann was waaaay more receptive than anyone else I've dealt with. So I am posting this with with high hopes, and to give everyone plenty of advance notice.

  Fat Bike Social! Fun Race! Dec. 15th, 1-7 pm!

So here is the (again tentative) format for the day: Tall Tree will run a fleet of 6-10 demo fatbikes from next to the first aid hut in the lower parking lot. There will be sign up sheet and liability waivers that everyone must sign, and you can pay for your series of races or individual races there. From one until four, we would encourage folks to go and ride a short(1-2 km) loop of the XC mountain bike race course below Pineau run. Folks can get a bike for about 30 minutes, then they have to return it for the next person. You are welcome to put your name in for another round, but you will have to wait. Warm beverages will be served. If you have a bike, feel free to come by and try out the course.

Click here to open.
After four pm, once the skier are off the hill, is when the real fun begins  for the fatties. Folks will be able to ride up Humdinger ravine, to the mountain bike trail that connects Humdinger to Pineault and go over to Pineau. Then folks could can rip down Pineault, as many times as they'd like. The other option that may be allowed folks to ride up the access road,  go across and come down Marshall (or at least part of it). This depends on what Fortune can offer us.

Around 6 ish (earlier if there is a shit-ton of people) there will be a very low-key race on a short section of the hill. Format will be dual-slalom, head-to-head eliminator style, with a consolation round. Winner gets a prize. Categories will be men under thirty-five, men over thirty five and Women.

At seven pm we would call it a day on the hill. Hopeful, the chalet bar will still be open -it would be nice if you gave Mr. Suderman some money for being so awesome. If not, folks can reconvene in Old Chelsea.

So again, let me stress that this is TENTATIVE. I will know by Monday, Tuesday at the latest. So keep an eye on this page. I'll post as soon as I can.

See you on the hill, I hope!

No really, pray for me, if you do that kinda thing.