Thursday, April 6, 2017

Celebrating the Last Weekend of Winter at the 28 Below!

Well, it wasn't even close to 28 below at this year's 28 Below Fatbike race/ride/tour.  While plenty of snow graced the course the weekend prior, the warm temps during the week took a little over half the snow on the course before race day.  Lucky for us the nighttime temps stayed cool enough to freeze the ground, and a 7 am, hour early start, proved to be a good move as the conditions were firm and fast until after about 10am.  Of the 60 registered riders, 53 toed the line and rolled out of Spearfish Canyon Lodge just as the sun began to rise above the canyon walls. 
The course was fast this year, with a mixture of gravel, ice, and snow, and a variety of terrain.
It was heads up riding as riders had to navigate the course, following the route across several grassy fields with only the orange diamonds on stakes and pink flagging, marking the route as their guide.

 A beautiful bluebird day, made the view from the Cement Ridge Checkpoint, worth the grueling climb.  Thanks to our sponsors at Legend Suspension and Munro Earthmoving, our volunteers were able to make it to the top and prepare the Chicken Noodle soup for the coming riders.

Eggs were scattered throughout the course and the Golden Egg is always hidden somewhere at the Cement Ridge Fire Lookout. This year's 'finder of the golden egg', recieved a "golden" framebag (among other prizes for other eggs found) courtesy of our sponsors at Dirtbags!  It Pays to Play!!
We also had a raffle to help raise money for the grooming of sweet fatbike singletrack at our local trails on Big Hill.  Kirk Munro of Munro Earthmoving, generously donated a Grizzly Cooler, and we were able to raise $330 toward the grooming efforts. Thanks to everyone who supported the raffle!
Top 3 overall men's and women's riders recieved an equal cash payout and a Fatbike Flask thanks to Dykstra Pottery!  And the overall fastest rider of the day Harley Hanson, recieved the fatbike powermeter valued at $1,200.00, courtesy of our generous sponsors at Quarq!

We hosted the after party outside this year, with Dan Sherill kicking out some tunes, and Crow Peak Beers flowing freely.  The Prize table was overflowing, and every rider ended up walking away a winner! It was a great day, and we are already looking forward to next year's race.  Thanks to all the volunteers, sponsors, and riders who help to make this event happen.  We couldn't do it without you!  Pedal POWder!!

Friday, February 3, 2017

JayP's Backyard Fat Pursuit-2017

I have been dreaming about going back for the Fat Pursuit since missing my only one last year...  A few weeks after the 2015 Fat Pursuit I had a snowboard accident and was life flighted to Denver for a shattered pelvis.  It was a horrific recovery and I had to sit out last year.  I continue to deal with some complications but have been fortunate enough and dedicated to my recovery that I can manage long rides.  Riding continues to help me recover and I'm a big believer that Bikes Save Lives.  Let's Ride!
Loading up and heading out of Spearfish for the 200 mile Fat Pursuit with fellow Ridge Rider 
Josh Bruhn.  
 Our first night we stayed in Kelly, Wyoming at my friend Chance's yurt in the Yurt Park!  There are 14 yurts in the park that share a common bathroom and community area, a really cool concept.  It is always good to see old friends doing well and what they love.  It's also a bonus when they throw down killer meals.  Thanks so much Chance and Elle!

We woke Thursday morning 1/5/17 to -20 degrees and a beautiful sunrise hitting the Tetons.  Chance was off to shred some peaks and we were off to Island Park to check into the Bunk Rooms at the Ponds Lodge.  
It was a beautiful day to drive over Teton Pass and drool on the window, at all the good POW lines.  We listened to weather reports of -36 degrees that morning in West Yellowstone and started getting a little nervous that we had everything we'd need!  
Upon arrival a little after noon we loaded up the bikes and went for a ride!  The Ponds Lodge is race headquarters and a friendly place with good food, beers and all the little last minute items a racer might need.   
 Out on the trails we found firm conditions and day high temps in the single digits.  Josh and I rode out a few miles on the 200K course, crossed the highway, and rode back on the first few miles of the 200 mile course.  It was a groomed super highway!  Back at race headquarters the temps were beginning to fall.  There were a few riders mingling around and I was happy to see gear check and registration was open.  
Cheers to the cold TEMP Fears.

It was a fun evening of eating a lot and tipping back a few brews with old and new friends. 
We retired early to the Bunk House, a comfortable room that could sleep 4 or more.  Two of us managed to spread gear across the whole room.  We checked the weather for Friday evenings 5pm start.  We were expecting a start temp around 0 with lows around -20.  
I started to look for an extra sock layer that would work.  I developed a blood clot while recovering from the pelvis surgery and have had some circulation issues.  My Wolvhammer boots have been adequate for years but this winter I noticed my toes are cold.  I got the new boots in larger size and the new ones have a larger toe box.  I also started using my RBH vapor barrier socks.  I have started using compression socks and found some decent Smartwool compression socks that I use as my base layer.  I put the thick RBH over the top and have been riding comfortably at -15....  I tried getting another sock over the vapor barrier but my boots were too tight.  I did have a thin wool sock to add under the vapor barrier but forgot that little piece for this race...  I thought I would be ok, just keep moving if it gets cold.

It was a decent nights sleep and a morning full of lounging, prepping bikes, recharging devices with fresh batteries and pacing.  We got checked out of the room, packed the car and headed to the Ponds Lodge for another meal before the start.  I loaded all my bottles and insulated hydration pack with hot water shortly before the start.  It was finally 4:50 and time to roll out front for the start.  

There were some pic opportunities while riders rolled around the start area and a call out to have riders line up for a group picture.  Cameras clicked, and Mike Riemer Salsa Cycles marketing manager shared some encouraging words that hit home.  He has been to many of these winter ultras and knows how to coach and stoke riders on the starting line and thru dire times.  Thanks to Mike KID Riemer and Salsa Cycles a major sponsor of this event.  
Jason Wolf from Salt Lake City has became a Fat Pursuit friend!  Sharing some good luck with him before the start.

Josh Bruhn stoked and geared up for his first Fat Pursuit.

Riders rolling out into the sunset!  
We rolled out of the arches of the Ponds Lodge at 5pm with below zero temps.  Riders were hunkered down and cranking away on a well packed Snowmobile Trail Highway following the beautiful Henry's Fork River.  Flocks of swans floated in the current amongst the icy banks.  I was amazed by the beauty and opportunity to ride this event.  Faster than the sun could set the temps started to DROP!  About an hour or so into ride it was -15. Riding the groomed single track in Harriman Park was a highlight of the ride.  The riding was scenic, even in the dark of night that soon surrounded us.  

Dropping into Mesa Falls overlook I could feel the cold air starting to drop even more.  There was a cool looking historical visitor center cabin with a single tracked pack going past to an overlook above the river.  This was the out and back section that required us to pick a unique candy from the sack located by some glow sticks.  I chose blueberry and thought about whether it was appropriate to bring only the wrapper?  I had never seen this type of candy before, it was a Farr Candy Bar out of Idaho Falls.  It was round and harder than a golf ball, it had to wait.  
The climb out of Mesa Falls was a nice warm up after being down in the cold river bottom.  The riding continued along the river and it was amazing.  The cold air combined with the star light made for some interesting lighting.  We crossed the river and began a long climb.  It was cold but I felt good.  I had managed to keep my hydration hose from freezing by drinking regularly.  I drank a 100 oz. by midnight and was taking frequent pee breaks.  It was around midnight in the middle of that climb I heard my pedal pop and groan.  I pedaled a couple more revolutions and it came off the spindle still clipped to my boot.  I fumbled with it and got it back on the spindle gave it a good thrust and mounted to ride.  It lasted for a few hundred yards and came off.  I tried this frustrating technique for awhile and resorted to riding the spindle.  Mile 45 and about 35 miles to the aid station.  About this time a rider went by and I told him my problems.  The rider apparently rode into the Pond's Lodge headquarters  but he did let race officials know of my situation.  I didn't get a good look at him in the dark or see his rider plate # but Thanks to him I had a pedal waiting for me when I got to aid station #1!

  I had been riding with Graham Muir for several hours through the cold.  He had a thermometer and had told me it was -31 degrees and it got colder!  We had discussed the merits of taking a break and sheltering in the bivy but both agreed it might be too cold to get warm.  I was extremely tired but kept pushing on and had decided to keep moving until I got to Aid Station #1 mile 80.  I fell asleep riding several times both pushing and while riding.  I had a funny experience where I dreamt I was on a training ride for the Fat Pursuit and suddenly woke and realized I was racing the Fat Pursuit!  
Josh had caught up with me around 3am and I had been worthless as a staggering drunk but his stoke and presence brought me out of my slumber.  We both agreed that it would be best to make Aid #1 and rode on into the early morning hours.  Bakers Draw downhill was super cold and fresh moose tracks covered the trail.  As we closed in on Aid #1 the sun was beginning to come up and the lighting was amazing.  
Josh was with me and commented on the LARGE fresh cat tracks on the trail.  I agreed!  One of the things I love about winter is all the animal tracks stand out.  
A cold morning pedal exchange.  I broke my Crank Brothers pedal around mile 45 and managed to ride the spindle to the first checkpoint at Mile 80.  
It seemed like it took a long time after sunrise to reach the party at Chick Creek Aid Station #1.  Upon entry we were requested to light up our stoves and boil water.  I have choose the past few years to use and alcohol stove and have had good luck.  I'm aware of the drawbacks of alcohol stoves but love the simplicity.   I have used it well below zero before but it was -10.  This year I had to work to get the alcohol to light, but once lit it boiled water quickly.  I showed the staff my blueberry candy bar from Mesa Falls and my required duties at Aid #1 were done.  
While getting the boil going I was handed coffee!  I loved it and I came out of my 5th slumber of the morning. I High Fived all the aid station personnel, got into the covered pop up to sip some soup and chat with Fat Friends.  Bruhn was heating up his toes and we all hovered around the small heat source.  It wasn't much but it gave the illusion of taking the edge off.  I was now fully awake and not interested in sleeping.  I got loaded up and told Bruhn I was out.  He said right behind ya!  Cool
It had warmed up to zero and we were off for West Yellowstone.  
Leaving Aid Station #1 mile 80!

The long expanse of the Black Canyon Trail setting in and getting cold again.
Josh Riding and throwing horns going to West Yellowstone!

Making friends at the Black Canyon Trail intersection.  Kellie Nelson was waiting for Graham  and they would finish the 125k course together.

It was a pleasant afternoon of riding.  Temps had warmed up and we had the stoke from seeing a few of the 125k races and rode with some of the other 200 mile racers.  Shortly after getting onto the Black Canyon trail Bruhn was pulled over and seeking dry socks.  I ate some food while he switched socks and pulled his base layer off for the first time revealing purple toes!  I could tell his toes hurt bad and suggested he get to a clinic or the Aid Station in Yellowstone ASAP.   Bruhn is a trooper or rather a warrior.  He was back on his bike and not another word about it we needed to get to Aid Station #2.  Unfortunately ASAP would be 5 hours! 

We caught up with Jason Wolf and he told us he had frost bite on his toes.  I told him about Bruhn's and we rode together for the next 3+ hours in deteriorating conditions.  Shortly before dark it started snowing and we were over 24hrs. into the ride.  I kept thinking we were getting close to West but it was an illusion.  My energy dropped off and I was slowing, problem was I was and not eating and tired.   Should have bivied...

Passing the snowmobile trail groomer before West Yellowstone.
Coming into West I was depleted and making poor choices.  I was behind Bruhn and J. Wolf and followed tracks into town that left the course gps track.  I was thinking that maybe the Aid Station was off course a block or two like the previous years I had done this event?  Bruhn was near main street when I came up on him and the tracks he had followed were now covered.  Bruhn was now really hurting from the forstbite and needed the shelter.  I should have just stayed on the GPS track and it would have lead me there...  But at this point we had been on course for nearly 30 hours and 126 miles and my brain was froze.  With the help of our volunteer friend Chris Gallagher we were able to locate the aid station that was right on the track...  Not Funny at the time.

Bruhn's toes purple and blistered, second degree Frostbite!
Once in the aid station we were treated to grilled cheese sandwhiches and chicken noodle soup.  Jason was already soaking his frostbit toes and they made room for Bruhn to get his soaking in warm water.  As I ate my food the volunteers asked about my toes and I said they were fine.  He said OK, lets see them, and for the first time I peeled back my compression sock and saw both big toes were as white as ghosts.  Dang, I guess I did get nipped a bit and didn't know it.  My toes had been cold several times but I felt I had walked it off.  Before I knew it the volunteers had my feet soaking in warm water.  Between the frostbite and extreme fatigue I was done with my 200 mile Fat Pursuit.  It hurt to call it quits but I don't think my toes would have faired well to keep going.  We had the volunteers call us in as a scratch...

Out of 27 entrants in the 200 mile Fat Pursuit there was ONE finisher.  Congratulations to Aaron Gardner from Victor, Idaho.  He came to finish and won by taking head, he bivied down when it got cold, had the right gear and knew how to use it.  Chapeau Aaron!  
Aaron Gardner finisher party with his wife kids and Fat Pursuit Family!

Stoked to see Aaron finish and his family waiting for him.  

Thanks to Jay and Tracey Petervary for hosting this amazing event!  Thanks to all the volunteers and sponsors who continue to support them and of course all the amazing riders who toe the line.   It was great to spend time with the Fat Pursuit family and the friends getting there and back.  

Bikes Save Lives!  Bruhn and I are already planning on going back to finish the 200 mile Fat Pursuit and expand our winter riding experiences.  Pedal POWer!

Monday, March 28, 2016

What's New for the 2016 Dakota Five-O

As we gear up for registration to open up this Friday, April 1st 2016 at 7am mtn time, we'd like to announce a few changes we've made for the race.  First off, registration will now be held with!  We have been in contact with bikereg and hope to ensure a smooth registration process for all of you.  There will also be a waitlist available on the site, so if you aren't able to get in, you can add your name to the waitlist in hopes of a rider not being able to make it, and you being able to take their spot! The waitlist is capped at 100 riders.
During registration there will now be an option to buy extra T-shirts!  Every year we are bombarded with folks asking to buy extra T-shirts so this will be your chance to get a shirt for friends, family or your own collection.  Our t-shirts aren't the typical cut and paste, same logo year after year T-shirts.  They are custom pieces of art that are hand drawn every year by artist and fellow Ridge Rider, Les Heiserman, and in my opinion are a collectible item!
We have also added a 60 and over class this year, due to the continued pleading from the folks that
continue to amaze us with their fitness at 60 plus years of age!  Way to be an inspiration to all of us riders that hope to continue on riding after we retire, and have ample time to enjoy the outdoors by bike!
Finally, our sponsors and friends at Dykstra Pottery/Good Earth and Healthsourse Chiropractic, are offering a $500 bonus to any Single Speed rider that can take an overall win at the Dakota Five-O race/ride/tour.  To clarify, this doesn't mean winning just the single speed class, but the overall field...all classes included.  We've always had a soft spot for the single speeder here at the Five-O, so here is a chance for you burly riders to take home the bacon!!  Can it be done???  We'll have to see.
We look forward to seeing you all on the line.  Pedal Power!!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Pedaling in POWder at the 28 Below

One thing you need to understand about the Black Hills, is that the hills hold snow.  Even with the exceptionally dry winter we had, and no snow on the ground in town, there was more than enough snow in the high country for Fat Biking at the 2016, 28 Below.  This year was the 3rd Annual event, and even though the race takes place in mid March, so far 2 out of 3 races have been full on winter events!!  In all actuality we tend to get some of our biggest storms of the season in March, and this year was no exception!  With the race set to take place on Saturday, the snow started falling on Thursday and didn't stop until the race was over.  Due to the fact that the state Groomers had already called it quits for the year with the low snow, we decided to bring in a 30 inch groomer to pave the way for riders.  We spent all day Thursday and Friday out grooming, only to have it dumped on and covered with 5+inches of fresh snow by race day.  
Futile grooming
Due to the fresh snow, and what we knew would be tough riding conditions, we made the call to shorten the course.  Instead of turning onto the 7 miles of powder covered Trail 3a, we opted to stay on Wagon Canyon road, which was a 2 mile stretch on a gravel road, with much less powder.  From there riders would reunite with the course, and slug it out through the snowy forest.
Riders head up the Wagon Canyon Reroute.
Back on Course, Snowmobile Trail #3 climbing to Cement Ridge.
The race started with 57 riders toeing the line, at 8am Saturday morning, and temps in the low teens.  In all everyone had a great time even though most riders water tubes froze up instantly, and there was a lot of hike a bike through the soft, new powder that covered much of the trail.
When in doubt let air out, was the theme of the day.
The 28 Below race, is the only permitted event in the Black Hills that takes place on groomed snowmobile trail.  It consists of a roughly 30+ mile lollipop loop, with an out and back on a spur trail up to a fire lookout called Cement Ridge. 
Cement Ridge Aid Station.

The first sign of blue sky as riders leave Cement Ridge.
The fire lookout is around mile 18 and makes for a great aid station, as the views from this refuge gives riders a 360 degree view of the surrounding forest.  But being out in no man's land, it isn't an easy task to get our volunteers up there.  Luckily we have some of the best volunteers and friends a race director could ask for, and they always manage to make it to the top in time to serve up some of tasty Rachel's homemade chicken noodle soup.  This year they used a 4x4 and blazed through 5+ inches of fresh powder, with the boys white knuckling up front and the girls squealing and cheering in the back as they slid, jumped and sped their way to the top.
Thanks to Kirk Munro's mad driving skills and Legend Air Suspensions
beast of a vehicle, for getting staff and supplies safely to the top!!
Once up top they began to set up camp, but soon realized they forgot the soup pan back at the cabin!  As Christian was about ready to heat up the garbage can lid and start the soup a boiling, Heather made a quick phone call (Cement Ridge is the only spot on course with cell reception) to fellow Ridge Rider Brian Stampe.  That set in motion a series of events that got a pan to the top, and the soup to a near boil, just in time for the first rider to roll in.  Now that's teamwork, dedication, and one helluva group of good friends and volunteers!!  As the day progressed the Jameson and Crown Royal bottles were emptied, the soup was devoured, and every rider was treated to some of the best hospitality this side of the Rockies.
A steamy shot of Jameson will heal what ails ya!

Bacon drop at Cement Ridge!
The racing itself was close as riders vied for position, letting out pressure, trying to find the best line, often crashing in the soft white powder, and growing some beautiful white frostaches and ice-beards.
In the end local rider Zach Stone took the podium with a time of 2:50:42, followed closely by another local Nate Keck, just a minute behind.  We had six ladies finish the ride this year with Aubry Hoard taking the win in a time of 3:47:34. 
Second Place Women's, Paulette Kirby finishes with a smile.
Zach Stone takes the win!
The after party, hosted out of Spearfish Canyon Lodge, is a great venue as the race starts and finishes right out the front door.   There was plenty of beer from our local brewers at Crow Peak Brewery, some live music, and food for all the racers to enjoy.  The prize table was also overflowing with some great schwag from all of our sponsors, and everyone ended up with a prize off the table.  Equal cash was awarded to the top 3 mens and women's overall, and Quarq even gave out a Fatbike Powermeter valued at $1200, to the overall fastest rider of the day!

Zach Stone takes home the Fatbike Quarq Powermeter!
Top 3 women take home the cash!
To add a little fun to the race this year, we held an on course Easter Egg hunt.  48 eggs were filled with candy, a slip of paper that riders could redeem for a prize, and were scattered throughout the course. Prizes included Salsa Water Bottles, Sram hats or socks, Acme coozies, RMS care packages, and various other items donated by our AWESOME sponsors.  The Golden Egg was found at the top of Cement Ridge, and had the special prize of a Four Deep down tube bag from Dirtbags, for the lucky winner.  We even heard someone found an egg in the Cement Ridge outhouse!  You just never know where you might find an egg.
Golden Egg Found
This year's 28 below was a challenging ride that tested riders endurance and their will to hike-a-bike.  We hope everyone had a great time, and maybe learned a few lessons on the challenges of winter riding.  We look forward to seeing everyone back next year for the 4th annual 28 Below Race/Ride/Tour.  Pedal POWer!

A special thanks to all of our awesome volunteers, and the sponsors who help make this race possible.