31. Frozen Beaver ’16

Frozen-Beaver-45NRTH-Ontario-fat-bike-race-seriesBrrr.  Nobody likes a frozen beaver–especially the beaver.

We’re a few days away from the Frozen Beaver, race #3 in the 45NRTH Ontario Fatbike Series, presented by Dan Marshall and Substance Projects, along with Cycle Solutions.  Are you registered?

I’m not.  BECAUSE I SOLD MY FATBIKE AND IT’S ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE TO FIND AN XL FATBIKE IN ONTARIO RIGHT NOW!!!  Yeah, three exclamation points.  Three!!!

Well, I can find an XL fatbike, but I just bought a gravel bike (for Dan’s Stuporcross race series–check it out here:  STUPORCROSS!) and I promised my wife I’d sell a bike on order to buy a bike, and now I can’t find the bike I WANT (a 2017 Norco Bigfoot 6.1).  You see, my plan was to sell my old fatbike, that wasn’t a great fit, buy the gravel bike, and then talk my way into a new fatbike, because, well, fatbike!  But dang it.  I was foiled by savvy Ontario fatbike shoppers who bought all of this year’s stock.  Perhaps I shouldn’t have written a blog titled “Why YOU Need A Fatbike” until after I bought a replacement…   You can check out the post here, at Riding Feels Good, or on my blog My blog!.

Unless you’re looking for an XL 2017 Norco Bigfoot 6.1…  Don’t read it, and you DON’T need a fatbike.

So, unfortunately, unless I can find a bike to borrow or rent for this weekend–which I’m working on–I’ll have to settle for a fond look back to one year ago…

Cue time machine SFX and time travel music.

To get me into the mood, here’s a picture of my 2016 OCA licence. 2016-oca-license

It was the morning of January 9, 2016.  I woke up at 5:30AM, and I just knew the Frozen Beaver–the inaugural race in the Substance Projects/45NRTH Ontario Fatbike Race Series –would be the BEST inauguration (and probably the most widely attended inauguration) for the next 12 months…

Unfortunately, it was anything but frozen.

However, fortunately, it was race day!  Two 7.5k laps for the half marathon racers (hey, that’s me) and 4 laps for the marathon riders.  The race was at Dufferin County Forest, about an hour north of Toronto, on trails that were maintained by the cool people at Team Van Go (I love those folks).

However, unfortunately, the lack of freezing resulted in a course that can be summed up in an alternate title for this blog “The Slush, Slush, Slushie Beaver”.

However, fortunately, the race was a Dan Marshall/Substance Projects/Cycle Solutions/45NRTH collaboration, and that meant it was sure to be AWESOME to the power of WICKED.

I arrived and there were droves of riders.  Literal droves.  I knew it would be wicked. I changed into my gear in Dan’s Change Tent, and chatted with my people.  Then, I changed my tire pressure, changed my tire pressure again, changed my tire pressure once more, and lined up to race.  Boom, we were off.

And then it hit us.  Well, it slapped us with a half-frozen, half-unfrozen, sopping-wet, hand:  Slush, slush, and slush. That meant the race was two laps of the hardest riding/biking/hiking ever.  Okay, it wasn’t that hard, but it sure felt like it.  We weren’t just hiking our bikes through the heavy slush.  It was warm and we were sweating.  Yeah, sweating.

It may have been the middle of winter, but it was 7 degrees.  Apple trees blossomed.  Birds chirped.  Maple trees made syrup (you know, because boiling…)

Plus, I was a mess on my bike.  Actually, it was only my actual second time ever on an actual fat bike. For the record, my first time was the night before for a quick zip in my neighbourhood at about 10PM.  I knew I had two options:  Get on my bike and pedal, or get off my bike and walk. With the slush, riding was mostly impossible because there was no traction and it was almost impossible to stay on my line, and walking was just a tough slog.  Whatever. It was a Saturday morning, and I was at a race!  So, I spent a bunch of my time cursing “my damn line”, a bunch of it cursing “the damn slush in my boots”, and the rest of it flying over my handle bars (because I do my own stunts).

And every second of it was awesome.

Fatbiking is awesome.

Fatbike racing is awesome.

Cue time machine SFX and time travel music.

It’s 2017.

Well, the Frozen Beaver sure was the best inauguration ever…

So, here I am, stranded in Toronto, without a fatbike to warm my heart, longing for the day I took my fatbike for a 7.5k walk/bike/hike/slip–twice–at Dufferin County Forest, in the 2016 Frozen Beaver.

Not because the conditions were crap.

Not because it was uncomfortably warm, but still chilly, and really really sweaty.

Because it was a fatbike race, and fatbike races are awesome (to the power of wicked), and Dan Marshall and his crew did everything to make it amazing.

Sigh.

You can register here: Frozen Beaver Registration.  It’s cheaper until midnight tonight, and they’ll even have a skinnybike category.  Maybe the stars will align and I’ll find a bike by then.  Hopefully.  Another sigh.  The weather looks awesome, and it’ll be below zero, probably with a lick of snow as well.  Can’t beat that.

Ride.

UPDATE:

I posted this blog at 8:45.  At 9:30, Jamie Davies, from Evolution Cycles! said I could borrow his bike (An Ithaqua.  Drool).  Awe.  Some.  Team Colin at the Frozen Beaver!  Boom.

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6 thoughts on “31. Frozen Beaver ’16

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