What a fun learning experience! The first Fat Bike National Championships were held last Saturday, February 14 in Ogden, UT and I couldn’t pass up on the chance to get my heart racing on Valentines Day. Among a seasoned masters field I lined up for my first fat bike race on my “hot off the press” Kings Peak fat bike form Fezzari. I spend a lot of time on a bike and race a fair bit, but a new flavor of racing always exposes your weaknesses. After a brief climb off the start line I became aware of my rookie mistake for the race, I did not engage in the pre-race banter about bike set-ups and chose a 28 toothed chain ring that left me spun out on the flats. This was my opportunity to maximize my strengths and make the most out of my deficits. I focused on recovering on the flats and not getting caught up in doubt when the field pulled away. I charged on the climbs and worked the downhills like a BMX course (Powder Mountain used snow park equipment to makes banked turns on the course – so much fun). My strategy kept me in the hunt and in the end I surprised myself with a second place finish. Pretty cool.
Lessons learned: 1.) If you are new to a venue, event, distance, etc., it is really valuable pre-race to chat up more experienced riders and gleam whatever insights they are generous to share. If conversations are centering around clothing choice, it is likely an important factor that day, or if how you de-glaze rotors is all the rage you had better make sure your brakes are in tip-top shape. 2.) There may be a fewer less ladies at the start line than in the men’s division, but those ladies have real grit. Stefanie Kyser may have been the solo female single speed racer but she was fast; really fast! Rebecca Rusch was the expected champion her masters division race, but then she raced the open division two hours later and put down three equally fast laps. The women’s field more than makes up for sparse quantity with the quality of the riders. Regardless, we need more girls racing bikes! 3.) Having a cheering squad is the best.
What a perfect day. Thanks you Fezzari for my fantastic fat steed, and Sage Coaching Multi-Sport for shaking the cow bells for me.