Freewheel Bike held their Winter Bike Expo 2013 at their Midtown Bike Center this weekend and I was around both mornings, primarily wearing my MORC/IMBA member hat (unlike last year), as I did my first ever booth duty stint.
Tag: <span>Freewheel Bike</span>
Freewheel Bike held their 2nd annual Winter Bike Expo ("the world headquarters of winter riding fanatics") yesterday at their Midtown Bike Center. The fat bikes were everywhere (Surly and Salsa each had a big presence) and since I’m doing some work on the 2nd Annual Fat Bike Winter Summit & Festival coming up in January, the Expo gave me a picture of how much enthusiasm there is here in Minnesota for fat biking.
I hadn’t planned on going but on Friday night, I had dinner with Aaron Hautala, president of the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Crew and while I was under the influence, he influenced me to go. I got to chew the fat (heh) again with former Northfielder John Gaddo, Outside Sales Rep at QBP (Quality Bicycle Products). He introduced me to Joe Meiser, Q’s Product Design Manager who, just a few days ago, had sent me all his photos from the 1st Annual Fat Bike Summit for posting on the site. I also got to talk fat bike advocacy with IMBA Midwest Regional Director Hansi Johnson.
I took a photo of Hansi and Aaron, two guys who, unlike me, actually know what they’re doing with a camera. (See some of Aaron’s photos on his Sweet Cuyuna Living’ blog; see some of Hansi’s photos on his Universal Klister blog.) Alas, I was laughing when I took their photo and ended up with a very blurry image. So I’ve covered up my mistake with a stylized version of it. My choice of red was influenced by red accent that Aaron has used all over his Cuyuna Series G Surly Moonlander, which he had just outfitted with monster 4.8" Bud and Lou tires from Surly, complete with red valve stem caps.
See my large slideshow of 56 photos (recommended) or SLOW CLICK this small slideshow:
I was a little apprehensive about it, as I’d heard a few comments about how Afton is the toughest venue of the entire series because of the climbing required. And on Saturday, the day before the race, temps were in the 90s. Turns out, race day temps were in the upper 50s with a drizzly sky. Perfect.
As I lined up at 9:30 for the Citizens Class, I looked around for other fellow 60+ geezers and found two: Gary Schildgen from Dellwood and Brad Beisel from Plymouth. "Guaranteed podium," we laughed.
The climbing was indeed tough. In three places on the course, I got off to walk my bike, not because of the sheer difficulty but because my legs were crying out for a different set of muscles to take over. I also discovered I could walk the bike up these sections faster than I could ride. Most other riders I saw did likewise.
Some of the downhills had bumpy washboard sections so you couldn’t really relax on those. And there were a few downhill turns that were flat with loose gravel. I wiped out hard on one and threw my chain, but got up without a scratch as I had my knee/shin protectors on and was wearing my new padded gloves, courtesy of a Penn Cycle swag drawing at Buck.
I was thrilled to pass a few riders since I’d only passed one rider the whole race at Buck. My 29’er flies on any kind of downhill so on Loop 2, I tried to position myself to make some passes just prior to a downhill. That’s the extent of my first attempt to think strategically. I have no idea if it’s sound.
I’ve learned that a cross-country mountain bike race is a very different experience than just riding a single-track as fast as I can. The pure pleasure of a rolling, berm-and-obstacle filled trail isn’t there, at least not yet with the two race venues I’ve experienced. But the overall physical challenge is much greater and therefore the end result is quite satisfying. And the social environment before and after a race is definitely fun. I think I’ll keep doing it.
See the large slideshow of 46 photos (recommended) or SLOW CLICK this small slideshow: