Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Copper Harbor Fat Tire Festival 2011

Welcome back everyone to the Farm Team Blog! Everyone on the team has been pretty busy this year and talking about it hasn't been to high on the priority list.

Anyway, as is usual for me on Labor day weekend I headed up to the Keweenaw for the Fat Tire. I drove up to Houghton early on Thursday so I could get a short ride in on the trails at MTU. There are trails there for all levels of riders and they are constantly being updated. After dinner at the Library and a few beers with some friends at the KBC, I headed to bed.

On Friday I headed up to the Harbor to pre-ride the race course. This is where the weekend really got interesting, after a rather spirited ride up through the keweenaw, my car engine decided it really didn't want to work anymore. So I limped the car to the bike shop, and decided to deal with that after the ride. The ride was pretty fun for most of it, riding some new trail that I hadn't seen yet and reacquainting myself with the trails I hadn't ridden for a year. At some point during the ride my seldom used (at least in lower MI) granny ring decided that it was going to loosen up and try to fall off. I lost one bolt in the process, but was able to replace it later without any problem. When we finished the ride we went to the bike shop and my rally racer friend Will called a shop he knew in Houghton to make sure they were open, and we slowly headed in that direction while it sounded like there was a gnome with a jackhammer getting to work inside the motor. luckily we made it back there and hopefully they'll be able to get it going strong again.

After another fun night in Houghton I hitched a ride up to CH on Sat to watch the Super D race, I was going to ride it but with my luck level low I decided to just go for an easy ride and get ready for the race on Sunday. I probably should have raced it, and hopefully will next year, but oh well.

When I got up on Sunday morning I was very enthused to see that it was raining and 50ish (I should have brought embrocation), not exactly ideal race conditions for a trail littered with wood bridges and rock. Luckily the race doesn't start until 2 and by that time it was about 60 and mostly cloudy with the trail drying out. The race this year started out with a rollout through town to the base of brockway mountain drive, which has some very long and steep sections which put me in my granny ring for long stretches. At the top of the climb (about 3 mi or so of it) we turned in to the Flow trail that snakes its way down the side of the mountain for a about 3 miles of awesome trail to the bottom, and was the trail used for the Super D race the day before. At this point the race was going pretty well and i was feeling pretty well considering that it was only my third race of the year. The race continued this way through many miles of punishing singletrack climbs and rocky technical descents. Toward the end of the first lap I hit a loose rock on the decent of the red trail went down on my left side pretty hard tearing up my arm pretty good and spraining my thumb. While I was a bit bloody, nothing was broken and my bike was fine so I got back up and continued on. The rest of the descent of the red trail went by pretty quick as I had a bit of adrenaline in my system from the crash. at the start of the second lap the pain from the crash and the racing set in pretty good as I climbed up the next big hill, I lost a couple places there and a few more on the descent since I didn't have a good grip on the bar anymore and couldn't use my thumb on the front shifter. It basically became a race of survival then, while trying not to lose too many places. After making it through the rest of the course I got to the finish in 36th place overall (5th in my age group), obviously I wanted to be better but I was glad to make it too the finish. After the race I got may arm cleaned up and enjoyed the awesome Fat Tire After party with live music and plenty of beer.

In the morning I got a ride down to Houghton, to meet up with the Founder's crew to hitch a ride back to GR since my car had to stay there (Good thing I have a Big Dummy at home). Thanks again to those guys for finding some room for me. All told it was a bit of a frustrating weekend, but it was in the Keweenaw so it doesn't matter. I'll be back again next year for sure.

For full results and info on the area and what it has to offer visit www.keweenawadventure.com.

For lots of pictures from the weekend visit Ryan Holt Photography.

I'd like to thank Ada Bike Shop for helping to make sure my bike was ready for the weekend. Stan's Notubes and Kenda Tires for letting my fat ass run a super light wheel and tire setup over a rocky course without worrying about flatting. Also my Air 9 Carbon stood up to a lot of abuse without flinching. having a 21lb hardtail is nice when you're heading up a long climb, though I'm pretty sure the Jet 9 RDO would be a better choice to this race, maybe next year...

Thanks and hopefully you'll hear from us again soon,
Spandex Steve

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