Monday, March 7, 2016

Rollin' fat or in my case pushing the fat - '16 Fatbike Birkie 47k

Shit, God dammit, son of a biscuit. Yeah, cuz son of a bitch is just too harsh. Looking down I now knew why my bike felt bouncier than normal. A flat, 10 miles in, 19 to go, 32 degrees, snow, trees, wilderness, the North Woods of Wisconsin. I've been in this place before and much to my dismay in a similar predicament. Only this time the course and distance were well within my capabilities. I actually had visions of standing up on the podium a few hours from now.....until this happened. Well shit, what now? Take a breath, take the wheel off, fix it, get back to racing. I can rally. Tubeless would have been so much better. It's my cheap-ass fault. Al wanted to set our bikes up tubeless.....I never gave him the okay to order the fatty strippers (funny name). Now look. Tim's pre race sentiment running through my head "You'd have to be one unlucky dude to get a flat on a snowy course like the Birkie." So here I stand with my wheel in my hand trying to fix the unfixable flat. Unfixable cuz I just don't have enough air in my repair kit to fill the tube to seat the tire bead on the wheel. I'm starting to get cold. It's settled, I'll run the 1-2 miles back to the last aid station and see if there's a pump or a mechanic that can save me. 

Flash forward two days. I'm sitting at my computer recounting the weekend's experience summing it up to "oh fucking well, you win some you lose some." I earned a DNF and I was pretty pouty most of Saturday. It was hard initially to exude brevity while feeling as if I didn't really "earn" those hoppy beverages at the Saw Mill. I still drank them, but it was with reluctance . . . sort of. 

Today, as I reflect, I realize I did earn them. This experience has taught me that it's not just about standing shoulder to shoulder with the fastest cyclists on the course, it's about standing shoulder to shoulder with adversity and growth. The Fatbike Birkie didn't end up as I had planned, but from the 20k I was able to ride / run / push my bike, I was taken aback by how magical the area is. The rolling hills, the rivers and creeks no longer frozen, the spiny tree branches gently dropping puffs of snow onto the ground and the stillness I encountered when no other riders were nearby. Wisconsin, I thank you, I have again, learned a lesson.