A successful winter solstice bike race

I woke up this morning with a throbbing headache and a body that did not want to get out of bed.  I could blame it on the encroaching darkness (solstice is only 2 days away) but the truth is that my head hurts because at yesterday’s 5+ Hours of Light Fat Tire Festival I landed on it.

I like to think that biking on snow is actually gentler than summer dirt, but the truth is that I fall off my mukluk more often and at weirder angles than I do on my mountain bike.  At least, most of the time, I’m moving more slowly in the winter.  Yesterday though, that wasn’t the case.  The course included a short, steep downhill that ended in a big sloppy mess of snow.  Riding the hill wasn’t too bad but, if you hit the mush pile at the bottom at the wrong angle and were going too fast, you were hooped.  Lots of people crashed in this spot.

Although I took more than 50 photographs yesterday, I do not have one of me wiping out on this hill.  I did, however, capture this series of Jonah taking a spill shortly after mine.

These photographs are remarkable primarily because Jonah is more often seen blowing past past other riders with his mad skillz and his huge heart than he is crashing his bike.  In fact, he started the race 15 minutes after I did and still caught up to me before the end of my 38 minute lap.  Not surprisingly, Jonah won the event by riding 7 laps (approximately 46km).  The team category went to the Pearson boys (and one girl) who also completed 7 laps.

At the end of the day 26 people participated in Whitehorse’s 1st annual solstice fat bike race. Biathlon Yukon allowed us to use their facilities so we were able to stay warm even as the wind gusted up to 65km/hour.  The weather wasn’t perfect (it was a little bit too warm so the snow was quite soft) but it certainly could have been worse had temperatures dipped into the -30s or if it had actually rained as originally forecast.

There were fatbacks, pugsleys and mukluks at the race, but no one tried a regular mountain bike. Given the softness of the trails, I think this was a wise decision.  
There were men, women, and kids at the race, but no one cried.

And yes, there were tricks and crashes and endos, but no one was hurt.  Some of us are just sore.

We are at that time of the year when the sun shines for only a few hours, but those of us in the north know how to make the most of what we’ve got.  It was a fun day.

There’s a certain slant of light,
on winter afternoons,
~ Emily Dickinson

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