…..and then there was the snowbike race at Copper on Saturday night. I didn’t know what to expect, but I was excited that it was at night! I was shocked at how many people showed up! I think the final count was 162!
I had glow stick necklaces on my bike!
TV Summit 8 interviewed me while we were waiting to start, and then things got fun. I’ll admit that I am not the best with bike maintenance. I turn a blind eye until it gets bad. Let’s face it, brakes need to be bled sometimes. My front brake had barely been working for a month, but I kept putting it off because the back brake worked and I didn’t need superior braking power for mostly dirt road riding. The front brake got worse up at Leadville… like it didn’t work anymore. I figured it wouldn’t matter because I still had a rear brake and the Copper course wasn’t hilly. Well, at the start, I squeezed my rear brake and it pulled all the way to the handlebar.
“I do not have brakes….” I had maybe 10-15% braking power. I was already there – dressed, lights mounted, number plate on the bike. I was there for the experience. The course was 2 laps, so I decided to take a risk and start with essentially no brakes. I did not start aggressively knowing I would not be able to make corrections if someone were to crash in front of me. I was fine until we got to the the one DH of the race. I went about 10′ down and veered off the trail so I’d be able to stop. I walked down it and was resigned to the fact that it would be even more of a “fun” ride and less of a competitive ride. It was a little irritating, but I tried not to care. I thought about stopping after 1 lap, but decided, “eh, what the hell. I’ll just be careful.”
I had a great time. There ended up being a LOT of walking and running with the bike through the snow – precisely what I had been doing all day at Leadville.
This was the “trail!” The people on snowbikes killed it. This type of course is also tough because if people are walking in front of you and you are riding, you will probably lose momentum trying to get around them and have to walk yourself. It’s very difficult to get started again when it looks like this once you lose momentum.
I also got to ride with Kristi Olson who kept me company for quite awhile.
The back side of the course was the most frustrating because it was road and bike path. I had to go a speed where I could put my foot down to brake to make the corners, so that was slow. It was actually kind of cool to slow down. I got to see the determination in the people around me who were racing, I got to look around, and I even got to see fireworks.
It was also a good opportunity to stop and take photos and videos. Eh, why not?
The best part about it was the great attitude of everyone around – and that was “THIS IS FUN!!!!!!!”
Oh yeah, here is a post I wrote awhile back with tips for snowbiking sans snowbike on my Elevation Outdoors blog.