Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Iditarod Trail Invitational 1000 announcement - 2016

I was chatting to a good mountain biking mate of mine the other day, he was wondering what my next big adventure was. I told him "the Iditarod to Nome - 1000 miles". He seemed surprised - not at the distance or the race - but moreso that I'd not formally announced it.

I know I'd hinted it in FB status updates. I've IG'd it. I've hashtagged it. He had a point though, I just presumed peeps would pick up my cues - but who takes notice of hashtags nowadays? Pfft.


So here it is.

In February 2016, I'll be racing the Iditarod Trail Invitational, the 1000 mile distance (that's 1600km to us metric folk) to Nome, in Alaska, in winter, on a fatbike. I even screenshot part of the 2016 roster, just to prove it:

I just didn't get my fill of cold, ice, danger, sleep debt and mystery this year on the 350, so I went on and signed up for the 1000. Crazy, huh?

I covered a little bit of the race in a previous post Iditarod Prologue, so I won't bore you with the same pics again, but I've got more in store - I'm still threatening to post up those daily race reports and gear list!

The map below could pretty much pass as a satellite image - Alaska in winter is just one big snowcone.

I'll be taking a Trace tracker this time, so you guys can enjoy watching the glacial pace I'll be making along the 1000 mile route. The riveting online discussions you can have about what I'm doing when stationary will be legendary and something that the internet will be proud of.

Sure, I've been training (commuting to work on a Cannondale fatbike is training, yes?) splashing around in the pool, savouring pleasant morning jogs in the bush and using one of those electronic muscle stimulators so I can crunch my abs while watching the telly and blogging. Core strength is crucial people!

I had a nasty knee issue in 2015 from falling on ice during the race, but thanks to the awesome hands and knowledge of my physio Howard Arbuthnot, that's been sorted.

I've changed my diet to low carb/high fat (many thanks to Brisbane Paleo) and refined my lean body mass (reduced 10kg). Carbs are so unfashionable these days, besides I've always wanted an excuse to just eat butter for breakfast and peanut butter M and M's all day long...and you think I'm joking right?

Ahh, please allow my jest.

But no, this is serious stuff. I've been doing all kinds of experiments to see what works for me. I like experiential evidence...and peanut butter cups.

Real food - Bonk Breaker bars from my nutrition sponsor FE Sports - will be there for me again for 2016. 250 calories roughly each, with roughly 50 from fat. Diesel power.

Skratch Labs have these neat portioned energy chews, nitrous oxide injection for this diesel.


I'll be riding my Muru Cycles Witjira titanium bike again, similar setup from 2015, only lighter. I've been drillin' holes in things and changin' out components for lighter options - yeah, I've gone full weight weenie.

Ride Mechanic race lubes kept me rolling smoothly through all kinds of conditions in 2015, why change from a good thing for 2016?

Follow the race updates on the official Iditarod Trail Invitational website and also on my facebook page. Nyree will be updating where possible.

Countdown is on - race day is 28th February, 2:00pm Anchorage time - about 7 weeks away from this post.

I can't wait!

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Global Fat Bike Day 2015

Global Fat Bike Day - it's a worldwide phenomenon that draws fatbikers together to share the stoke of riding their local terrain with like minded folk.

In 2015 for us South East Queensland riders - the destination was the Sunshine Coast. Offering stunning beaches without the highrise view, a fabulous trail network and gravel road options for the return loop - something for everybody. Including a pub counter meal at the end!

My day started well before dawn, getting 20km in the legs to my rendezvous point - I then hitched a ride with Chris and his new Borealis Echo up the coast, our journey starts from the backtracks at Perigian beach...

As the Australian fatbike ambassador for Cannondale, I had my new Fat CAAD 1 to session. Minimalist approach today - just the bare essentials. Strapped to the bars I have my Zipshot tripod, my camera (Panasonic FT2) in the top tube bag, one water bottle (I didn't want anything on the huge downtube to spoil that Cannondale graphic, and nothing on my back), my Blackburn Outpost HV pump secreted on the seattube and my lights, spare tube and sunscreen in the seatbag.

It was quite a gathering on the path out front of the surf club, checking out each others bikes and setups. Carbon, alloy, titanium and steel all well represented.

A hot topic was chain lube (Ride Mechanic Bike Milk - nothing better) and of course tyre pressure!

Much frolicking! As usual, fatbikes bring out the big kids in all of us. Brenno on his Muru Witjira doing...something...in the background here - fatbikes are about fun!

'yes, the fork is more aero' 

'yes, I got the fork at half price'

We had a brisk tailwind up the beach, temps were mild at about 25 degrees C (okay, 77F).

20 riders showed this year - we had 5 in 2014, 2 in 2013 and solo mio in 2012. Much discussion went into the correct name of a 'collective' of fatbikers.

Everybody just found their groove, be it up higher on the beach or closer to the waterline, catching up with mates, having a race, or just chewing the fat.

As Russell Coight would say: "all too soon it was time to leave the beach and head for the hills, on some trails that skirted the national park. These trails are easy to see during the day, but hard to see at night, because it's dark."

Terry on his freshly built Salted Sandfly, and enjoying the smooth comfort of that Thudbuster. Chris with those blue hoops, and hardman Eric - a veteran of Fraser Island bike expeditions - on a Krampus.

We were headed for Laguna Lookout - overlooking Noosa township, the river and North shore.
Matt here showing us the correct way to descend tech trail obstacles, on his bright carbon Fatboy.

A quick smoko break - Bonk Breaker bars got me through some very tough times in Alaska on the Iditarod - Brenno reckons eating them has improved his riding and the health of his beard too. What a stud!

This little tike had the fattest tyres of all* as well as a disc wheel and aero frame. They breed them fast here - the home of the Noosa triathlon!

*to scale of width, volume, ground pressure, body weight

Nick (on the left of image) only picked up his new Fatboy at 4:30am that morning - the first ride was to be on the sand, while Paul and Leanne are no strangers to the fatbike genre on 2 heavily modified, full rigid Salted Sandflies (hint - only one bike had pink Nexties)

All too soon it was time to hit the road (another Coight meme). We bombed our way down the hill from Laguna lookout on some secret singletrack, to swan our way along the hoity-toity of Hastings St. Wayne on his Moonlander just cruising along, admiring the health of the trees and the integrated watering systems.

John (Salsa Mukluk) our local guide, found us a bit of double entendred 'North Shore' on our way to the marina for morning tea.

A quiver of fat!

 All too soon, it was time to quit the road, the fancy coffee shop and head for the trails of Tewantin. "Set amongst the tall eucalypts and cabbage tree palms, the singletrack here was sandy with a light covering of leaf litter, as well as branches with a sandy base underneath" (trail description taken directly from Russell Coights new book 'How I got this black eye and other injuries')

Chris - a veteran of several Tours de Roto - was eager to pin it on the Echo.

Paul has an efficient fast, flowy grace, with Nick hot on his heels.

My bike was patiently waiting for its turn...

 ...then boom!

We regrouped at the trailhead, to be greeted by a huge group of those skinny tyred mtbers - with lefties!

The party over, we began our journey South for the final leg to the pub on back roads...

...and fire trails. Neil leading us out with his extensive, encyclopedic knowledge of trails in the South East QLD region.

Erk! Both Jason and John got sticks in the tyres - Jason had to run out while Johns remained inflated enough with the stick in place, to ride out on.

Arrival at the pub with a sweet 66km loop on the Garmin - Nick reckoned that was equal to about 100km on the road. Some changed into their finest, while the rest of us were happy in our stinky, sweaty kit. Hey, chamois time is chamois time before Iditarod!

The beefburger was the choice for many. I'm on controlled diet for Iditarod, so was happy with my Bonk Breaker...

But the day of riding wasn't over for me. I got a lift with Wayne back to Northside Brisbane, I still had 40km to ride home. All totalled I ended up with a fantastic 125km of mixed terrain riding on the CAAD 1 for the day, 3500 calories burnt and 3 Bonk Breakers consumed. Iditarod Trail Invitational 1000 is 12 weeks away...