Fat Tom K’s Post:
As the roving medic responder for the recent ‘Actif Epica’ Race, I was able to capture most of the action with several GoPro HD cameras from on my bike, my vehicle and on foot. A casted right hand may have kept me from racing this event, but it did not keep me off my Pugsley Fat Tire Bike.
29 cyclist and 2 runners took part in the 1st Annual ‘Actif Epica’ EPIC Winter Endurance Race that had participants complete 130 kms of biking trails, gravel roads and field paths from St Malo to Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. The route roughly followed the historic ‘Crow Wing’ trail, which is now part of the Trans Canada Trail System.
All particpants completed the race, while the runners completed 50 miles (seriously – in the winter!). Most racers were from Canada, but a few hardy Americans came up for the challenge. Conditions were unusually mild, but still saw the race start early morning at -14 C (-20C Windcill), while it warmed to -2C under sunny skies. We had only a recent fresh dusting of snow on the much lower than normal base of snow. So some racers were able to blast through the route in just over 6 hours, while the last finished in 13.5 hours. There were tough sections of the route that even the ‘Fat Tire’ bikers had to get off and push, so these times were much faster than normal conditions would have allowed. Most bikers were on mountain bikes (29er was the steed of choice) and Fat Tire bikes, as well as a few on Cross/Hybids. Blair, J.P. and Paul, the three top finishers blasted in, but still chose to cross the finish line together – classy! Running 50 miles in winter conditions is just hardcore nuts! Kudos to Chris and Dallas!! I got to drive them to the start line and I can attest to them being even crazier than me ;-)!
The race was a huge success, with numerous sponsors (nice entry prizes!), partner community winter activities connected and a true spirit of “Celebrating Human Resilience” in the cold Canadian north! This was due to the organizing skill, creativity and enthusiasm of Ian Hall and David Pensato, along with Danna Hall’s large team of happy volunteers hosting the five checkpoints, the sleeping-eyed coffee-drinking drivers and those cheering, documenting and ‘Tweeting’ all about it. Major sponsors were the Winnipeg Committe For Safety, Don’s Photo, Olympia Cycle and Ski Shop, MEC, the Festival du Voyageur and many other Partner and Hosting venues. Kyle Thomas and Jared Falk took amazing professional images of the event, including Kyle’s portraits of the bikers at the finish line at Fort Gibraltar at the Festival-du-Voyageur site in Winnipeg, where celebrations marking the Louis Riel Holiday were in full swing. It was a very surreal experience for the racers to finish at the bright, racious and packed festival grounds, having finished a race that had them pedaling across some open prairie, some park woodlands and finally along quiet single track trail in thw woods. Unfortunately, a city water main break made a slushy mess on the frozen ice surface of the Seine River section planned for the end of the race, so a bit of city street detouring was required. No major traffic issues, so all was well.
I look forward to racing next year (no more broken bones please!) and fully embracing the spirit of “Celebrating Human Resilience”!!