2017 Arrowhead 135 Ultra Race: Manitobans Conquer

Lots of Manitobans conquered the always challenging 2017 Arrowhead 135 Ultra Race held in Northern Michigan.

How tough is the race, well I will just quote from their website:
“The Arrowhead 135 is recognized in the book “The World’s Toughest Endurance Challenges” by Richard Hoad and Paul Moore as one of the 50 toughest races in the world. It is a human powered Ultra Marathon taking place in the coldest part of winter in the coldest city in the lower 48 states. Our average finish rate is less than 50%, the finish rate for new racers is much lower.”

Congrats to Dan Lockery (2nd Place in the UnSupported Category), David Ristau, KC Turczak, Pete McAdams, Dallas Sigurdur, Sue Lucas and Thomas Woods (Honorary MB’n from MN)!

Results here:

Check out the Live Tracker here (*not all racers had Spot Trackers):
2017 Arrowhead 135 Live Tracker
or Click Here:
2017 Arrowhead 135 Live Tracker Pic

Cheers, Fat Tom K

2WR Club Fatbike Ride at Bison Butte – Picture Perfect

Posted for Wayne Bishop of 2 Wheel Revolution:

“Membership has its privileges!  Become a team member at 2wheelrevolution.ca and be part of something that means something!  We have big plans for 2018 … will you be in the middle or watching from the sidelines!  All levels and ages!
Photo credit: Gregory C. MacNeil”

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Fat Video Time: 2017 Fat Viking 175 Race

Here my little video about the 2017 Fat Viking 175 Winter Endurance Race held this past week Geilo, Norway.  Due to circumstances I did not have a lot of Go Pro footage to work with, but this will give you a glimpse at some of the scenery to capture the event.

Thanks again and huge congratulations to Nina Gassler and her supporting volunteers (the Fat Viking Society) and putting on such a superb race event and for racing it like a True Viking Hero!

Cheers, Fat Tom K

Excitement Building for 2WR Fort Whyte Alive Fatbike Race – 12 Feb 2017

Posted for Wayne Bishop of 2 Wheel Revolution (2WR):

“Thanks to some more amazing help things are tracking in!  Trails are very delicate now so please respect the signs and our process!  It is gonna take a monumental amount of work but the foundation is being laid for an amazing day of Manitoba Fat Bike Race Series.  If you liked Falcon your gonna love The Fort!  Sign up now as we will be shutting Registration down on Feb 7.”

MB FatBike Race Series 2017 Poster - Fort Whyte

2WR 2017 Fort Whyte FB Race - 2

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Giddy up MB Fatties – see you all there!  Now get registered …

Cheers, Fat Tom K

Honourary MB Fatbiker Nina Gassler’s Fat Viking Race Report: Fatbiking.eu

Not only did our ‘Honourary MB Fatbiker’ Nina Gassler organize, direct the Fat Viking 175 Winter Endurance Race in Geilo, Norway and then race superbly to 2nd Place overall and 1st Women … she also posted a nice race report on “fatbiking.eu”!  Well done and congratulations my friend Nina!

Check out the report HERE and below:

Nina Gassler's FV175 Race Report - fatbiking.eu - 1Nina Gassler's FV175 Race Report - fatbiking.eu - 2

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Thanks Nina!

Cheers, Fat Tom K

Fat Viking 175 Winter Endurance Race: Fat Tom K finishes (just)!

So, now that I have had time to rest and reflect and in response to fellow Fat Viking 175 racers commenting on my ‘circumstances’ – here’s my recap: In short, I finished – just!

Fat Viking Winter Endurance Race - Geilo, Norway - Banner

Nina Gassler organized and raced an amazing Fat Viking 175 (181 Kms for me – oops, I followed a few others tracks on a wrong turn section and back-tracked) and was my local encourager to persevere (as was my wife Lori and our two adult sons Brett and Jordan), when I started the race with a low energy/hydration level – my mistake eating a camping meal that was laced with MSG (my personal trigger) which gave me a nasty migraine headache the day before the race and made it hard to hold down food.

Once I got going (after racing back to the ski hut at start time to get my water bottles that I accidentally left behind at a cabin a ways away – mistake two), which lead to some wandering around to find the first trail entrance area after leaving the Vestfalia Chalet start line (GPS issues – mistake three).

From there it was a glorious, icy and challenging route that I started before sunrise and ended after sunrise. The views were spectacular and the soul searching was instructive!

Here’s some pictures to tell my race story:

2017 Fat Viking 175 - Maps View
Nina Gassler had originally planned the FV as a 150 Km route, but with this year being an unusually mild and low snow Dec-Jan, she lengthened the route to 175 and had us riding more up into the alpine areas where the XC skate ski tracks were better.
2017 Fat Viking 175 - Vertical View
So … up up up up and up we went!  Over 8500 feet of vertical assent – a thigh burner indeed!
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Early in the race we ride up (ahem – push up) the side of a ski hill slope to get to the better alpine XC ski tracks that were a joy to ride.  *This pic was borrowed from a ride earlier in the week.
2017 Fat Viking Race Pics 1
The race started well before sunrise and I reached the upper alpine area and was rewarded with this view looking back toward the valley east of Geilo.
2017 Fat Viking Race Pics 2
I am putting on my best ‘smile it’s all good’ look here, but in fact I was already doubting my decision to race as my usual riding strength and energy level was just not there.
2017 Fat Viking Race Pics - thanks to Nina selfie video
I stopped to record a ‘selfie’ video message of thanks to Nina using my Go Pro on my helmet and here’s a still frame.  Making this message did perk up my spirits.
2017 Fat Viking Race Pics - View of long track ahead
But this long section that followed was a bit daunting at the time.
This picture is courtesy of Nina Gassler, who was way ahead of me and returning past me from an ‘out & back’ section.  She encouraged me on.  Later she told me I looked ‘white as a ghost’ and did not expect me to finish (neither did I then, but I smiled anyways)!
2017 Fat Viking Race Pics - View of Mtn
After completing the Ustaoset out & back section, I returned to this now familiar spot beside the Prestholt Mountain.  It was inspiring and I knew that a long downhill section was just ahead.
2017 Fat Viking Race Pics - Fat Bike POV
This was my most familiar view for many hours … ‘Mr. Moonie’ my Surly Moonlander fatbike served me very well – not one glitch on this ride! 🙂
2017 Fat Viking Race Pics - alone view on XC ski track
I rode most of the race by myself and in the end that was for the best.  I could manage my body’s responses as I just kept pedalling!
2017 Fat Viking Race Pics - passing XC skier 1
Occasionally there were opposite direction XC skiers – who were always very friendly! 🙂
2017 Fat Viking Race Pics - passing XC skier 2
This skate skier was nice enough to move over almost onto the classic tracks and since I was actually riding fast for a change (downhill), I made sure to greet & thank him with “Hi Hi … Tusen Takk” (Hi – Hi again … Thank You)! 🙂
This is a media released picture of me a few hours later as I rode into Check Point 1 at Havsdalen.  At the time I was considering quitting as my body was fading because my usual race energy foods were not appealing or staying down.  My energy drinks were keeping me going.  Fortunately for me the rest stop (complete with hot porridge) got my body responding, stomach filled and off I went … back to my usual long ride eating/drinking routine. 🙂
In this borrowed picture of Andrew Mucklestone (taken by Ben Shanson – both of whom trained with me this past week), you see what a lot of the race course was like when it was not icy …
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A fair amount of the route on the lower altitude sections was iced up and I was glad to have my 4.8 inch 45N Dillinger 5 tires fully studded!  As it was, you still had to be very careful, especially when the track had a center high-point or any off-camber sections.
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It was on one off these sections that ‘Ziggy’ rode up from behind me (much to my surprise).  I said: “Hey there, I thought I was the ‘Lantern Rouge’ [last rider]?”  Turns out Ziggy got held up getting to the race start and he had successfully made up a few hours on me already!
2017 Fat Viking Race Pics - follow Ziggy 1
So off we went together – for a while anyways.
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It was on uphill sections that I quickly realized I was working way too hard to keep pace and wished him well to press on at his own speed.  Thanks for the company Ziggy! 🙂
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Chatting with this dogsled musher, who was training his dog team was a nice distraction.
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Fading light on the long section from CP1 to CP2 (& also CP3) at the Dagali Hotel.
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I took this picture after a difficult section.  I ate some more solid food and paced around for a while then hoped on and rode.
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A welcome sight – CP2/3 at the Dagali Hotel.  I recall thinking – ‘if only the race was just 150 kms’!  Thanks for the extra 25 Nina! 😉  Btw, notice the wheel from another bike … there were riders there who were heading back from the next out & back section.  Really nice to chat with them, get advise on the next section ahead for me and the optional ‘ride on a lake’ or ‘ride a path beside it’ and then turn around at the end.  They all (including Kathi Merchant) advised not riding the lake (Andrew had fallen in!).
2017 Fat Viking Race Pics 10
This is what the next out & back section along Seterdalen Road to and along Ossjoen Lake to Aan-Turisthytte (turn around point).  I was glad I put fresh batteries in my GPS at CP2, because there were more than a few spots where some tracks went in different directions!  Also, I just kept riding until the tracks stopped on the road and then for a bit – then panned my GPS view over to see that I was past the end of Ossjoen Lake.  Time to follow my tracks back to Dagali and CP3.
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Back at CP3, I was the last racer to arrive.
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Fortunately CP3 was staffed by wonderful volunteers (Members of the “Fat Viking Society”) Margit and May-Britt!  They were like ‘Guardian angels’!  They insisted that it was okay for me to nap for 30 minutes (the most I would agree to – I resisted, but they insisted!) and I awoke feeling like I could eat (unlike when I arrived).  Thank you both – Tusen Takk! 🙂
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The long dark ride back from CP3 was along a reverse route partially and an especially hard long uphill section I am sure many racers imagined ‘it must end soon – no really?!’  I was pleased that I was able to pedal on for long periods and small breaks to feed and drink.  This was the spot (at 170 Kms) that I felt I was going to finish; but also where I realized that with 10+ kms to go; that my mistake of following the wrong tracks at one point (and back tracking) had resulted in bonus kms … no awards for that though! 😉
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This sight I only captured only because I stopped to pee and look around.  Glad I did!
Definitely my favourite view of the 2017 Fat Viking 175 Race!  I knew from my training rides during the week that I recognized the spot and that it was now all downhill to Geilo!
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From this intersection, the route was well travelled and solid all the way to the finish line.
2017 Fat Viking Race Pics - Finish Line
A borrowed picture, but this sight was very welcome after 25+ hours!  Having Nina Gassler, Kathi Merchant and few others there to congratulate me was a bonus – very classy! 🙂
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Back at our ITI Fatbike Training Camp group cabin, it was very quiet until I tiptoed in (I tried) and was warmly welcomed and congratulated by fellow sleepy racers who had finished many hours ahead of me.  I was the ‘Lantern Rouge’ and my bike’s colours matched.

A big shout out of thanks to my fellow ITI Trg Camp Participants – Nina Gassler (our local Guide, Race Director and Top Female FV175 racer), Patrick Stevens, Jarmo Jarvinen, Stefan Chmel, Tobias Bos, Constantijn, Andrew Mucklestone, Alejandro Garcia Wolfrum, Daniele Andriano and Jess Dicks!  It was great to get to know you all – you are Top Notch!

Another shout out to Kathi Merchant (ITI Trg Camp Guide and ITI Race Director), who raced the FV175 well and finished long before me; yet was awake and present at the finish to welcome me in – classy act!

That’s all – time to work on a race video.

Cheers, Fat Tom K




ITI Fatbike Winter Training Camp in Geilo, Norway: Fat Tom K Reports

Thanks to Nina Gassler (Fat Viking Race Director in Geilo, Norway), who I met last year when she was winter fatbike training on Lake Winnipeg near Hecla Island, Manitoba; I became aware of her plans to put on the 2017 Fat Viking Fatbike Race and also partner with Alaskan Iditarod Trails Invitational (ITI) Race Director Kathi Merchant to put on a connected “ITI Fatbike Winter Training Camp” in Geilo the week before the race.

ITI FB Winter Trg Camp Norway 2017 - FBook Banner

So with all that fatbiking fun happening in the space of a week in beautiful Geilo and my friend Nina hosting … well, I just had to go for it and sign up for both! 🙂

The ITI Fatbike Winter Training Camp is over now and it was a memorable experience training with and getting to know a terrific crew of Europeans (Norway, Finland, Slovakia, Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Spain & Great Britain) and one South African fatbiker adventurists.

As we are now preparing to race the FatViking 175 (Kms) Race, I will just post some pictures to tell the story of this past week …

Planes, Trains and Automobiles – yup, used them all from Winnipeg to Montreal to London to Oslo to Geilo to our cozy Trg Camp Cabin (as our base locale).  Thanks Nina and May-Britt for being to pick me up as I got off the late train arriving in Geilo! 🙂

Our crew of ITI Trg Camp participants and Kathi connected quickly over our first hot meal (and one of the few we had indoors) and then geared up to get riding right away on the nearby Geilo trails and pathways that Nina knows so well and was happy to share.

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Geared up and ready for our first group picture.
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Out on the trails with Kathi and Nina as our guides.
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Here Nina (Germany – now Norway), Stefan (Slovakia – now Norway) and Jarmo (Finland) leading the way.  We often rode on XC Skate Ski trails and it was a pleasure to see the Europeans embracing the ‘Multi-Use’ concept!
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Conditions were unusually mild (an icy factor I was prepared for with fully studded 45N Dillinger 5 tires – thanks Olympia C&S shoppe for the quick ‘stud-up’).
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Stopping to practice an impromptu bivy mid ride.  Thanks for the pic Nina. 🙂
ITI Trg Camp at Geilo Norway Jan 2017 - Jess
Here’s Jess from South Africa (an experienced cyclist – but first time on snow – cool!)
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Here’s Patrick (a very nice British chap who lives in Sweden) eating his hot lunch!
ITI Trg Camp at Geilo Norway Jan 2017 - Andrew
Here’s the always smiling Andrew (UK) – an already accomplished winter ultra fatbike racer.
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Here’s Jarmo (Finland) and Alejandro (Spain) conferring.  Our training days finished with us either riding back to the cabin in the dark or bivy camping at a wooded or lake-side location.
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Here’s the always positive and excellent local guide Nina leading us back to camp!
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Here’s Ben (UK) leading … the hilly terrain and our loaded bikes definitely made for a few pushed hills and good training.
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This was the steepest hill (a ski run) we pushed up and it is part of the FV Race Course – yikes!
ITI Trg Camp at Geilo Norway Jan 2017 - Andrew Riding
Here’s Andrew riding a nice skate ski track toward an upper alpine route.
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Here’s Ben pushing again … due to the mild temps, even some of the upper alpine areas were icy.
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But the higher we rode the more snowpack there was and more challenging trails.
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Mind you riding up into the higher terrain had another benefit … a great spot for a group shot!
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Riding back in the dark.
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A welcome sight … the main Geilo ski hill and our cabin nearby.
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Comparing our personal bike packing gear.  Here Nina’s kit is on display.
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Here’s mine (with my sleeping bag still on the bike).
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Comparing parkas.  I left my North Face parka at home due to the very mild conditions, but it was nice to see Patrick Stevens (left) proudly wearing his.  Stefan, Jarmo and Nina were also wearing very nice parkas. 🙂
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Our 2nd overnight bivy location was lower alpine and I found a grassed spot under a tree.
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Boiling water is always any early ‘order of business’ when camping.
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I had no idea my bivy spot was so scenic until the morning.
ITI Trg Camp at Geilo Norway Jan 2017 - Alejandro Bivy
On my ride back to the cabin I found Alejandro’s bivy spot and we chatted as he packed up.
ITI Trg Camp at Geilo Norway Jan 2017 - Alejandro Riding
Alejandro and I rode in together and the experience was a bit different for each of us.  My tires were fully studded, but Alejandro’s tires were not (he is studding them now for the FV Race)!
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More upper alpine riding and fun as a crew! 🙂
Here’s a beautiful picture taken by Ben Shanson (adventure-photographer with a world-wide following) of me riding some single-track into the sunset!  Thanks Ben 🙂
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Another ride back to the cabin for ITI Race discussions and then out for our 3rd overnight bivy.
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Mind you our 3rd bivy location had a wooden lean-to in the area (always good to recon) and it made for a cozy hangout before tucking into our sleeping bags spread out nearby!
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Good conversations (we spoke in English mostly) and time to discuss upcoming adventures 🙂
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More well marked XC Ski trails (multi-use for us locally).
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One of my favourite ‘Pano Pics’.  During our training camp we got to know that Constantijn (Netherlands) had a fun-mischievous sense of humour and his ‘alter-ego’ was ‘Connie’.  Here I have caught on camera … Constantijn on the left and Connie on the right! 😉
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Our last bivy had us riding up into the hills in the dark to this ‘Bivy Hill’ and picking our own spot alone.  I almost didn’t join the crew on that night due to getting a nasty migraine headache, ‘losing my food’ and getting dehydrated (my own fault for eating a packaged camp meal loaded with MSG – my personal migraine trigger).  But, with a little help from the crew (electrolytes/rest) and a lift up part of the hill in a van (with my bike), I was able to follow the crew who had ridden out earlier.
ITI Trg Camp at Geilo Norway Jan 2017 - 46a
I rode through a ski hill tunnel following fatbike tracks and then zigzagged up a hill until I saw a few lights moving in the distance … yes – the ‘Bivy Hill’.
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I surveyed the snow slope, the gusting winds and chose a spot to dig in and make a windbreak for my sleeping spot.
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I really like my MSR WhisperLite (International) stove – very reliable.
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I wasn’t able to eat much food yet; but a few caramels and some hot coco helped.  I also boiled enough water to fill a thermos and two 1 Litre Nalgene bottles that tucked into my armpits for the night.  Result = warm water in the morning 🙂
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I packed up my bivy before sunrise after a fairly cozy sleep … except for the gusting winds that were whipping down the slope and just over my otherwise sheltered spot.
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My reward for waking early! 🙂
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I was still not feeling well and riding rather slow on my way back until I crossed paths with Tobias (Germany) and Daniele (Italy).
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We linked up and I appreciated their company as we rode back into the cabin.
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ITI Training Camp week complete – time for a selfie.  Thanks for the photobomb Ben! 🙂

That’s all for now.

Time to HTFU and give the FV175 Race a go!

Fat Viking Winter Endurance Race - Geilo, Norway - Banner

I came all this way to train and also to RACE!   I may not be at my best, but hey “If It Was Easy – Everyone Would Do It”.

Giddy up – Carpe Diem.

Cheers, Fat Tom K

2WR’s Falcon Ridge Fat Bike Race a HUGE Success


What a great start to 2 Wheel Revolution’s Manitoba Fat Bike Race Series … the Falcon Ridge FB Race was a HUGE success!!

Check out this sweet video of the Falcon Race made by Continue Digital:

Check out Gregory McNeill’s pictures at his flickr account here:

You get what you give

Over the last few years, Wayne Bishop has worked hard to bring to the community a club that instills the ideology ‘Give Love – Get Love’.

All of the monies generated from Two Wheel Revolution (2WRVLTN) through sales of hats, mugs, shirts, memberships and race registrations get put back into developing new course venues and events.

Wayne has gathered like-minded individuals into his club and is constantly recruiting locals to join. The members are doing it because they love what they do, and people who love what they do are willing to sacrifice. This allows 2WR to lean towards being inclusive with the community, rather than exclusive.

With all of the volunteer power and the non-profit approach to capital, 2WR can give lower entry fees for racers, again expanding the possible number of people who will be able to try out a race. This also results in more spectators with family and friends coming out to cheer.

Even Wayne’s beautiful wife Kim and their two sons, Ryder and Chase, work hard in their free time to keep the machine running. Ryder, who is eleven, has the awesome responsibility of being the club’s secretary.

“Being secretary, there is always some challenges but nothing that can’t be done.” says a positive Ryder. “Sometimes tasks are frustrating but I overcome it and try to get the task done. I really enjoy what I do and it is fun to open up my laptop and have a surprise in my inbox. Every day is enjoyable, even with challenges.”

Well get ready because 2WRVLTN has a good show happening on Sunday January 15th, at Falcon Ridge in the Whiteshell Provincial Park.

Veteran Provincial racer Ken Stojak rode the course last weekend, and was very impressed. “The Falcon Ridge Trail has it all and more.  There are climbs, single track sections, downhills, switchbacks, all with out of this world scenery. There are epic views with the ‘On Top of the World’ loop and when crossing the lakes.”

Another long-time sportsman who has raced inline-speed-skating locally for decades is Greg Carrigan. He was out with Stojak and Paul Lapointe doing a pre-ride last weekend and this is what he had to say, “There is something of everything for everybody. Plus there are real nice people running the Chalet and a good burger! I believe if new fatbikers are doing the 10 km after the first tough climb (where they will learn how awesome a fatbike climbs (with the correct tire pressure), they will have a blast!”

Bishop finishes with describing the course, “The course is a 10km loop comprised of a complimentary mix of wide open coastline lake ski trails, tight single track with amazing views and some flowy Fatbike groomed trails that descend back to the chalet!”

“The day will start with a racer check in and tire pressure verification. Some schmoozing and a race start at 11:30 with 5 minutes between classes.” he adds. “Spectators can experience the resort, tubing, live music and all things falcon. Racers will get a meal and beverage, trophies and some Prizing for special efforts, sportsmanship and just general awesomeness! Ideally the outcome from this race is to promote Fat Bikes in MB parks and at Venues with the purpose of creating opportunities for future riding locations!”


Fatbikes For The Win FFTW