The ‘Fatty – Not So Frozen – Dozen’ Rocked the “2017 Lake Winnipeg Fatbike Crossing & Campover”

Our “Fatty – Not So Frozen – Dozen” took on the “2017 Lake Winnipeg Fatbike Crossing & Campover” on 25-26 Feb 2017 and ROCKED IT! ๐Ÿ™‚

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Gregory ‘G-Mac’ McNeill’s awesome group picture!

We rode from Grand Marais, Manitoba 35 Kms/22 Miles across to Gimli (for lunch of course – thanks to Jeffrey Badger for the free drinks at Kris Fish & Chips) and then back to the middle to camp over night.

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Here’s Pete McAdams out for a casual ride (by his regular long distance riding standards).
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Paul ‘PePe’ Lapointe and Lindsay ‘The Legend’ Gauld.

 

We rode on the “Closed for the Season – early due to recent snow melt” snowmobile trail that was still marked and providing a roughened icy tread remnant with some old and new thin snow cover.

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Ken Stojak and Tony Kinal.
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Me, Keith Holm and Bradley Paul.

Those with studs were better able to ride all of the surface, but with lower tire pressure those non-studded faired fine (a few spills happened early on with the icy close to shore section covered by a wisp of fresh snow that made it hard to see what was really icy). After about 4 Kms the trail was much better with snow pack.

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Tony and Ken (the Pulk ‘Pack Mule’).
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Lindsay: “So then I realized I was gonna have to wrestle that Polar Bear!” ๐Ÿ˜‰
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Keith with both wheels on the ground for a change! ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

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Our American friend Bradley Paul was welcome to pitch his tent near ours, but decided for photographic purposes he would find a spot on his own.

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Thankfully, our recce ride the day before the weekend confirmed the trail conditions and the ice pressure ridge gaps that had developed just out from the Gimli Harbour and likely further out!ย ย With that info, we had Kevin Champagne step up with his brother Peter to join us with two quads and foldable ramp to allow safe gap crossings!

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The skies cleared as dusk approached.

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Alfred working his stove with a solid wind blowing across the lake.

Kevin & Peter also transported some firewood for us … added bonus!ย ย We enjoyed a night around a bonfire, complete with special beverages, snacks, tall tales and entertainment (Ken’s fireworks – Just little ones – no SAR or 911 callouts).

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Paul ‘PePe’ Lapointe could read the bottle.

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Bedtime and all the guylines tight with a solid wind and -20C.

After our morning ‘boil offs’ for breakfast and water bottle refills Gregory arranged our group photo shoot and then we rode back to Grand Marais for lunch (okay – a few speedsters enjoyed brunch :-])!

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Wakey wakey time in my Big Agnes 6-Person tent.ย  Only five of us slept in it and that was perfect actually.ย  Pete McAdams is in the back and L-R was Gregory (already up), Alfred Barr (Para Rescue toque), me and David Ristau (that’s him smiling cuz he’s so warm).

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Almost up …
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There it is and just enough wind to display the Canadian Flag.ย  Bradley Paul did bring an American flag, but left it in his vehicle – accident or being too nice? ๐Ÿ˜‰

As Gregory put it when we were chatting after sunrise:
This is AWESOME – look at that [view], that’s what we came here for – it’s beautiful!

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Here Bradley Paul from New York rising from his little tent that appears to be all on it’s own on Lake Winnipeg – almost like it was staged! ๐Ÿ˜‰
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Jonathan Letkemann was an excellent addition to our crew and we chatted out more adventures ahead, including an even bigger lake trip in the future.
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Alfred and Jonathan lighting stoves and sharing adventure ideas!
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Wow Gregory – just Wow!!!
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Gregory’s full version of our Group Picture.
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G-Mac: “We need pizza, stat – now get to da choppa!” ๐Ÿ˜‰
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Me and Keith – a fellow fun adventurer you can always count on! ๐Ÿ™‚
4 Fatbike Riders on Lake Winnipeg - 4 Mar 17 - Tom, Alfred, David & Bradley
Me, Alfred, David Ristau and Bradley riding back into Grand Marais.
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The weather beautiful for our ride back in for lunch.

Thanks for joining in guys:
Gregory C. McNeill, Alfred Barr, Keith Holm, Jonathan Letkemann, David Ristau, Lindsay Gauld, Paul Lapointe, Pete McAdams, Bradley D Paul, Ken Stojak and Tony Kinal.ย  A great group of fellow winter adventurers!ย 

It was a terrific adventure for all and a lot of fun ‘ta boot’!

A big shout out to Wayne Bishop who had offered to groom a track across the lake for us, but the recent melt off made that not required. In normal conditions, our trip would have been difficult to impossible without his Wild Cat groomer!

Big Sponsorship thanks to:
–ย Rick Shone and Garrett Tremblay at Wilderness Supply Winnipeg (assistance with Base Camp Tent)!
Wilderness Supply
– Ken Berg and Alisa Mayberry at Mountain Equipment Coop Winnipeg (camping meals)!
MEC Winnipeg

It was a terrific adventure for all and a lot of fun ‘ta boot’! ๐Ÿ™‚

Cheers, Fat Tom K
—————————————————————————————–

* These pictures were added later in Post Edit … in Memory of RCAF SAR Technician Alfred Barr who died during a training parachute jump from an RCAF C-130 Hercules aircraft (that I used to pilot) … just 10 days after he had adventured with us as a member of our ‘Fatty-Not So Frozen-Dozen’.

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Alfred – you are not forgotten!

Next year we will return to again to “Camp Barr” on the middle of the lake during the “2018 ‘Alfred Barr’ Lake Winnipeg Fatbike Crossing & Campover” adventure!

Always a SAR Brother – RESCUE!

Major Tom Kolesnik, RCAF
Former 435 Squadron C-130 Hercules SAR Pilot

ย 

Lake Winnipeg Recce Report: All Good for a Fatbike Adventure Weekend!

Lake Winnipeg Recce Report:

It’s going to be a great weekend!

On the Grand Marais Side:ย  All the puddles are solid frozen now and the trail is well defined and rough (generally good traction) with the trail markers in place. No problem riding with no studs, but studs are a bonus and with them you can enjoy riding on the smooth areas. Very little snow left until you get out a few kms.ย  The usual narrow cracks are no issue.ย  Plenty of people out ice fishing using trucks.

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Here’s our American friend Bradley Paul from NY posing by the Snoman Trail signs (gotta love the STOP sign!).ย  You can see some frozen puddles from the recent + temps, but the trail itself is not bad and gets better as you ride further from shore.
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It’s not snowpack but it is roughened and it gets better as you go.
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Thumbs up from Gregory ‘G-Mac’ McNeill and he was riding without studs.

After riding out a fair ways on the Grand Marais side, we could confirm no major pressure ridge or cracks and that the riding surface got better after about 4 kms.ย  Then we drove around to Gimli.

On the Gimli side, we rode out from the harbour and looked for the main trail leading to an expected pressure ridge crossing point …
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We discovered that the usual pressure ridge about 400 metres out from the Harbour had increased recently (we were warned) and stepping or jumping across was not an option.
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We are looking at a way to bridge it with ramp support from our quad friends (thanks Kevin & Peter Champagne).ย  Safety will be the priority, but we did find a good spot to cross (preferably with ramps).
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Here G-Mac riding back into the Gimli Harbour past the iconic Lake Winnipeg Research ship.
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Before we headed home, we checked out the pressure ridge at the northern end of the harbour.ย  G-Mac caught this gorgeous view! ๐Ÿ™‚

So, all is good for this weekend!

Studded tires would be a bonus, but not required.ย  Just ride on the rougher sections and straight line on the smooth parts.

We have two quads (with loading ramps for crack-crossing) in support thanks to the amazing Kevin & Peter Champagne! ๐Ÿ™‚

Cheers, Fat Tom K

Brandon Hills: Marty, Rick & Christa hit the Fatbike Trails

Saw Marty Roy’s post after he Rick and Christa enjoyed a great day riding on the sweet Brandon Hills Fatbike Trails (hey it’s winter so not so MTB now – Eh!).

Looks like they had a great time and appreciated the grooming done by ‘Trevor’ (Westman Trail Assoc – I believe).ย  Check it out here and in person:

Brandon Hills - 23 Feb 2017 - Marty Roy, Rick Shone & Christa Rusk - 1

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Looks like I need to get out there myself.

Alas, I am off to recon Lake Winnipeg for our Lake Winnipeg Fatbike Crossing & Campover adventure coming up this weekend.

Cheers, Fat Tom K

“Last Greatest Show on Snow”: 2WR’s Birch Fatbike Race – 19 Mar 2017

Posted for Wayne Bishop of 2 Wheel Revolution:

“The Last Greatest Show on Snow is stopping for our 3rd and final race at Birch.ย  Come out to what you expect … the best!ย  10 Km ride, 20km and 30 km race.”

Check out the Birch Race FaceBook Event:
2WR Birch 2017 FBook Event Pic

Cheers, Fat Tom K

Actif Epica: Final Update from the trail

Posted for the Actif Epica Trail Crew:

“Final update from the trail:

We were out marking the approach into the city last night starting at the lead up to the floodway. Snow cover was firm enough to drive part way down the road. The opposite end near hwy 200 is walk-in only so we hiked along the South side of the floodway, driving in stakes as far as the Crow Wing Trail signs. The trail has plenty of foot traffic near the public parking lot. Further East we encountered less foot traffic and were punching through theย snow in places. You can expect the floodway to have a mix of soft and firm footing although the warm weather may result in more of the former.

Snow in the city has been melting and the forecast for Saturday is suggesting near or above freezing during the day with some cooling overnight but warming up again on Sunday. This is shaping up to be one of the mildest event days we have had in a few years but don’t worry, that brings its own set of challenges.

Two more sleeps! See you soon.

Trail Crew”

Actif Epica 2017 Final Trail Update Pic

See you all out there on the AE Trail.

Cheers, Fat Tom K

Lake Winnipeg Fatbike Crossing & Campover: 25-26 Feb 2017 – We’re a Go!

So, if you’ve heard rumours of some fatties planning to sleep out on the middle of Lake Winnipeg … their true and we are a GO!

‘Behind the scenes’ a group of six of us local fatbikers have been planning a new adventure to take our previous fatbike crossings of Lake Winnipeg (as part of Jeff & Candy Badger’s annual “Polar Bear Run/Bike Crossings”) to another level of planning, coordination and challenge.

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At least four of the guys in this pic from our 2016 Lake Wpg Polar Bear Crossing will be on our upcoming Crossing & Campover.

The result is that our core Planning Team has a plan and 4-6 more riders are joining us.ย  It looks like there will be 10-12 of us – including Bradley, an American from NY (who I met last year when he was taking part in a fatbike training camp on Lake Wpg).

So … we will take on the first (Annual?) of the following adventure:

The “Lake Winnipeg Fatbike Crossing & Campover” on Sat/Sun 25-26 Feb 2017.
– We will have several guides/experienced fatbikers in our group and I will be Lead Guide for our adventure.
– We will do this as a cooperative activity.
– We will be using the ‘Closed to Snowmobiles’, but still marked “Snowman #17 “Piston Popper” Snowmobile Trail from Grand Marais to Gimli (approx 35 Kms) and riding back to the center of the lake to campover.

2017 Lake Wpg FB Crossing & Campover Map -Snowman #17 Trail

– We will have the support of several snowmobiles (or quads depending on the snow depth on the lake) thanks to Kevin Champagne and his Brother Peter – thanks guys!

– We have received some sponsorship support from MEC Winnipegย ย in the form of camp meals and snacks!ย  Thanks MEC – always good to have extra food on hand!
MEC Winnipegย MEC Meals 1

– I have also received sponsorship support from Wilderness Supply in Winnipeg, that has allowed me to acquire the Big Agnes 6-Person 4-Season Tent for use on this and future adventures. Just used it on the river behind my house – a nice base camp tent:
Fat Tom K's 6-Person Tent on Red River
Thanks Wilderness Supply – you rock!
Wilderness Supply
– Thanks to one of our Planning Team members Alfred Barr (local fatbiker – who is also an RCAF SAR Tech at 435 Squadron based in Winnipeg) we will also have the use of an Iridium Sat Phone!ย  Thanks Alfred, but I hope you don’t mind us calling for pizza delivery! ๐Ÿ˜‰
Sat Phone

– Some of us will be riding with fully loaded bikes:
Fat Tom K Loaded Bike at Hecla

– Others will use ‘Pulk’ sleds behind their bikes (like Ken just made for this trip):
Ken Stojak's Fatbike Pulk

– While we will be bringing meals to cook on the lake and extras, we do plan to enjoy a hardy breakfast at the Sand Bar Inn in Grand Marais on Saturday before we start and a lunch on Sunday on our return.ย  We also are planning a late lunch at Kris Fish & Chips in Gimli (owner’s Jeff & Candy Badger have promised a free first drink – thanks you two!).

– Our very own fatbiker-photographer extraordinaire Gregory ‘G-Mac’ McNeill will be riding with us and snapping pictures that will no doubt make us look even more adventurous than we will be …

Gregory's Polar Bear Crossing 2016 Pics 3
Yup – Photo Credit to G-Mac! ๐Ÿ™‚

– We are doing this adventure as a ‘simple – but well planned‘ and cooperative adventure.ย  We will work as a team and make it a fun and safe adventure.

This is going to be a blast! ๐Ÿ™‚

Any questions or interest, you can contact me at:
tomkolesnik@gmail.com

Cheers, Fat Tom K

 

ย  ย 

2WR’s Fort Whyte Fatbike Race was a Blast!

Wow!!!ย  That was a Blast!ย  Wayne Bishop, his 2 Wheel Revolution Team and a bunch of volunteers just served up a huge Fatty Race and Fun Fest!ย  Many local fatty racers and some just out to ride and check it out had a great day of racing, socializing and building community! I enjoyed myself immensely! ๐Ÿ™‚

Thanks Wayne, your excellent family and 2WR Team!

Check it out in pics:

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Wayne out for one last sweep of the course.
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It’s a family endeavour with 2 Wheel Revolution. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

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Large crowd of excited Fatties! ๐Ÿ™‚
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Lou checking to ensure tire pressures are low enough to roll and ‘float’ on the groomed trails – not rutting allowed here.
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Robert Paige and his Xtreme Sports Medics Safety Team are THE GO-TO Medic Team for outdoor sporting events in Manitoba and the cycling community depend on them – always!
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Giddy up!
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No pressure … really! ๐Ÿ˜‰
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Race time. ๐Ÿ™‚
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30K Experts ready to roll.ย  Adrian & Liam (Fat Levels Team) in the spot light.
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‘Lou Fatinski’ Rolling His Fatty’ …
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Jonathan’s all smiles! ๐Ÿ™‚
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Speedsters!
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Marty!!!!!
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Keith knows how to pop a wheelie (and ride a unicycle for that matter)!
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Seriously, half a second later I was pop’n just like Keith! ๐Ÿ˜‰
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Gregory ‘G-Mac’ McNeill doing what he does best – himself! ๐Ÿ™‚
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When the Race Organizer, Groomer and Director serves you free beer … you know you are spoiled and arrived in Fatty Bike Heaven!ย  Thanks Wayne! ๐Ÿ™‚
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Stojak!!!!!!!!
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Right on Janice! ๐Ÿ™‚
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Well done Christa!
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G-Mac and Wayne … you can feel the love!
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Well dressed Champions!

Yup – a total Blast indeed!ย  Can’t wait until Race three in the series … next up Birch on March 19th 2017 …

MB FatBike Race Series 2017 Poster - Birch Update

Trophies are on the line! ๐Ÿ™‚

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Cheers, Fat Tom K

 

Ride Report: Actif Epica Recon Ride – 12 Feb 2017

Posted for Dan Lockery and the Actif Epica Trail Crew:

“AERecon Ride #5 Report – February 12, 2017

For the final recon ride we chose a section of trail that would represent some of the varied trail conditions that participants may encounter on event day. That meant a trip back to St. Malo and we headed South along the route to the Senkiw Suspension Bridge.

The temperature was warm to start, around -8C (~18F) with a steady wind from the West. The forecast high was calling for above freezing later in the day.

We met up in St. Malo at the checkpoint (and starting location for the classic route), with four riders and one course marking official (thanks Dallas!). Road conditions leading into/out of St. Malo were wet, but much less icy than our previous warm weather ride when it had rained.

The first dirt road section heading away from St. Malo was passable with wider tires but saw the MTB’s struggling and walking on occasion. When we reached the highway crossing we compared notes and decided to split up. The MTB’s detoured to the suspension bridge so they could hike in and check things out. The rest of us continued on through the trail sections where conditions were near perfect to begin with. The trail has been well used by sleds and we made fast progress until arriving at the fenced off section that had not seen any sled traffic in some time. We were walking through there in mixed snow depths until arriving on gravel at the other end.

After passing through Senkiw, the gated trail is walking-only down to the bridge with soft and deep snow conditions due to shelter from the trees and minimal deer traffic. Once past the field, things improve closer to the bridge. Turning back and by the time we met up for coffee/lunch, icicles and snow were melting as the day heated up.

Since then, we have been out along the Southern end of the route and had a look at some of the fields. Mud has started to poke through the snow in places and with warmer weather on its way later in the week we might be riding/running the edges of the trail to avoid getting bogged down in our “Manitoba-Mud” on any dirt sections (the mud won’t let go without a fight, we advise you avoid it if possible!).

Thanks again to all that were able to join us for the recon rides this season. We had a great time getting to know and ride with you over the past few months. To those traveling to get here, have a safe trip. We look forward to seeing you all on Friday at gear-check and the pre-race meeting!”

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Dallas, Charles and KC pondering the ride ahead.

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St Norbert Trails: Kevin’s New Groomer

So Kevin Braun (stalwart groomer of the St Norbert Trail Loop) has done some more innovating …

“Last year I was able to just use snow shoes to keep St. Norbert groomed.ย  This December was epic for snow, so I built pull groomer, 17″ wide, good results, but a little narrow.ย  So, now we’ll see how the 24″ wide version works. Total cost, less than $20.”

Kevin Braun Manual Groomer - 1

Kevin Braun Manual Groomer - 2

Kevin Braun Manual Groomer - 3
Looking like good ol’ corduroy! ๐Ÿ™‚

Well done Kevin!

Cheers, Fat Tom K

Invite to Actif Epica Recon Ride: 12 Feb 2017

Posted for Dan Lockery and the Actif Epica Trail Crew:

“One week to go. That means we are planning our last recon ride for this year’s event:

Date: Sunday, February 12, 2017

Time: 9:00am

Location: St. Malo, we will meet at the checkpoint location (in the parking lot at the arena)

Purpose: To scout the trail conditions and put up some course marking from St. Malo to the Senkiw suspension bridge along the Crow Wing Trail (note: this is part of the longer courses, 160km and 200km).

Who: The trail crew will be riding at a slow rolling pace (on fat bikes) and would love it if you brought ANY type of bike and joined them (bring friends on bikes too!).

The Plan: To put up course marking materials, take a few pictures of trail conditions and enjoy a fun, sociable ride from St. Malo to the suspension bridge (and just beyond). We will return along the same route and the distance estimate is about 37km to the bridge and back, adding in a short bit of planned extra distance south of the bridge might push that up to 40km round-trip at most. We will roll out at 9am from St. Malo and as always, if you happen to be late, you can follow our tracks and the Crow Wing Trail signs (white arrow on blue background) to catch up with us as we will be stopping periodically to take pictures and put up course marking. We estimate the total riding time to be approximately 3.5-4h. Also, there will likely be a post ride discussion over coffee/food at a local establishment should you feel so inclined and have the time to join us.

Important Note: All participants join us at their own risk (e.g. please be safe, wear appropriate winter riding clothing, a helmet, bring blinky lights for improved visibility, enough food and water for the ride and a basic repair kit). Citing a famous quote, “YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOU”, so please respect the nature of a winter riding adventure, it can be unforgiving.

Hope to see you on Sunday!”

12 Feb 2017 Recon Ride Pic

2WR’s Fort Whyte Fatbike Race: Looking Great for Sunday, 12 Feb 2017!

Posted for Wayne Bishop of 2 Wheel Revolution:

“Froze my towkis off today … conditions will be great …..and super solid for the weekend! Registration closes Thursday night and all prices will be increased by 20 $. So log in at shop at 2wheelrevolution.ca now and sign up. We need your support to make things like this happen!ย  And if you can’t make it this weekend get some merchandise or donate to the cause.”

2WR 2017 Fort Whyte FB Race - 7

2WR 2017 Fort Whyte FB Race - 6

“So here you have it!!!ย  A great rock hard course 9.55 km at an average 30 minute lap! There is a out and back 2 way section to the Sterling Lyon Parkway!!ย  A mix of single, double track ,climbing and pathways.ย  You will see deer, bison and the leaders will definitely see a owl!ย  Please no riding on course until Sunday, we have worked our asses off getting this ready for all.”

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So Giddy Up Fatties – see you all on Sunday!

Cheers, Fat Tom K

St Norbert Trail Loop: Marty’s Dragging Again

Here’s a St Norbert Trail Loop Update from Marty Roy, who’s been busy dragging and grooming the trail:

“Get it before the DEER!ย ย St.Norbert is in great shape again.
Last picture shows the path going down and across the river to the start of the trail.

st Norbert Trail Loop - 6 Feb 2017 - Marty Roy - 1

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Post Edit Addition on 10 Feb:
Marty’s back at it again …

St Norbert Trail Loop - 10 Feb 2017 Marty Roy - 1
Behind those ‘shifty eyes’ of Marty’s is a dedicated trail groomer always innovating … check out his modified tire pull with garden rake!
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Slick! ๐Ÿ™‚
St Norbert Trail Loop - 10 Feb 2017 Marty Roy - 2
Nice results too! ๐Ÿ™‚

Thanks Marty!ย  You and Kevin Braun are the best … out in St Norbert, anyways! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Here again is the TrailForks info for the St Norbert Trail Loop (Click the Image Below):
St Norbert Loop Trail - TrailForks

Cheers, Fat Tom K

Invite to Actif Epica Recon Ride: 5 Feb 2017

Posted for Dan Lockery and the Actif Epica Trail Crew:

“Only a couple of weeks to go… Once again, it’s time for some trail recon:

Date: Sunday, February 5, 2017

Time: 9:00am

Location: Emerson Complex, Emerson MB (101 Church St.), this is where the 200km bike route starts

Purpose: To scout the Actif Epica course between Emerson, heading North along the Crow Wing Trail to Ridgeville and back.

Who: The Trail Crew (Pete, Dallas and Dan) invite you to join them at a slow rolling pace (perhaps including some walking again depending on trail conditions and recent snowfall) and they would love it if you brought ANY type of bike and joined them (bring friends on bikes too!).

The Plan: To follow the Crow Wing Trail leaving Emerson before it doubles back and then ride along the border on our way to the town of Ridgeville. The approximate distance is about 36km one way and we will be taking a shortcut on our return route to keep the ride time more reasonable. The plan is to set off at 9am from the Emerson Complex and we estimate the usual ride time of about 3.5-4 hours. In case you are late arriving to the start, you can look for our tracks and the Crow Wing Trail signs will guide you (white arrow on blue background) to catch up with us as we will be stopping periodically to take pictures. Also, it is quite likely that there will be a post-ride discussion over food/coffee should you have the time and inclination to join us for that.

Important Note: All participants join us at their own risk (e.g. please be safe, wear appropriate winter riding clothing (it might be cold), a helmet, bring blinky lights for improved visibility, enough food and water for the ride and a basic repair kit with parts/tools). Citing a famous quote, “YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOU”, so please respect the nature of a winter riding adventure, it can be unforgiving.

Hope to see you on Sunday!”

5 Feb 2017 Recon Ride Invite Pic

Cheers, Fat Tom K

St Norbert Trail Loop: Marty joins Kevin with Drag Grooming

I noticed that Marty Roy has stepped up recently to help groom the short loop of trails out at St Norbert.ย  Kevin Braun has been very active with snowshoe and manual drag grooming on the St Norbert Trail Loop for a while, so great to see Marty in action.

Here’s a few pics that Marty had posted online:

St Norbert Loop Trail - Marty Roy Feb 2017 - 1

St Norbert Loop Trail - Marty Roy Feb 2017 - 2

St Norbert Loop Trail - Marty Roy Feb 2017 - 3

Well done Marty!ย  Let’s hope we have a bit less new snow and some cold nights to set the track firmly.

For those not familiar with the St Norbert Trail Loop, check it out at TrailForks online here:ย https://www.trailforks.com/trails/st-norbert-loop/
or click the image below:
St Norbert Loop Trail - TrailForks

Cheers, Fat Tom K