On the Grand Marais Side: 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. The usual narrow cracks are no issue. Plenty of people out ice fishing using trucks.
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. 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 …
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.
We are looking at a way to bridge it with ramp support from our quad friends (thanks Kevin & Peter Champagne). Safety will be the priority, but we did find a good spot to cross (preferably with ramps).
So, all is good for this weekend!
Studded tires would be a bonus, but not required. 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! 🙂
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!”
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!”
It was a great Saturday to be at the Bur Oak Trails at Bird’s Hill Park. There were almost 10 fatbike riders out there, navigating the soft snow freely given to us by Mother Nature over the last week.
Mike Vandale from the Woodcock Cycle Club loved it! “ (it was) The perfect day not too warm! (the) Trail was a little soft but it will be awesome once it sets up.”
The soft conditions had the riders dial in their pressures once on the course. It is easy to deflate in the cold, rather than inflate, so deflating a higher pressure is the norm out on these winter rides.
“I think most of us were running 4 or 5 psi.” states Mike.
Many local people were out there today, including Greg Carrigan, Gilles Paquette, Steve H., Tim Woodcock, Mark Kleinholz, Jon Letkemann and finally Mike Vandale. Tim even convinced a few snowshoers to ‘come to the dark side’ and try out some fatbikes to see how they are. These park adventurers looked interested and seemed to want what us fatbikers already have – fun!
Today’s ride on groomed trails could not have happened without the steady work of Pete Romeo and others like John M. (who was snowshoeing today – packing the trail). Many thanks goes out to these people.
And for those who cannot make it out to BHP (Bird’s Hill Park), there will be a weekday ride this Thursday starting at Woodcock Cycle on St. Mary’s. Vandale finishes with, “The Thurs night ride starts at WCW 6 PM, usually head straight for the Seine River. (it) Sounds like we’re going to head south on the Seine this coming Thursday.”
This past Sunday was a great day for us fatbikers in the Winnipeg area of Manitoba, as we got the chance to ride GROOMED WINTER FATBIKE TRAIL again in our own ‘backyard’ on one of our favourite trails … (former Bur Oak Trail – now called “Oak Ridge Trail) at Birds Hill Provincial Park!
Now we’ve ridden this trail in the winter before, having packed it by snowshoe and then riding our fatties slowly round and round and round until it was possible to ride with ‘flow’ … so it was today with a bit more packing making it more groomed than usual.
I first connected with a crew of six riders new to me and most of us regulars. They called themselves the “Pinoy MB Fatbibers” and Tito, Drex, Sam, Trek, Jovil and Ador were keen to check out the trails, so I lead them around the main track …
The early morning lighting and fresh snow on the trees had created those special winter vistas that you only really get to appreciate when you are out on the trail.
After a fun ride with the Pinoy Crew, I connected with more arriving fatties …
Once again I link up with a new crew, but this time most were regulars (Peter, Greg, Janice, etc) and off we went …
Of course, it wasn’t long before we connected with our very own fatbiking ‘Photo-ambusher’ Gregory McNeill … Actually, it’s always a good time for a hot apple cider break when Gregory’s ‘at work’!
Once we turned back toward the south, the bright sun made for some surreal views …
We cruised the newly groomed sections and put in the tougher effort to ride to the narrower and tighter curved sections that had only been snowshoed in so far …
A full lap of all the trail sections takes 1 to 1 & 1/2 hours depending on conditions, pace and number of hot apple cider breaks :-). Anyways, back to the trail head we went …
Just in time for me to connect with two new fatbikers who had just arrived, but missed another group of regulars who were heading off lead by Keith Holm and “Lou Fatinsky”
Angie W. and Chris F. showed up ready to roll with goggles, mitts and balaclavas at the ready (excellent start!). So I lead off onto the main groomed section … north from the trailhead parking lot, but accessed first by going out the west side of the lot by the trailhead sign and then taking the first right onto the singletrack trail for a short east leg of 100 metres before the trail heads north and west.
Chris was right behind me on the way out so he was in view of my rear GoPro video camera.
Chris lead us back and Angie followed with a wide smile on her face the whole way! Yup, the saying is true … “Everyone who rides a fatbike wears a huge smile”!! 🙂
We met up with Keith Holm’s crew and more introductions to our fun community of fatties were in order and partaken.
To top off our day’s adventures on the trail, we had a close encounter with Mike on his fat tire unicycle … that guy’s got skills! 🙂
Back at the trailhead we all marvelled at our amazing luck to have taken part in the first real day of groomed winter trail fatbiking in the our local Winnipeg and Eastern Manitoba area! Good times and more ahead! 🙂
Wayne Bishop and his 2 Wheel Revolution have done many things in the past and been involved in many different types of racing, from mountain bike racing to scramble motor cross and fatbike racing.
One year ago, a few local fatbikers got together for a ride at the Grand Beach Trails. Bishop’s name came up, and a few of us had good things to say about him. ‘He is a good man’ was the common theme. The group then decided to support him as best they could from then on.
Today, many local racers and enthusiasts appeared at Bird’s Hill Park’s Bur Oak trails, to pack down the trails with snowshoes, as per Bishop’s request. Sunday, 8:30 a.m., ‘be there’ – was understood.
After the snowshoe people (snowshoers) did their ‘thing’, more fatbikers appeared, to do their part and ride the trail, further packing the snow down as per Bishop’s request. Some of the snowshoers had family commitment and other commitments for the afternoon, so the torch was passed on to the cyclists.
Wayne thanked those he could today, but it is we in the community who thank him. Without him, this would never have happened.
A lot can happen in one year. You just need the right people. 🙂
Last night there was an invite from Wayne Bishop at 2 Wheel Revolution for people to go ride with him in the evening at the Bur Oak trails in Bird’s Hill Park. There was light snow on the ground and it is assumed that it would be fat tires only, but there was no requirement. 4 of us attended, all riding fatbikes with tires from 3.8 to 4.8 inches, 2 Specialized Fatboys (1 carbon), 1 Trek Farley 27.5 (carbon) and 1 Salsa Blackborow (mine).
The trails were relatively hard packed, with some loose ‘corn’ granular snow in the berms and some small areas of water and no snow cover. There was an overcast and there was almost no light at all, so strong front lamps were mandatory.
I tried to stick with the elite riders, but after a few kms I just waved Pat Burr by so he can join his fast friends at the front. It is a closed loop course so riding by myself was not a problem for I just followed the tracks made by the other three, and I could follow their lights for the majority of the time. It was very peaceful and I rode at my own pace. If I got lost, I know they would not leave me out there. Mark Seel, maybe, but not me. 😀
We were out there for 1.5 hours, and left close to 8:30 p.m. Be sure to be dressed before you go so you don’t get heckled by your friends and given an ultimatum of not being invited anymore!
Wayne has informed me that there will be an effort to have Wednesday night rides at Bur Oak at 6:30 from now on led by 2 Wheel Revolution. Of course situations and conditions may not permit these events from being continuous, but there will be effort made so local people can come out and experience the beautiful peaceful park at night. If you want to ride with the leaders, pack light and leave all of your extra gear in your vehicle – these people don’t screw around 🙂
WOW! Can the Fat Bike Birkie Race get any Bigger and Better?
Well, this year’s 2016 version was all that and more than the great race I have enjoyed the last two years! It wasn’t just that it has grown to over 1000 racers … the whole weekend experience was enhanced by the new Start/Finish location and venue right in the heart of Cable, Wisconsin, USA. The locale created a fun ‘carnival’ atmosphere, allowed for more sponsors space (wow – do they have a ton of sponsors – Fat Biking continues to explode!), access to local businesses and a seriously long straight racers line-up and roll out …
Credit: James Netz Photography via the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation
While we racers were all a bit nervous about the roll-out road conditions (very icy on the pre-race day), it all turned out well thanks to 3 inches of fresh snow that…
So, it was a great night for fat biking and enjoying the sights in the core of Winnipeg. I decided to enjoy more riding and stopping occasionally to capture the beauty of the night scenes … starting with the Louis Riel statue by the Manitoba Provincial Legislature:
back to the Forks, the CMHR (with Manitoba Flag out front) and hello to Ghandi:
over the Louis Riel Esplanade Footbridge and the east shore of the Red River:
Yup, it’s hard not to be a proud Manitoban Fat Biker after this night ride 🙂
What better way to ring in 2016 than a great fat bike ride on the La Salle River!
I met up with my old riding buddy/new fat biker Brian Dyck, plus Dallas Sigurdur and Dan Lockery, who were finishing their own out & back on the La Salle from La Barriere Park. We three rode to La Barriere on our own, except for a few friendly snowmobilers (thanks for packing the river folks :-)).
The ride back to La Salle on the reverse route was uneventful, except for the crisp bright scenery.
Oh that was fun! As Wayne Bishopof ‘2 Wheel Revolution‘ put it:“Love the work ethic …. -25 windchill not a problem, hiking holes on the trail not a problem, 6 km loops not a problem . Packing the loop with a dozen fatties never a problem! Great community effort!”
Here a few of my GoPro screencaps … video in the works.
The track was quite narrow (about two tire widths) for our first few laps, but totally rideable and a blast! With more riders following, Bur Oak should be in perfect condition by now … so giddy up Fatties – let ride 🙂