Tag Archives: Actif Epica

Video Time: Actif Epica 2014

It’s Actif Epica video time again … well almost … here’s my Trailer for “Actif Epica 2014 – Meeting The Challenge”.

This year’s 3rd Annual race was even more EPIC than previous years, thanks to plenty of snow and a chilling wind from the north!
Once again, I was sadly sidelined with an injury, but I really enjoyed my now usual role as Roving-Medic-Support-Video guy and starting to work on the video has just re-awakened my awe of the spectacle of racer’s stepping, pedaling and skiing up to Meet the Challenge of this great event! Human Powered Perseverance and Resilience … it’s awesome to see!

This year’s 3rd Annual race was even more EPIC than previous years, thanks to plenty of snow and a chilling wind from the north!
Once again, I was sadly sidelined with an injury, but I really enjoyed my now usual role as Roving-Medic-Support-Video guy and starting to work on the video has just re-awakened my awe of the spectacle of racer’s stepping, pedaling and skiing up to Meet the Challenge of this great event! Human Powered Perseverance and Resilience … it’s awesome to see!

Actif Epica 2012 Video – EPIC Fat Tire Friendly Race!

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”!!

Round up and looking ahead

Fat Ian’s Post:

Phew.  The last week has been busy.  Last Wednesday was a well-attended info night for the Actif Epica bike challenge (here’s the record on twitter, and CycleChick reports here).  More than 35 people attended, and Ernie, Hal and Lindsay shared their thoughts on winter survival and biking.  The summary version would be: know your limits & be aware of what you are doing, test your equipment as much as you can, and ride your own ride/don’t give up too easily.  Mixed in there somewhere was Ernie’s advice: talk to others who are doing what you want to do. To that end, feel free to drop a comment on this (or other) posts, or on the ManitobaFatBike blog.

On the weekend there were lots of things going on.

FatDan, FatDallas and I went and did a 100km fatbike ride (gravel road ride) in Grand Forks.  If you think we don’t have much snow, you should see GF – they have none.  It was a hard day in the wind, but we *did* reach climax.

…And that was good for at least 20km of risque jokes.  Never mind that Dallas met the Mayor of Climax.  Whatever that means.

And then on Sunday we had the “applied” portion of the info session: 9 riders showed up for an easy-paced group ride.
We headed out west on the Harte Trail, and then, via a detour that Serge spotted, headed further west on Wilkes to loop around via Hall Rd and the Grand Trunk trail.  The detour involves turning left/south off of the Harte trail just at the edge of that clearing close to the perimeter (maybe 1km or so from the perimeter).  Serge’s trail “zigs” south and east until it “zags” west again close to Wilkes.  It’s a nice off-road section that adds some distance and variety.  And it saves you from having to cross the perimeter if you go under the Wilkes overpass (yay, safety!).

Other rides this weekend included Guy checking out the Seine north of Windsor Park Golf Course (rideable) and Hal and Dan (and Lindsay, separately) riding the LaSalle between LaBarriere and the town and LaSalle (also rideable).  These ride reports were as of Sunday afternoon.  Keep in mind things (like ice) change, so pay attention unless you want wet feet (or worse).

Meanwhile FatAl was down in Tuscobia riding 75 miles.  I know he finished, and that he may have inadvertently ridden a few extra miles, but we’ll wait for his full report.  For now we can only speculate that it was awesome and that he rocked it.


This Wednesday, there will be the usual group ride at Assiniboine Forest at 7 p.m.  Neither Hal nor I can make it, but hopefully some others can.

Christmas weekend/week after: it’d be great to get some rides in.  If you’re heading out, why not drop a comment and find some buddies to ride with.

New Year’s Eve/Day: Jon L., FatSteve and others have mused about riding the Epinette loop at Spruce Woods Provincial Park (40km loop, with 3? cabins with woodstoves, hilly, fun).  I personally can’t ride those days, but it sure sounds like a fun idea.  If you’re interested, leave a comment or start your own thread for a New Years Ride (see also comments on the post below this one).

See ya out there.

Actif Epica group therapy session…

Fat Ian’s Post:

Have you stopped shaving (everywhere) in an effort to capture every joule of warmth leaving your body?

Do you know which grocery store’s plastic bags make the best vapour barrier socks? (I’m looking at you, Dan)

Come talk about your issues with people who understand you…

Actif Epica Info Session

Whether you’re planning to ride the Actif Epica bike challenge or even just considering it, you probably have some questions about how to prepare for it and what kind of gear you might need. We totally get that. We also know that meeting some possible training buddies can help too, so we’re having a little get together to go over things and answer questions. Then, a couple days later, we’re organizing a relaxed group ride to try it out.

Get together: Wednesday, December 14th – 7 to 9 p.m. at Olympia Cycle and Ski, 1813 Portage Avenue.

  • 7:00 – Introductions from Ian Hall, Actif Epica coordinator
  • 7:10 – Ernie Whelan* – Cold weather safety/survival
  • 7:40 – Hal Loewen – bike prep and clothing/gear advice
  • 8:00 – Lindsay Gauld – mental toughness and mental preparation
  • 8:15 – Q&A

*Ernie Whelan (Air Force Sergeant), is a former member of 435 Transport and Rescue Squadron in Winnipeg andSearch and Rescue Technician (SAR Tech), who is now a Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE) Instructor at theCanadian Forces School of Survival and Aeromedical Training (CFSSAT) at 17 Wing, Winnipeg.

You likely heard about him in local and national news last year during his ‘Gliding Thru Barriers’ winter skiing trek on Lake Winnipeg. Check out coverage of his trek HERE, HERE and HERE.

If you can’t make it in person, we’ll be tweeting the meeting (#ActifEpica) and taking questions from the virtual audience.

***For those who are keen, the Wednesday night fatbike ride (skinnies welcome) will leave from Olympia at 9 p.m.)***

And then:

Group ride: Sunday, December 18th – 9 a.m. at the Assiniboine Forest parking lot (meet at Grant Avenue at Chalfont Rd) for a 2-3 hour group ride. Experienced ride guides will lead the ride at an easy pace (we’ll go as fast as the slowest rider) that will head out the Harte Trail and tackle some open prairie sections.  This should be a good simulation of what one of the sections of Actif Epica will be like.

An Actif Epica teaser – Checkpoint #1:

Almost Wednesday

Fat Ian’s Post:

How about the usual meeting spot, then south through Assiniboine Park and west into Woodhaven/Sturgeon Creek area?  Other ideas?

And – for the following Wednesday (the 14th), since there will be an Actif Epica info night at Olympia, could we bump the ride later (start at 9 from the shop)?  Even if you’re not sure about Actif Epica, I hope you’ll attend – it’ll be an informal chat about winter biking that should be interesting.  Multi-time Arrowhead finisher and soon-to-be Iditabike racer Lindsay Gauld will be a guest speaker.

The other 4:30

Fat Dan’s Post:

This past Sunday was another occasion to discover a time of day that I’m normally unfamiliar with.  What better excuse to do that than for an Actif Epica recon ride.  After stumbling down a few flights of stairs and stuffing everything in my car I met up with Dallas, Hal and Ian before setting off towards the floodway to investigate the route.  Once the sun came up and the snow started to fly I remembered that my camera was handy so I’ll let the pictures do most of the talking.

As promised, the route was pretty open and it will definitely be interesting to see what happens when we get a little more snow out there.  After around six hours of riding we made it back, good times!

Actif Epica 2012

Fat Ian’s Post:

Hey fat bikers,

There’s going to be a winter bike event happening on February 18, 2012.  It’s going to be a longish distance affair – 130km from St. Malo to Winnipeg.

Details here: http://actifepi.ca/, with some thoughts on the course here.  It’s a challenge, and finishing will be an accomplishment.  I hope you’ll consider taking part.

I’m also looking for volunteers and sponsors – if you/someone you know would like to lend a hand, it would be hugely appreciated.

Start training!

Ian Hall

Actif Epica Race Director/Olympia Cycling Club