Taking a Spoon to a Gun Fight: The Fat Bike at a 100km XC Race
March 2nd, 2017
March 2nd, 2017
Scott likes fat bikes and bike packing, and generally pushing himself to the limits in cold or difficult situations. All this with a full-time job and fathering responsibilities. We could learn a thing or two from Scott, but just don't leave any cake near him. Seriously.
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So if guns are for show and knives for a pro, what the hell is a spoon any good for in a fight? Alan Rickman, would claim it hurts more. Who would it hurt the most though?At the Gorrick 100, an annual race that is more challenge than a race (yeah right) over 100km of Surrey woodlands, which is typically twisty and rooty, but is great fun. The courses organised by Gorrick are always pretty good fun and all the category contestants appear to have fun too.
Having felt off all week and not that interested in riding, with a Thursday night rock climbing session being the only exercise that seemed to lighten my ambivalence to training in the week, I was really struggling with the idea of racing. So I hatched a silly plan that I knew would put a smile on my face and be some good exposure for my fat bike sponsor Cycleworks.co.uk (you have to do your bit) and I decided to race my Specialized Fatboy. A pretty bad idea considering the lack of mud, snow and/or sand on the fast-rolling trails of Porridgepot near Deepcut. So arriving at the race village, I got registered, chatted to a few folk, as ya do, grabbed a spare tube off Big Al and then got myself sorted and readied the fatbike. This was never going to be easy and frankly I still felt at odds with riding let alone racing, but I was on the start line nevertheless, and we were off.
A funny thing happens inside your head when you start a race, you take off like a loon and forget about most things. Squeezing past riders on the first tight turn, I thought I would have a crack at seeing how well I could do, but I was under no illusion - I was on a damn fatbike (the spoon) whilst everyone else was on 29er cross-country mountain bike race machines (the guns). Surprisingly though, as I pressed on, I made up places. Probably thanks to scaring a few people as the 4.6" tyres rumbled up behind them. I took off camber lines in the inside of turns to overtake, just because the fat tyre traction would allow it, and I generally started having fun. Lap five (that's 50km into a 100km race) started to cause me some issues, so I decided to reign it in a bit. At this point I had fallen into good company and started sharing some work, alternating in a drafting train with the eventual female winner, Amanda Brooks, a fellow antipodean, but she soon rode me off her wheel and went on to the win. I eventually rolled across the line in a surprising 19th on the tractor that is the Fatboy. Not a bad spoon fight if I do say so myself, but I was fully broken. The spoon hurt more than its spring partners. As soon as feeling had returned, so did the notion that fat bikes are just damn cool, in a 'stupid' kind of way. Big wheels are big fun, even if they do add challenge to challenges you thought were tough enough.