Fat Camp 2016 - Of donuts and beer. And fatbikes and weather.

So there we were...

It's Saturday, February 20th, 6:15am. Mark is standing in line behind a very questionable-looking couple at a Kwik Trip in Appleton with four 6-packs of glazers in one hand and a hot cup of joe in the other. 

Stop. Wait a minute. You've heard this story before, haven't you. But in case you're wondering, yes, we always hit a Kwik Trip on the way out of town, and yes, there's always a questionable-looking couple in line at 6:15am on a Saturday morning. 

Also, I know that you're probably expecting some Katy Perry at this point, so, here. We'll meet you back here in 3:30. 

We're feeling thankful, humbled.

Saturday was actually bittersweet for us as it brought to a close the 2016 Snow Crown Fat Bike Race Series. So before we get into how the day unfolded, we want to thank George, Sarah, and everyone at Broken Spoke Bicycle Studio for getting us involved in this event; and all the fat bikers who came out to race for just being frickin' awesome! We met so many amazing new friends that the whole thing has been sort of overwhelming. It's hard to overstate how much fun we had and how much we appreciate everyone involved.

Woohoo! Fatbikes!

Let's Go To Fat Camp!

Alright, as everyone knows, Mother Nature was not real cooperative with the fat bikers in Wisconsin this past weekend. Maybe she had other plans and decided to let that petulant child, El Niño (that's Spanish for, "The Niño") have the run of the place while she was gone. Whatever the case may have been, the insufferable springlike weather combined with the first-time running of a new race in the Snow Crown series left everyone with many questions in the days leading up to Fat Camp:

  • Would the putrid springlike weather make the course unrideable?
  • Would the unbearable springlike weather keep riders at home, playing basketball in the driveway? 
  • Would Shane Veldhuizen sign up for the men's race, or the women's?
  • Would Jake Glatt show up on time? 
  • Would Cole House win a pair of Bar Mitts?
  • Would Mark and Sean break a fat bike tandem? 

Ok, those last four are not weather related, but I'm pretty sure they were on everyones' minds. Anyhow, only Fat Camp and Father Time could reveal the answers we all so desperately sought. 

With the despicable springlike weather, Mark and I thought some riders may experience some mashed potato snow-induced rage out on the course, so we brought some props to lighten the mood a little bit: hula-hoops for hula-hooping, and fishing poles with donuts at the end of the line to troll the course and tempt the riders. Of course, series sponsor, Hinterland Brewery also pulled through and dropped off a keg for everyone, which is probably a more effective mood-lightener. But to our thinking, hula-hoops + fishing poles + donuts + beer - good snow would still equal fun times. Because in the end, it just doesn't matter as long as you had fun, and you'd better have fun because it just doesn't matter! 

Go ahead, take a minute to let that one soak in.

Hinterland beer and Kwik Trip glazers: fuel for health conscious fat bike racer. 

Hinterland beer and Kwik Trip glazers: fuel for health conscious fat bike racer. 

Murrayisms aside, by the end of the day, all our questions had been answered. 

The course was rideable, mostly. Or perhaps somewhat. I can't be certain because I didn't ride it. But given the conditions, I think it was as good as anyone could have hoped. We have a friend who puts together some pretty big events, and he always tells us that the event organizers only control 49% of the experience, Mother Nature controls the rest, and who knows what the heck she was up to last weekend. In any case, the Snow Crown crew definitely held up their end of the bargain, and then some. 

Some riders probably did stay home to play basketball in the driveway due to the nasty springlike weather, and those riders missed out on an awesome day at the fatbike races. I hope all their shots were off and their basketballs rolled into puddles. 

It turned out that Shane signed up for the men's race this week! Though there was an exciting moment when he and Leia Schneeburger (Broken Spoke/Door County Brewing) came through the start/finish to begin their final lap and were literally neck and neck. I believe their may have even been a stiff arm involved, which is technically only allowed in the short race. Of course, Leia was only there because she stopped to take me on in a hula hoop battle, otherwise she would have been much further up the trail. Still, at that moment I wished Shane had signed up for the women's race, because it would have been an epic battle for the top podium spot!

Side note: let the record show that Shane was nowhere near making the men's or women's podium because, a) he stopped after lap one to have a beer and a donut, and b) he also stopped several times on the course to help other riders who had tire issues, and still others who needed pep talks.

Actually, I'm not sure if the latter is true because I made it up, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was. The former was absolutely true, though, and that's why fat bike racing is awesome. And that's why Shane is always on the podium in our hearts and minds. It's all about having fun and from what we've seen throughout Snow Crown, not many folks are having more fun than Shane. Thanks for being such a good sport, Shane! And for taking our relentless ribbing for being accidentally listed in the women's race at Shell Track with a smile.

Shane, enjoying his lap beer and donut, and just being generally awesome.

Shane, enjoying his lap beer and donut, and just being generally awesome.

As for Jake, he did show up on time on Saturday and boy, let me tell you, the Big Diesel was ready to put that hammer down and give it hell! He finished in third place in the 26-49 Short Race and I attribute part of his course-smashing success to having proper tire pressure. A decision I'm assuming he made with the help of the Accugage he won two weeks prior at Koldwave in the "11 o'clock race". Great ride, Jake! Thanks for being awesome!

The men's short course 26-49 podium. 1st: Jim Rose, 2nd: Steve Toyne, 3rd: Jake Glatt, at right. Photo courtesy of Sarah Hardy. 

The men's short course 26-49 podium. 1st: Jim Rose, 2nd: Steve Toyne, 3rd: Jake Glatt, at right. Photo courtesy of Sarah Hardy. 

Oh, and yes, Cole did in fact win some Bar Mitts. And we heard he got a haircut, too. Congratulations, Cole! 

If you need some Bar Mitts, talk to Cole. Photo courtesy of Cole House. 

If you need some Bar Mitts, talk to Cole. Photo courtesy of Cole House. 

And lastly, we did not break a fat bike tandem. They say sometimes that comedy is tragedy plus time. Well, I think we're almost able to joke about this one. Though it still stings a bit. Maybe we need a few more weeks... If you don't know what I'm talking about, good. If you do, I'll just say that sometimes we come up with ideas that are just too fun. 

Joel & Elise. It's not broken, they're just stopping for a beer. These two really know how to take adversity in stride and with a smile. Photo courtesy of Desiree Schmidt. 

Joel & Elise. It's not broken, they're just stopping for a beer. These two really know how to take adversity in stride and with a smile. Photo courtesy of Desiree Schmidt. 

Alright, enough nonsense. Let's get a results rundown!

Results Rundown!

Men's Races:

  • Most Beers and Donuts Consumed During the Race: Shane Veldhuizen (1 full donut at least, ??? beers)
  • Promptness Award: Jake Glatt
  • Most Bar Mitts Won in 2016: Cole House (Broken Spoke/Door County Brewing) (3 pairs, I think?)
  • Most snowballs in the earhole: George Kapitz
Snowballs for George as he comes around for the last lap at Fat Camp. Photo courtesy of Sarah Hardy.

Snowballs for George as he comes around for the last lap at Fat Camp. Photo courtesy of Sarah Hardy.

Women's Races:

  • Final Lap Hula Hoop Battle Winner: Leia Schneeburger (Broken Spoke/Door County Brewing)
  • Most Names that Start with the letters K, E, L: Kelsey Kellermann, or, "Kel-Kel".
  • Best Course Description: Kristina Navarro (I can't type it here. It was expletive-laden. But I think it was good. Yeah, it was good.)
  • Fastest names: Ones that begin with K.
Women's Short Race 26-49 Podium. 1st: Kelly Raber, 2nd: Katie Meyer, 3rd: Kelsey Kellermann.

Women's Short Race 26-49 Podium. 1st: Kelly Raber, 2nd: Katie Meyer, 3rd: Kelsey Kellermann.

Wait, that was all nonsense, too!

Well what did you expect? 

The real results can be found here, courtesy of Kevin and his tip chiming system. 

Woohoo! Fatbikes!

Thanks for reading,

-Mark & Sean