Written by Eric Olds Sunday, 21 February 2021 00:00
The year marked the third or fourth time I’ve signed up for this race, but the first time I actually got to race. It seems like every year it’s got postponed due to conditions and I couldn’t make the alternate date. This year, though, we dodged an expected snowstorm, and the race went off as scheduled. And conditions were perfect with temperatures in the upper 20’s!
This is short track fat bike racing under the lights on the Nordic ski trails at Titcomb Mountain in Farmington, Me. The A race started at 7:30 on a Friday night, after the B race at 6:30. The race length was 40 minutes plus one lap. For example, if you cross the line at 39:59 you would have two laps to go, but only one to go if you cross at 40:00 or later.
The race got off to a fast start, but I almost hung on to the lead group, but they started to pull away after about a minute. Bruce Schwab wasn’t able to hang on either, but I wasn’t able to close the gap to him until early in the second lap. From there we battled it out all the way to the end. He was slightly faster on the steep punchy climbs but I was better in the loose turns, so it stayed even. Coming into the finish to complete our sixth lap we watched the timer just tick over the 40-minute mark before we crossed the line. This meant only one lap to go and the shortest possible race you could hope for. On the last lap he dropped me on the climb and I couldn’t close the gap. I kept on the gas, though in hopes that he would have trouble in turn going into the finish area and it almost paid off. He had to get off to run for a few seconds and ended up beating me by only a bike length. Some of the most fun racing I can remember!
This was the last race in the Covid shortened Maine Winter Fat Bike Series and later I discovered that if I had managed to finish ahead of Bruce, I would have taken third overall in the men’s A division! Cool to be so close, even if it was mostly due to some no shows in the final race. Kudos to Matt Reynolds and company for hosting such a fun, well laid out race. Hopefully we luck out with the same conditions next year and get more racers to show up.
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