|Patty Wixon catches me near the Bacon Station. See all of Patty's images here.|
CVO finished the rugged 50-mile off-road course in just over seven hours. Our friend Ben Shockey, from Decorah, Iowa, was the third fatbike rider in the field -- on a singlespeed no less -- and he finished in 5:49:00, which was incredible for a singlspeed fatbike. I finished in five hours flat, which just barely accomplished my goal of finishing in five hours or under on the fatbike. I had ridden a 4:22:00 last year (for 20th overall in the race) so I figured that a five hour fatbike ride was within the realm of possibility for me.
|Kyle Hansen snaps this image of Schmitty and I on the start line of wave two.|
That said, finishing in five hours on a fatbike was harder than I thought it'd be. Part of it was the fact that my fatbike is about as heavy as fatbikes get, especially in the wheels. My rims aren't the fancy ones with weight-saving cutouts... No, they're the less expensive, and heavier ones. But pointed downhill, my Mukluk was absolute rolling thunder! There were a couple of downhills in particular between aid station one and two where I was able to absolutely FLY past riders on regular bikes thanks to the inertia generated by those massive wheels and the shock absorption of the massive 4-inch wide tires. But on the flip-side, any climbs where momentum wasn't a factor became a big effort... and cumulatively, over four-plus hours of riding, the climbs began to wear on me.
The good news though, is that the Dakota Five-O finishes with a very long, fast downhill, and it was here that I was able to really open the Muk up and give it the business! In fact, there was a rider who came out of the singletrack a bit behind me, and I think he thought he was going to catch me quickly when he got out onto the road. But as soon as gravity took hold of those big fatbike wheels, I was out of sight. He'd not be seen again until after the finish line...
The Dakota Five-O has so many awesome things going on... The race is just part of what makes the experience great. One of the other things has to be the experience of camping at the Spearfish City campground -- one of the premier city campgrounds in the country. It's just a minute's ride from the start/finish line too, so you are literally camped at the race. Plus, hot showers, running water and a cool creek running through it make the camping experience great.
|Hangin' with the Decorah crew, including Singlespeed champ, Trevor Rockwell (left, next to me) and Scott Marx (center). Photo: Ben Shockey|
I definitely recommend checking out the Dakota Five-O if you're into great endurance mountain bike events. Promoters, Perry and Kristi Jewett and their group, the Ridge Riders, have assembled a course, organization and overall event that's absolutely top-notch. The raffle that follows the awards ceremony is one of the largest and best I've ever witnessed, and they do it every year! Incredible!!
Thank you so much to everyone involved in putting on the Dakota Five-O! It was by far the best mountain bike event I went to in 2012. I look forward to seeing you all next year!