We continue with Part Two from Joe's trip to the first ever Fatbike Summit. -Kid
Meanwhile, back at Fitzgerald's Bicycle Shop, a bunch of fatbikers had already formed a six-pack, waiting for the start of the pre-ride meeting for Saturday's West 'n Back ride. I didn't know it yet, but it would become one of two rides that weekend that would highlight to me, just how perfect the region is for fatbike riding.
Saturday morning we awoke to another six-plus inches of fresh snow! I was told that I arrived at the same time that winter decided to show up. Five riders and bikes loaded back into the van and headed to our planned start point. We found trails that were perfectly groomed the day before (we had checked) covered in 6-12" of fresh snow. The trails were too soft to ride so we regrouped at Pond's Lodge, Bar, Restaurant, and Gas Station in Island Park. Over our second breakfast burritos of the day, Jay formulated a plan to ride back roads that would certainly have been plowed and/or driven on by snowmachines, trucks, and trailers by then. Nine of us lined up for the first ever West 'n Back ride. Any competitiveness was gone and it turned into a leisurely group ride in a winter wonderland.
I was along for the ride, happy to be spinning pedals after two solid days of travel, and excited to go anywhere. The temperature hovered right around 30-degrees Fahrenheit and big fat flakes fell softly from the sky. I felt as though my face was stuck with a perm-a-grin on it as we spun along and shared ideas for opening a destination lodge for fatbikers and adventure cyclists in the area.
Just a few miles north of where we rode that day, the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route passes through Island Park. There is roughly 100 miles between that point for resupply and Lima, Montana for southbound riders. It conjured up memories of my experience and psyche at that point of my 2009 Tour Divide ride, and I enjoyed replaying those memories again. It would be near impossible to get several Divide finishers (John Foster and myself) and record holders (Jay and Tracey Petervary) together and not talk about what that ride means to each of us and how it has shaped our lives.
That night, while Tracey spoiled Jay and I with her Pasta e Fagioli, we talked about life in Victor and the Teton Valley. Jay and Tracey have carved out a living where, in many years, their vacations consist of three weeks on the Great Divide Mountain Bike Trail on a tandem, weeks in Alaska racing the 1100 miles to Nome, and this past year, an inaugural solo Race Across America effort by Jay. While Jay's No Idle Tour got all of the attention last year, setting two course records and racing RAAM self supported will do that, there is no way he could have done it without Tracey's support at home. Of course Rippin' and Chillin', their two energetic dogs help out as well...heck, I suppose the good folks at Fitzgerald's bike shop (Scott, Janine, and Brandon) and countless others are a big help too!
TO BE CONTINUED...PART 3 ON MONDAY