On a cold and rainy day on the windswept plains, nothing sounded better than sitting in a tiny cafe eating comfort food and drinking coffee. As luck would have it, that is exactly where I found myself Saturday morning and I would have been quite content to spend the rest of the morning sitting in that exact spot.
Sitting in a dry, warm cafe, sipping on coffee wasn't in the cards however. Saturday was, after all, Global Fat Bike Day and not even the cold, the rain or the wind was going to put a damper on the festivities that were to take place on this the first Saturday of December.
One of the benefits of having an event at a bike shop is that nobody looks at you funny when you bring your bicycle inside, anticipating that things were going to be a bit moist; arrangements were made to allow for folks to bring their bikes inside until the ride was leaving.
Early morning setup is always the calm before the storm, although with all the hustling around to make sure things are just right, calm might not be the most accurate choice of words.
Not everyone was as excited for GFBD as I was, some preferred to find a nice quiet spot in the shop and lay low until the crowds died down.
Glowering at the weather forecast all week, we didn't really know what to expect as far as participation would go but to our amazement we had a great turn out despite the miserable weather. There were 40 stalwart souls lined up and smiling for the traditional pre-ride photo, you all warm my heart, I know how easily it would have been to have stayed home.
Right before we took off, there was a slight ebb in the rain and I momentarily thought that maybe we would get lucky and the predicted steady rain wouldn't be quite so steady.
Those hopes were soon dashed and the perpetual rains were back on track but despite all of that spirits were high and smiles were everywhere.
Saturday wasn't all fun and games for everyone however and someone was doing whatever they were doing, with whatever the heck this thing was.
Regrettably the rain returned in earnest and to add to the misery, the farther from downtown and more in the open we got, the stronger the wind and subsequent chill got.
Sometimes you just need to get that extra boost of heat from the inside, Fireball does that quite well when the temps outside are bone chilling.
The original route had us going all the way to the buffalo enclosure in Pioneers Park, when we stopped at the buffalo sculpture and I suggested that we were close enough, I didn't hear a single objections; so back to warmth we headed. Our littlest rider had had enough by the time we got back to Good Life Fitness, so we arranged for a ride for him and his dad back to the shop; no shame it knowing when enough is enough.
Stripping out of those wet clothes and getting some hot chili in your belly never felt so good, sometimes a little discomfort goes a long ways toward helping you appreciate some of the things we take for granted.
After chowing down it was time to announce the winners of the contest and give away the raffle prizes. Big thanks to our three judges, Allison, Kelley and Russell for picking the three winners of the Chili Cook Off; that can't be an easy job as they all tasted good to me. Winners were, Gary in first place, Jason in second and Delan in third. Thanks to everyone who came out and rode with us, you guys always make it worth the time and effort to put these things together.
Also a big shout out to all of our sponsors in no particular order, Goldenrod Printing, Orange Seal, Salsa, Surly, QBP, Moran's, Fireball, White Elm, Empyrean, Fat-Bike.com, BikeLNK, Park Tool, Kevin Fox and Rothera. Let's regroup and do it again next year.