The Winterfest Snowbike Race happened last weekend in Stanley with over 40 racers competing in the inaugural event. While the snow was slight in town the roads around Stanley had plenty of coverage with hard packed conditions meeting all riders early Saturday morning.
The Elephants Perch team had a four person contingent ready to take on the 25 mile race. Kyle Rafford, Cameron Lloyd, Roger “mainstay” Mankus, and Brett Stevenson to round it out on the women’s side. The course was a grueling 25 mile track with over 2300 feet of climbing. It had been groomed the day before so conditions were as good as it gets for fat biking. We started out with a brief “tour” around a few blocks of Stanley before heading west onto Kelly Creek road. As soon as we hit snow the climbing started. The trail started to head up quickly and so did the pace. Right away a group pushed the pace up the hill with Cameron and Kyle making the select group. The pace stayed high at the 9 mile mark where the group was slimmed down to Kyle, Cameron, and another local Chris Estrom. Chris did his 3 second pull on the front before grinding and stopping for a lunch break at the top of the climb. Cameron and Kyle kept the pace high descending back into the valley where the snow felt like it had somehow slowed down. The trudging carried on across the Kelly Creek meadow back into the last descent into town. Cameron is his tired state thought that the climbing was behind him was hit right in the forehead by a 100 yard steep climb towards the end of the race. At that point Kyle and another rider caught him while he was yelling expletives to whomever was listening (nobody). A stronger rider then passed Cameron to go over the top of the last climb in first place. Cameron and Kyle took every chance they could on the downhill to catch the lead rider with a quarter mile to go. The leader would not give up his lead while Cameron and Kyle decided to sit on his wheel and eat mud to the finish. The two Perch riders ended up 2nd and 3rd respectively. Roger, always seeming to be going out for a lunch ride had a great day on the bike finishing a few minutes behind the lead riders.
On the women’s side Brett Stevenson who was up in the air about racing when arriving decided to throw her hat in the ring and give it a go. At the gun she wasn’t too keen on going hard but decided to try a third of the way through the race and ended up pushing it to 3rd place at the end. The rider was later quoted saying “I wonder how I would have done if I had gone a little harder right from the start”. Nobody will ever know but there is always next year to try and figure it out!
CLICK IMAGE TO VIEW