The cold. This year it has been relentless, and what is a hearty Winnipeger to do in these dire conditions?
Well, they can go to the Forks on February 16th with their family and their bicycles, and race on the river in Icebike 2014.
Who in their right mind would entertain the thought of riding their bike on the river anyways? We have all seen the crazy couriers downtown (who point their finger right back at us saying ,’WE are the ones who need to be examined’), and we have seen the occasional solitary rider, but a race? Organized racing? Which Sherlock put this together?
His name is Jackson Locken, and the people close to him tell me he’s an alright guy. They say he’s a little out there, but alright by their standards.
Kidding aside, our weather patterns in Manitoba and elsewhere can even be considered dangerous as of late. Just recently at Minnesota’s Arrowhead Winter Ultra Marathon, the weather beat up Manitoba’s best, with wind temperatures going down to -41C. These people stay out for 20, 30, 40, even 60 hours to get their races done. Luckily, the racers of Icebike don’t have to stay out too long.
“When it comes to staying warm while riding in the cold everyone has their preferences. We recommend a base layer that covers everything (feet, legs, arms, hands, torso, neck, most of the head), and depending on how cold it is we also recommend a fleece layer or a wind breaking layer, or both. Like I said though, it boils down to rider preference, some people run hot and some people run cold.” says Bradd Bezaire, Icebike’s media and communications technician from Woodcock Cycleworks.
“In term of crash protection, most of the course is hard packed snow, and since most riders have several layers on to stay warm extra padding isn’t usually necessary, but it’s not discouraged,” he adds.
The event even has a kids section for ages 13 and under, 9 and under, and 7 and under. The adults have a variety of races and events, ranging from 4 to 18 kilometers. The price for adults is $35 and for children it is $15, with a $5 early registration discount available to all entrants.
“In the spirit of being inclusive to all skill levels we have several different race lengths: the Snowflake being the shortest (4 – 6 km), our intermediate race which is called the Icicle (8 – 12 km), and our advanced race, the Abominable (12 – 18 km). In addition to those we’re introducing a Fat Bike race called the Fatsquash which is the same length as the Abominable (12 – 18 km),” says Bezaire.
The kids race, which starts at noon, is not on the river. Instead, it winds around the Scotiabank outdoor theatre and on the groomed walking paths at The Forks. The adults race has an interesting section that looks like a cinnamon bun, and surely one rider going down will be taking out another ten. That will be a popular spectator sight, for sure.
The adults race pre-race assembly and instructions start at 12:30 pm. The Fatbike race (spectators will love this) will start at 12:50 pm, Abominable at 12:45 pm, Icicle at 12:47 pm, and Snowflake at 12:48 pm. Racers cannot wear hockey helmets, only bicycle helmets, and their bikes must have brakes and be mechanically sound.
All photos by Jonathan Millions