Monday, June 2, 2014

Breaking the Beargrease in!

Last winter I discovered the unmatched joy of riding a fat bike. I had raced Iceman for funsies on the shop demo and for me that was the final straw; I HAD to get one! I was so freaking happy when I was able to snag a Salsa Mukluk 2 and raced it every weekend straight for 12 weeks between local races and the Great Lakes Fat Bike series. Then I raced it more. I rode it around downtown and popped curbs and practiced riding up and down steps on it. I rode it everywhere! When this past spring hit, I was faced with a difficult decision: keep the Mukluk... or re-home it and upgrade to the Salsa Beargrease! ;)
2014 Salsa Beargrease! <3
It really was a win-win situation! As attached to the spunky white and neon green Mukluk as I was, I had a retired roller derby teammate/friend who was thinking about getting in to fat biking, and I took this as an opportunity to hook her up with a sweet bike and to land myself this dreamy machine.
Found this note tucked away in my handlebars // bike shop humor
I cannot say enough good things about how fat biking saved my winter. I couldn't do anything fun the winter before because I was recovering from having my ACL repaired. This winter, although I could do cross country skiing, snowboarding and downhill skiing were pretty risky. As much as I love skating, roller derby was too. Call me a chicken, but I did not want to spend another couple months "taking it easy". Ugh, booooring! Hopping on a fat bike let me get outdoors to enjoy the winter (now one of my favorite times of the year) and it helped to get my legs back to working. I can't wait for my friend to experience the beach, trails, and winter through the eyes of a fat biker! She's going to love it!
First time taking the Beargrease on trail!
(B, myself, Jenny Scott, Bob Z., El Nino)
"It's a fat bike, but it doesn't feel fat!!"
Since bringing this bike home at 11pm Thursday night, I've put in quite a bit of riding on it over the weekend. I rode it around Reed's lake before taking the long route in to the Ada Bike Shop on Friday for work. It had been a couple of weeks since I rode a fat bike, and I couldn't help but grin at the familiar whirrrrrr of the tires on the pavement. I was surprised when I realized that the fat tires didn't add too much time to my morning commute. This thing is lightweight and fast!

I met up with Bmoney, and our friends Jenny, Bob, and Clemo at Luton after work on Saturday to test the Beargrease out on the trail. Bob and I set the pace for the crew, and I just couldn't believe how zippy and fast the bike handled! I must have sounded like a broken record, because I kept shouting, "I LOVE THIS BIKE!" each time I rolled over roots or rocks, or rolled through a sandy section. I didn't feel slow at all. After riding for a bit we headed back to the parking lot to snag more water before heading out for another loop. I had the shop van loaded with some of our demo bikes because I was heading down to Fort Custer the next morning for a GRBC & WMMBA ride in the morning. Bob and Jenny grabbed some of the demos out of the van to test out on the trail. Bob set his 26" single speed aside for a Cannondale F29er and Jenny made a night-and-day swap from her single speed Surly Ogre to the 2012 Salsa Spearfish
"This bike feels like a ninja!"
We rode until the sun set and went out for Thai food afterwards. Luton was pretty dusty and we were all covered in sweat and dirt. I think the best feeling in the world is having a belly full of Thai food after a fun bike ride with friends. I fell in to bed pretty hard after a busy day at the shop followed by riding, and before I knew it my alarm was going off and it was time to get up and to get ready for a big group ride down at Fort Custer!
photo cred: Steve Johnson
Despite no coffee, Emma was in good form.
Fort Custer is a little less than an hour and a half away from my house, and we were planning on meeting people down there at 9am... this meant an early morning for B, myself, and our neighbor/friend Emma, and everyone else heading down from GR. A few folks stayed at the campground and when my alarm went off a little after 6am I was incredibly jealous that I didn't stay the night too. 

We were greeted in the parking lot with a bunch of smiling faces. Nearly 20 people made the trek out to ride the fort! It was really cool to see so many people representing the Grand Rapids area down for a fun ride. Especially because there were so many other bike events going on the same day. (XC at Hanson Hills and Flight of the Coq to name a few) I was a little bummed that I had to choose which bike thing to do, but once we started pedaling at Custer I was happy and stoked to be riding the trail on the Beargrease!

After riding for a few hours, we packed the van back up and headed to Bell's Brewery for some well deserved rewards! I'm pretty sure beer vinaigrette dressing is my new favorite salad dressing ever. It pairs extremely well with Two Hearted!! 

We were able to make it back home by 5pm and B made it to bike polo. I took the van back to Ada and rode down to help heckle at the polo courts. It probably goes without saying, but I slept really well last night!

I'm seriously so in love with the Beargrease! I know the Lumberjack 100 is less than a month away and I should be riding the Foundry Tomahawk because that's what I'm racing on... but all I want to do is ride this new bike. One more long ride fat before jumping back on 650b to train for my first hundred-miler? :)