ca•ma•ra•de•rie-noun comradeship; good-fellowship.
Origin: 1830–40; < French, equivalent to camarade comrade Synonyms :conviviality, bonhomie, brotherhood.
Sounds legit. And that's the feeling I walk away with after spending a couple days with some of the best people in the world.
This past weekend brought the third addition of the Sweaty Yeti fatbike race back to the Levis Mound Trail in south western Clark County. As race director, there is no end to the fretting about having everything ready for a race. This year was no different. Another blast of the polar vortex dropped temps and unappreciated snow on the event the evening before, which just added to the scramble. But, as it all turned out, the worry was for naught. Everyone was happy with the race, the course and the turnout.
The explosion of fatbikes this year was evident just in looking at the starting line. The inaugural event saw just two brands of bikes toeing the line-this year, pushing a dozen, with even the big boys Trek and Specialized in attendance (they finally got the memo that fatbikes are not a fad). The race calendar is full every weekend and the Wisconsin Fatbike Race Series steadily growing with the 'Yeti a participating member.
What was born out of borrowed bikes and last minute rider drafts for teams (and a whole lotta fun), has matured some, with solo riders joining the teams out on course and nearly everyone arriving with their own steed. There is something to be said for keeping a race simple and fun and hopefully the Sweaty Yeti represents that. Times are less important that lap counts (keeps scoring easy) and it's not unheard of for racers to enjoy a beverage between laps. Hydration is important.
For the locals who build and maintain these trails and developed specialized grooming equipment for the snow course, the race is a chance to show off their work. Each lap incorporates some ski trail to maneuver and plenty of singletrack to climb and descend on. The new snow did soften things up some, but the one section of hike-a-bike was well rewarded with a long swoopy downhill. Hopefully riders will come back and explore the much longer loops within the trail system.
The race attracts riders from across the midwest and is a reunion of sorts (for me anyway). Biker friends I may see just at the 'Yeti or fun festivals like Gnomefest seem to gather and pick up those friendship right where they left off. I appreciate that. It is a brotherhood (and sisterhood) of sorts-like minded people who aren't afraid to get dirty, frosty, go fast or slow, and who enjoy the ride- not taking life too seriously.
Fatbiking is the ultimate bike ride and as some say, you come back with that “fatbike grin” after every ride. There were a lot of those grins at the Sweaty Yeti-the ultimate payback for hosting our event and why we keep love what we do. See y'all next year!
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Steve Meurett lives, works and plays in West Central Wisconsin and spends about every free moment outdoors where his passions lie. His outdoor interests take him on and off trail, pursuing mountain biking and skinny skiing, photography and hunting, while keeping an eye on wild mushrooms and the next fruit for craft wine. Steve is the Trail Director at The Levis Mound Trail System and member of the Clark County Trails Advisory Committee. He resides, teaches and is a photographer in Neillsville. Steve can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.