Year 4 of Actif Epica will be a real sweetheart! On February 14, 2015, racers from around the world will gather in the frozen winter landscape of North America’s geographic centre—Winnipeg, Manitoba. While they’re here to bike or run 130 km of unforgiving temperatures, brutal winds and bare landscapes, they’ll be treated to a, Read More
With the exception of a little freezing rain to liven up the driving conditions, the weather decided to cooperate on this little excursion. Rolling into St. Pierre Jolys, I found three other like-minded individuals keen to scope out some of the course (and fit in a Sunday morning ride).
No adventure is without a hiccup or two along the way. This time around, I discovered the press-fit cups and axle had popped out when I came to unpack my bike and put the front wheel on. The idea of bailing without even one pedal stroke was not a pleasant thought. Luckily I had help in the form of the always resourceful Pete and some tools borrowed from the local gas station. Within 30 minutes Dale, Mark, Pete and I were off and rolling toward St. Malo to check out the first section of the course.
The winds picked up as we rolled out, pushing hard from the South and slowing our outbound journey. At least it looked like a speedy return trip would be in the cards. Using the narrower tires on a cross bike as a guideline, the route was almost entirely passable on that day, with minimal walking/pushing required. However, with recent snowfall and the likelihood of more to come, it will almost certainly be a different story mid-February.
Pete pointed out the Crow-Wing Trail has been widened through one of the much appreciated tree-covered sections, complete with the placement of rocks/boulders at the road side entry to deter vehicles.
Previously, this section has been known to sport deep ruts and last year greater snowfall amounts with drifting meant walking/pushing through, no matter your ‘weapon-of-choice’.
We pressed on and headed toward the bridge and field sections on the first part of the route, enjoying the unseasonably warm weather for late December.
Before long, we found ourselves in St. Malo and stopped for the obligatory picture on the (frozen) lake before turning around to head back.
The return trip went well, with strong tailwinds making for a speedy journey and we found ourselves back in St. Pierre with a quick stop to refuel at Le Routier before parting ways.
Thanks to those that were able to make it out this time it was a great day for a ride! We are planning another recon ride for a different section of the route soon (in January), so if you missed out this time and are interested in coming out to ride and chat about Actif Epica, winter riding or just for fun, stay tuned!
Date: Sunday, December 21st, 2014
Time: 9:00 am (ok, so not exactly the solstice, that’s at 5:03 pm)
Location: Meet in St. Pierre-Jolys in the parking lot of ‘Le Routier’ restaurant (on the East side of the highway right on the main road in town, ~1hr South from the Perimeter of Winnipeg on Hwy. 59)
Purpose: To preview section 1 of the Actif Epica course from St. Malo to St. Pierre (we’ll ride from St. Pierre to St. Malo and then back so you get to see it twice!)
Who: Dan Lockery will be riding at a slow rolling pace (on a fat bike) and would love it if you brought ANY type of bike and join him (bring friends on bikes too!).
The Plan: To scout the first section of the AE route, take some pictures and enjoy a fun, sociable ride out and back to St. Malo from St. Pierre. The total distance is approximately 25km one-way, with possible refuelling stops (and/or to feed your caffeine addiction) at each end of the route. I will be heading out at 9:15am sharp from Le Routier, if you arrive later, feel free to follow and catch up with us along the route as we will be moving at a comfortable pace and stopping periodically to take pictures.
Important Note: All participants join us at their own risk (e.g. please be safe, wear appropriate winter riding clothing, a helmet, bring blinky lights for improved visibility if you have them, food, water, etc.). Citing a famous quote, “YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOU”, so please respect the nature of a winter riding adventure, it can be merciless.
From year one of Actif Epica, we’ve had people asking us if we could add a relay option. Last year we did a trial, and we’re happy to announce that we have made two relay options available.
The check-point to check-point option is for a team of 6 participants. It’s great if you’re looking to just try things out and get a bit of a taste for the course and the challenge.
If you’re looking for something a bit more challenging, but not quite ready for the full 130km trek, the 2 person relay option lets you and a friend split the course, with a hand-off at the mid-way check-point in Niverville.
In either option, each person can choose whether to run or bike their particular section.
We’re happy to add this great option for people who want to give Actif Epica a shot with some friends! All you have to do is find your team, and register.
PS: We’ll be at MEC Winnipeg’s Snowfest all day today, together with all kinds of other people who love outdoor winter activity. Come by and say hello!