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Get Actif

by on December 14, 2011

Question for ya…do you find this scene inviting or insane?  You’d think there would be no middle ground when it comes to winter cycling–you’re either in or out, right? I’m finding that there is a continuum of crazy as regards cycling in the cold.

This winter, with the relatively warm temperatures and shocking absence of snow, has been great for building my tolerance for winter riding. The local ladies were right when they told me that cycling in winter would not be more difficult than walking or jogging in winter (just to be clear: I don’t jog–not even to the fridge). Let’s face it–if you live here, you probably have the gear to get by on a bike in the cold.

I do live here, and I grew up here which explains why I have: an Icelandic wool toque, alpaca wool leg warmers (they’re back in fashion!), merino wool long johns, ski goggles, all manner of mitts & gloves, and assorted wind pants. I also have winter camping experience (I once spent a night in a quinzhee),  and I own a sleeping bag rated to -20C.

Clearly, I am well on my way to being ready for Actif Epica, the 130km b-icicle race taking place in February…in Manitoba. I first read about this outrageous activity thanks to a link on the CycleChick’s blog.

I’ve been quizzing Altona cyclists about Actif Epica and I’m getting a lukewarm response, but I think this race is cool. You may think that puts me at the “certifiable” end of crazy, but I say it’s not about madness–it’s about motivation. Actif Epica speaks about resilience, mental toughness and survival skills. I get it.

Am I up for the challenge? Whoa—safety first.  I’m going to have to do a lot more winter riding before I commit…like, maybe Actif Epica 2015?  But a seed has been planted–crazy!

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6 Comments
  1. We are hoping to have a lot of other interesting outdoor activities at the various checkpoints, so if you’re like me and not quite up to the bike challenge just yet, you can still participate!

    Maybe you can organize a shorter group ride nearby that ends at one of the checkpoints (though, obviously, you’d want to make sure you don’t obstruct the racers).

    Green Action Centre is organizing Bougeons en hiver:Jack Frost Challenge (http://greenactioncentre.ca/content/bougeons-en-hiver/), where people can sign up in small teams to complete 130 K of outdoor walking/biking/snowshoeing/etc in the week leading up to the event.

    We hope to see you there!

    • Athena Bike Club permalink

      Hey David–thanks for the link. Who doesn’t like to move it? I’ll gauge the local interest–folks around here have been known to cycle 27km before breakfast…130km as a group should be easy as poutine for these chowhounds.

  2. Glad to hear you’re out enjoying the snow – what little of it there is, anyway. Like you, I just started winter riding outdoors this year – so it’s an intimidating challenge for sure. While I’d love to say I committed to this race after five caesars, alas, I was completely sober. No regrets though – if you do change your mind, let me know. (I’m in it for the bannock)

    • Athena Bike Club permalink

      Andrea–I am glad you’re posting about Actif Epica on your blog. You provide an important service–who knows how many others are mulling this thing over? I predict that you will look like a genius for committing to the 2012 race: here’s to blue skies and gentle breezes on Feb.18th!

  3. You can do it!

    Consider this:
    – 5 indoor checkpoints, no more than 27km between them
    – water, soup, bannock etc available along the way
    – plus, full distance finish line will be in the Snow Bar at Festival du Voyageur, where live race coverage will be broadcast all day on a giant snow screen…. can’t beat that…

    • Athena Bike Club permalink

      Ian–thanks for the encouraging words, but I fear such enthusiasm is the sort that leads to the use of a search & rescue helicopter. I will not race in 2012 (I haven’t even cycled 27km in the summer!), but I love what you’re doing with Actif Epica…vive l’esprit Canadien(ne)!

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