05 March 2018 | Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada
For better or worse, I'm interested in a variety of adventures. Most are well-planned epics that require months of planning and preparation. Then, there are the others, the smaller trips - a couple of weeks in Mongolia; a human powered border to border adventure across Colorado, a short Fat Bike trip to Yellowknife... These require less overall planning but still enough preparation to make time management a must.
For these smaller trips, I generally enlist one or two friends from somewhere around the country. Most don't really know what they're getting into but come along regardless. It takes a special person to leave the comfort and convenience of normalcy and light out for the unknown. And trusting too. I'm a big picture guy, leaving some details to be sorted out later as need arises.
The truth is I actually like the details too - pouring through gear to find the exact right piece of equipment, implementing systems to keep me safe, finding routes through remote wilderness. I could spend all day sifting through these small aspects of adventure planning. However, on any given day, I'm also dealing with a variety other expeditions (North Pole, Greenland, Alaska, Antarctica) and the hundreds other details associated those trips permits, logistics, gear and more.
Which brings me to Adam. My short week adventure is his biggest continuous Fat Bike adventure. But he's no slouch on experience. Having grown up as a competitive biathlete, he's had his own fair share of kayaking, sailing, biking and climbing trips around the world. He's an accomplished fat biker as well having completed the Arrowhead 135 and a long list of other races. Today, he runs Dirty Candy Designs a mountain bike trail building company, but back when we lived in northern Minnesota together, we regularly raced against each other for fun. Sometimes I won, but mostly Adam won.
There were no races today. Instead, we spent the day reassembling bikes and doing a final gear sort. Adam is just the guy for all this. He is is hard-working and focused. Not everyone can dive head-long into the myriad projects that are involved in prepping for a week of fat biking. It's tedious but each task is a critical part of traveling in extreme cold with not much of a safety net. He's a good mechanic, too and has that engineering mind-set that is so often useful for problem solving).
After the bikes were together, we spent most of the afternoon riding around Yellowknife and enjoying the near spring-like conditions: 10 degrees Fahrenheit and no wind. Last night, we could barely keep our footing on the icy roads, but our studded Terrenne tires gripped the slick surface like it was dry pavement. Our first stop was the newly finished ice castle, then down the ice road (can you see a pattern here). Then, we snuck out on some snowmobile trails through the woods. It was incredible and we could barely contain our enthusiasm. I have had a life-long love affair with bikes and today's ride only reenforced the passion.
Tomorrow, we will get a shuttle about 100 kilometers to Behchoko and begin pedaling in earnest.
Image: Adam in riding in front of Yellowknife's Ice Castle