Fatbike community – if you are looking for inspiration, read below. Bill “Doc” Wenmark hails from MN, and is an accomplished individual in his professional and personal life. Check out his website here. From military experience, to serving others as a physician, to being a very strong marathoner (over 100 marathons completed) to an accomplished bike racer, he’s a guy who leaves few stones unturned.
Not only is he proof that age isn’t a good excuse for giving up on fitness/racing (Bill’s age is north of 60), he’s proof that when you’ve accomplished what you set out to do, you just find a new goal that’s even bigger.
Bill has been kind enough to share information and stories with Ride Fatbikes, and the story below is his update from this year’s Race Across the Sky – the 2012 Leadville Trail 100.
Bill knows the LT100. This year marks his 16th LT100 race, and his second time racing the Leadville 100 on a fatbike! The guest post below is written by Bill “Doc” Wenmark and published at RideFatbikes.com with his permission.
The 2012 Leadville 100 Mountain Bike Race is history. As Lance Armstrong surprised everyone by driving from his home in Aspen to Leadville to welcome and wish good luck to all the riders, he shared another very important fact. In his opinion, as a seven time winner of the Tour deFrance, that his two rides of the Leadville 100 MTB were the most difficult bike events he has ever done in his life?
With that backdrop almost 1,800 rider stood on the line to attempt their ability to complete 100 miles in 12 hours of the most difficult of theRocky Mountains.
This year I had the honor and privilege to work with the Road to Recovery Wounded Warriors. This group of young veterans, including one Marine from Viet Namhave suffered significant battle field injuries, outside and inside. I rode with them on training rides and help them with some advice on riding in high altitude. They were a great group, and all finished the race.
These men gave something of themselves to their country, their buddies died at their side, they are standing up, and in the words of 101st Airborne Ranger Juan Carlos, in the picture with the black beard, he lost his leg when an RPG hit their Chinook helicopter, but he said “I am still alive.” He rode his bike under 10 hours with his prosthetic leg. Kenny, who lost his right arm and still has shrapnel in his heart, road with a prosthetic arm and finished under 12 hours. These guys are the real deal.
The day was beautiful, with the only real weather challenge of a 20 mph gusting head wind on the way back to Leadville.
But who is complaining. No rain, lightening, snow, sleet or other little gifts that can be common in the mountains. Maybe inspired by the first ever attempted and completion of the LT-100 on a Fat Tire Snow Bike, this year there were two other fat bikes in the event. My goal this year was to ride my Salsa Mukluk and take it under 11 hours. My goal was any finish time that started with 10___.
I had an absolute fantastic day, great ride, and felt super all day. One of the other Fat Bikes was a single speed. He did not make the cutoff. The other rider, Tony, did well. I caught him on the top of the last 11,000 foot climb. We rode together for awhile and I decided it was time to go to the finish line. I rolled across the finish line with the Salsa Mukluk in 1st place and the clock time of 11:00:05, almost a half an hour faster than last year (thanks toJena’s new race wheels, and a lot of fitness).
Because of the number of riders we all do not cross the start line at the same time, they use “chip” timing for accuracy. Chip time is our “official” time. So my actual true finish time was 10:59:33. My goal achieved.
I am sure there will be other Fat Bikes in the future, but for now I am very proud to have been the first ever to complete the LT-100 and finish 1st again this year. This may not happen again, but history will be in the books.
Thank you all for your wonderful support. Life is to be lived and I am doing my best to set a good example as our wonderful wounded warriors.