A Fatbike Tale
By : Eyk Deutschmann
Once upon a time two splendid looking young fellows spent their lazy summer eves, hatching the utmost, astonishing plan. And this is their story: Both of the formidable lads had some utterly strange bicycles, which were meant to roll where nothing else, on our sweet little planet, could ever roll.
They were almost, kind of…outerspace machines.
Months and months passed by; reading expedition reports and studying rare maps of unknown earthly terrain. Soon the two bold comrades spent all their pocket money – and a lot more – on sausages, socks and hats to withstand the evil forces of the northern wilderness. The plan was to wait until winter had firmly settled in the northern mountains of southern Norway to bring their heavily laden machines there and hover across the fjell from north to south.
Then finally….when loads of shiny white snow had fallen out of gray skies and Father Frost had turned all water to solid rock our two gentle companions decided to strap all their sausages onto their lovely machines and move north to the glory of our Holy Godfather of the Church of Bulgy Tires. The two ambitious but not at all ambiguous contestants reached Otta on a springy late winter tuesday that had followed some likely monday. Dusk flowed into the deep notch of the remote valley and the flanks left and right grew steeper and steeper pretending some perpendicular abyss by means of trickery or twilight.
The machines had some 120 pounds each and as they were saddled by our two virtuous tinkerers. They started to crawl up the mountain side to the east. Icy slopes had to be mastered in uncountable turns while night fell upon the country in heavy swells.
After hours of pushing and sweating the upper plain was reached and the excellently conceived machines made first contact to the soft and grumpy snow. that the skies had thrown onto mother earth during the last months of the shallow sun.
Oh how awfully distressing progress had become. More digging than floating – what outrageous impudence! Towards midnight the first camp was erected to let sleep wipe away bitter sorrow. During the night, downy flakes flung themselves onto the veil that covered our two peacefully dreaming disciples of bantingism and softened the peripherie.
Some of the expedition members preferred their soft pillows though. When all the newly made hot drinks had been stowed away, the very next morning, fate was attempted again and slowly, the huge black rubber crept through the virgin linen like a squirrel with the flu.
When several hours had gone by our two conquerors came to the point of no return with heavy hearts, decided in bitter despair not to tempt fate. Deep snow spread out in front of them rocking to and fro beneath uncertain winds. What a blow to our heroes!
They decided to take the beast from another side, directing themselves southwest towards the valley. They ended up exploring another track that they had come to attack the fjell from the south.
Further nights had to be spent up in the mountains.
The next day our heavily afflicted brothers had to confirm that again they got stuck in hip deep snow drift.
There was no choice but to enforce the complete retreat doubling back all the way they had come.
Their past traces had already vanished – the surroundings again covered by an all new white sheet.
So another day went by with hard manhandling of the loads and the two had to drink high spirits in the evening as a substitute for the ones they had lost during the day. The subsequent morning flaming machines with plow-warriors stormed down the valley preparing a consistent track. Temperatures rose above zero and heavy snow and rain blew into their faces in strong gusts for two long and exhausting days.
Ankle deep slush splattered allover and formed wild creatures out of the machines. When all of our clothes and sleeping bags where dripping with icy cold water our two beaten fighters headed up the mountain again…..for revenge!
Scrambling up through stifling haze and terrifying mists the snows rose up to the yonks.
When they entered the fjell the wind turned north and the temperatures dropped. Late afternoon it was already 10°C below zero and the clothes, soaking wet, froze hard as brick. By the time their camp had been erected the temperature had fallen to 16°C below zero and the most beautiful moon rose into sullen skies. What a tranquil and splendid moment that was!
Editor’s Note : Hopefully Eyk and I have conquered our translations correctly and you’re enjoying this Fat-Bike Tale! Check back on Saturday morning to read Part 2 of Chasing Winter!