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John Lamb, Published January 31 2011

Only one way to describe this winter race: BRRR

Even with temperatures hovering below zero Sunday afternoon, some area bike riders weren’t letting winter keep them down.

About 63 riders, ages 8 to 60, took part in BRRR – Bicycle Race on the Red River. The event, located in Fargo-Moorhead Community Gardens just off the Terrace Roads neighborhood northeast of downtown Fargo, featured a 5K and 10K race over fields, the river and packed snow.

“It couldn’t be better,” said one of the organizers, Jeremy Christianson, his beard covered in icy chunks. “We like frozen beards.”

Christianson’s employer, Great Northern Bicycle Co. of Fargo, sponsored the event.

A fire pit by an organizational tent and hot chocolate helped keep people warm when they weren’t racing.

Christianson said last week’s temps in the 30s would’ve made conditions too wet. The melt, followed by this weekend’s freeze, added a little texture and grip to the ice part of the course, which had previously been plowed.

Matt Burton-Kelly and Alison Finstad of Grand Forks drove down for the 10K race on the river.

While neither is new to winter riding, the course presented some unique challenges.

“Riding through fields was a little trickier than it should’ve been,” Burton-Kelly said, adding that the drops getting down to the frozen river and back up to the shore were “especially interesting.”

Despite the conditions on the ground or in the air, participants liked getting out on their bikes and getting a different perspective thanks to a view from the river.

“It was pretty nice riding on the river,” said Jen Walla, a Fargo resident who rides bike throughout the winter.

“How often do you get to ride on the river?” Christianson asked.

After the races, riders were invited to Great Northern Bicycle Co. to warm up and win some door prizes.

Readers can reach Forum reporter John Lamb at (701) 241-5533