Category Archives: Fatbike Event

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Triple F 2012 (photo credit: Bill Vitali)

 

The Ride Fatbikes site has a new platform.  If you were following our site at Ridefatbikes.Wordpress.com, please update all links and bookmarks to our all new site at RideFatbikes.com.

More than ever, we are focused on content by the fatbike rider, for the fatbike rider.  Check out our new site and contact us with your story ideas, guest posts, race recaps, and more.  Please make sure that if you’ve somehow navigated to this site by accident, you update any links or bookmark that brought you here to go directly to RideFatbikes.com.  We will no longer keep this content up to date, and will focus our attention on our new and improved website at RideFatbikes.com.

Thanks for your support over the last year and remember that RideFatbikes.com mission is to be a fatbike community resource by the fatbike rider, for the fatbike rider.  Feel free to contribute your ideas, guest posts, race recaps and more at RideFatbikes.com.

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Equinox Snow Challenge 2012 – Guest post by Ben Welnak

Equinox Snow Challenge photo

The following is a guest post written by RideFatbikes.com contributor, Ben Welnak.  You can find more stories and posts by Ben at his blog, BenWelnak.com.  He is also an owner of the Vail Colorado bike manufacturer, Twenty2 Cycles.  Be sure to check out Twenty2 Cycles here.

Equinox Snow Challenge 2012

This has been the winter of fatbikes and there is no better way to end the winter riding season with a real challenge.  The Equinox Snow Challenge, held annually since 2007, has added a fatbike category to the normal ski and run categories. The race is set to start at 10am on Saturday, March 24th at the Rendezvous Ski Trails in West Yellowstone, Montana. Skiers, runners, and cyclists have several categories to choose from, including 3, 6, 12, and 24 hour divisions for soloists up to relay teams up to 8 members.

The Equinox Snow Challenge is a unique fatbike race. The Rendezvous Ski Trails normally host several national caliber ski events annually. This is a one-time opportunity to ride fatbikes on the trails, which are open to skiers only from November through May. Race director, Sam Newbury really loves the area’s fatbiking potential, stating that “West Yellowstone is referred to as the ‘Moab of fatbiking’ by many. There are over 500 miles of groomed snowmobile trails in the Gallatin National Forest and the adjoining Targhee National Forest, both of which share boundaries with Yellowstone National Park, which provide ample exploring.”

The race organizers wanted to explore alternatives for skiers and bikers to share winter trail resources. They wantedto run an event that supports the local community, while providing an arena for participants to challenge themselves to new levels. It is meant to be a grassroots type event, rather than a “glossy industry event”. To maintain the feel, they will have a potluck, small crowds, and maybe a prize if you win. “You might get a prize if you win, you might not. It is not about the fame- it is about personal limits. You won’t get a timing chip, but you will get a pen to write down your teammate’s time. The regulars usually bring a pony keg of homebrew to share and everyone brings canned food for the Food Bank,” Newbury explains. There will be some sponsors on site, including demo bikes by Surly and Salsa. There will also be a Twenty2 Cycles Bully fatbike available to test ride before the race. They are also working on having a mechanic available. Several ski sponsors will also be on site to join in the fun.

Wondering what the conditions will be? The bike course will be a 4-6 mile loop on groomed nordic ski trails. The course will be separate from the skiers for the first eight hours, then, depending on conditions and numbers of users, the race organizers my consolidate the race onto one trail. The trail map can be found here www.rendezvousskitrails.com/trailmap/. The bike course is the “Volunteer Loop” plus the “Drew Ski CutOff.” Weather averages for the end of March are relatively warm, with highs in the uppers 30’s and lows in the teens, so racers should be able to enjoy springlike temperatures.

The organizers ask that all riders use fatbikes such as the Surly Pugsley, 9:ZERO:7, Fatback, Salsa Mukluk, or the Twenty2 Cycles Bully, and others which have 60-100mm rims and 3.7-4.7 inch tires. Other bikes will be accepted only if they are not impacting the trails more than a floatation bike. This may be the case during the depths of the evening, but is very unlikely during the typically warm spring daytime temperatures. If you don’t have a fatbike, you can rent, borrow, share with teammates, or sleep and ride when it is fast!

The Challenge is expecting a successful inaugural bike race. There are currently 15 registered riders and they are expecting 25-30 by start time. So far they have three 12 hr soloists, one 12 Hour duo team, two 24 hour teams, four 24 hr solos, and three 24 Hour combo teams. Racers are coming from around the west to check out the unique event, including people from Albuquerque, Durango, Denver, the Seattle area, Salt Lake, Jackson, Missoula and Bozeman. Currently there are 55 skiers registered and they expect 80-100 on race day.

If you are in town early, be sure to stay off the ski trails. The Forest Service doesn’t want any bikes on the trails until race day. You are invited to ride all of the snowmobile trails around the area if you’d like to get in some good local riding. Freeheel and Wheel (http://www.freeheelandwheel.com/) is the shop in town. If you want to stop in, check out their goods, or just warm up with a cup of coffee, they are on Yellowstone Street near the park entrance. If you are driving from the south and want to talk bikes with a very committed fatbike shop or need to rent one for the race then you should check out Fitzgeralds in Victor, Idaho (http://www.fitzgeraldsbicycles.com).

For more information, check http://www.equinoxskichallenge.com/. If you have any questions about the race or registration, please contact Sam Newbury at equinoxsnowchallenge@gmail.com.

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Cuyuna Lakes Whiteout – Guest post from Griff Wigley

Cuyuna Lakes Whiteout (photo courtesy of Griff Wigley)

At Ride Fatbikes, we enjoy sharing personal fatbiking experiences and stories, but believe that the readership is even better served by hearing about some of the fatbike experiences of others. Minnesota played host to a tremendous variety and quality of fatbike races this year, with one of them being the Cuyuna Lakes Whiteout last weekend. While the snow conditions proved difficult, from the reports I’ve heard people who went enjoyed themselves, even if they ended up pushing/dragging their bikes more than they expected. The story below was shared with us by Ride Fatbikes reader Griff Wigley, and is shared here as a guest post. Thanks for sharing this with us, Griff, we greatly appreciate receiving such guest posts and stories. If you’d like to check out Griff’s blog, you can find it here: http://mountainbikegeezer.com

____________

BY GRIFF WIGLEY, ON MARCH 4TH, 2012

My first-ever mountain bike race, the Sagamore SnowXross Race at the 2012 Cuyuna Lakes Whiteout, started out well for the 15 of in the Beginners Class.  After about 50 yards across the parking lot, however, soft snow created a big pileup and I soon learned firsthand what the phrase hike-a-bike meant. As Aaron Hautala wrote in this blog post:

Early into the Sagamore SnowXross Race it was obvious it needed a new name.

The IRONYETI.

The snow pack turned into champagne crystal powder overnight with the dramatic drop in temperature from Friday night, which made the race course a bit more challenging than we originally intended.

After about two miles of pushing the Mukluk, I lowered my rear tire pressure from about 4 PSI to near zero—I could feel the rim by pressing the tire hard with my hand. Much better traction.  Another mile and it occurred to me to do the same to the front tire. Better yet.

Last discovery at about mile 4: I quit trying to always ride in the narrow tire ruts made by other riders.  The amount of energy required to keep my balance while riding a rut wasn’t worth it, speed-wise. Instead, I could often go faster (especially when the terrain was flat or downhill) if I rode where riders had been walking.  The low tire pressure usually gave me enough grip to get through the footprints if they weren’t too deep.  Still, I estimate that I pushed my bike for 3 of the 6 miles. Uff-da. I finished in just under two hours.  I’ve not yet seen the results posted but the top three riders (Beginners Class) finished in approximately 1 hr and 35 minutes. I’ll post a link to the results at the bottom of this blog post when they become available.)
After lunch at the Heartland Kitchen Cafe, I took in some of theWhiteout Festival activities in Crosby’s Memorial Park. I didn’t compete in the Serpent Lake Ice Bike 500 races (I didn’t have studded tires) but instead, opted for some solo fat bike riding in theYawkey Unit.
Unlike Friday night, the Haul Road trail to the parking lot in the center of Yawkey was mostly packed down, sometimes to a width of 12 inches or more (left and center photos above). This makes for splendid riding.

I then rode Tugger, normally an intermediate difficulty trail that’s at the base of Bobsled (see the inset on page 2 of this DNR map of the park). It’s a gorgeous trail but like Friday night, riding it was very difficult because there was only a single rut from the few previous riders.  I took it easy and just enjoyed the scenery.
At 5 pm, everyone convened at the Ya Betcha Bar & Grill in Crosby for free appetizers, drawings for prizes, and the awards ceremony hosted by MORC Board member and Events Director Amanda Scholz. The event swag (beanie and stein) was impressive.

See the large slideshow of 50 photos of the entire two-day event.


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Ben & the Bully are at the top of the Mahem

Those of you who follow RideFatbikes.com regularly know that Twenty2 Cycles and Ben Welnak (one of the owners) are held in high regard here, in part due to the fact that Twenty2 Cycles makes some great fatbikes, expanding the ever-increasing offerings in the fatbike world, and in part due to their advocacy and sponsorship of the Triple F.  So when we heard that Ben one the Leadville Mahem (the 2nd of 3 races in the Leadville Winter Mountain Bike Race series, we were excited to get the word out.

Ben’s blog, The Front Range Chronicles, is a good read, and can be found here.  The article below is a guest post from Ben Welnak, and is a copy of the same article from his blog.  If you like the article, be sure to check out the rest of the great stories on his site.

SUNDAY, MARCH 4, 2012

Leadville Winter Mountain Bike Race #3 – Mineral Belt Mayhem

I headed up to Leadville yesterday after Amy and I met with some Walk to Remember folks to get on the CBS local news. Amy did a great job talking on air while we were recording – she’s better on camera than she thinks, especially when discussing child loss. It’s a great organization that helps people who have experienced child loss know that there are others out there ready to talk about it.
a lot of snow on the drive up to Leadville

I rolled into town around noon and took a little time to get all my clothes laid out and bike ready to rock.

i know…triple crank with no front der…oops, didn’t order enough and the one went on a customer’s bike. I’ll get that ordered up, but for tonight I’ll be rolling a 1 x 9
A lot of clothes for an hour long race. Gear includes ice fishing mittens with sweet ass Ergon gloves underneath (yes, ice fishing…I am from Wisconsin after all) All necessary though as the temps dropped like a rock down to like 10 degrees after sunset.

Once I was comfortable with everything and it was ready to go, I headed down the street to the City on a Hill Coffee Shop to eat, hang out, and get some work done while I waited for the race.

On the way over I took my time and checked out the skijoring. It sure is something else!

the Leadville, CO main street (the race finishes on this street!)

Around 5:30, I started packing up my stuff at the coffee shop and headed over to the race sign up at the Cycles of Life Bike Shop . $20 later I got ready to roll. My legs were feeling a little sore, so i took a good amount of time warming up to get ready for the cyclocross-like 12ish mile, 1hour+ effort (the time varies a good bit from year to year depending on the snow conditions).

just happened to get Number 22 to go on the Twenty2 Cycles Bully.. a good sign perhaps

It was good to get back. After a hiatus from last year’s race, it felt good to be back, waiting in the coffee shop, looking out the window at like 1,000 people lining the streets. A lot has changed in those two years, wow. I’m definitely a different person than the last Mineral Belt Mayhem.

So, the race…

We’re all ready to go.
Headed away from the shop down the main drag, Harrison Ave, on to 8th Street

It started off with a neutral rollout from the shop down the snow packed street. Then once we hit 8th street, a cop continued to lead us out until we hit the Mineral Belt Trail just on the edge of town. The total starting pack was probably around 50 (waiting on the results as of writing this to get the actual numbers).

The Mineral Belt Trail is a 12 mile all-season trail designed for bikes and walkers. In the winter it’s a nicely groomed cross country ski trail for both classic and skate skiing. It was packed for the race, but there is only so much packing will do with a lot of new snow.

The cop pulled off as we approached the start of the trail and the race was on. Throughout the rollout, I wanted to stay near the front so I could take a stab at pushing the pace early on and see where I could take it. It was all good as I looked over and saw a couple people and the rest of the pack not too far behind. I didn’t want to be “that guy” by blowing apart the rollout, so I let off to not go crazy.

The race was on and you could hear the changing gears. I pushed the pedals, hit the trail first, and hopped up over the little ridge of snow. Crap…the chain jumped off. I had to stop and get it back on. I was now suddenly in chase mode only 1 minute into the race. Not good.

I hopped back on and put my head down. It didn’t take long to catch up to a lot of the people on regular mountain bikes because the snow was soft and it was hard to navigate. The leaders were not far up ahead, so I knew that if I could keep it steady that I could put it on over the last couple mile uphill section.

The snow didn’t get much harder. There was a small section on the right of the skate ski deck and a sliver of space next to the classic tracks that were enough to carry some float. But once you tried to venture out from those spots and pass, it was like hitting peanut butter. The tires would just punch through and drag.

Five of us continued up the initial climb in the lead. It was strung out maybe 30-45 seconds from the leader back to me at 5th. I stuck on the wheel of a guy on a 29er knowing that he’d probably fall off the pace, taking advantage of the extra packed tire tread. It’s just too hard to maintain a good pace, going up an incline on “skinny” tires, so it was only inevitable. I tried to pass him a couple times, but when I swung out to go by, the soft snow sucked me in. It wasn’t worth trying to put so much into it so early on. I got tired of following him though, so I finally just punched it and grinded through the slow snow.

The leaders weren’t getting out any further, so I just maintained a good pace and focused on catching the next guy. I got him and we see-sawed for a bit before I started pushing the pace and moving the Bully faster. We reached a downhill section and I let it rip with the second place rider in my sights.
After closing the gap on the second place rider on this section, I passed him on a short road crossing and the race was on to catch first.

I kept him in my sights, which was around 30 seconds up-I would continually pick sections that I saw him pass and then countdown, just to know where I stood. Knowing that the last couple mile would be a tough gradual uphill, I anticipated that he’d get tired given the pace he was pushing. After we popped out of a sweet downhill section through the trees, the 1st place rider was closer than I thought. He seemed to struggle through a rough patch of snow leading up to the Highway 24 crossing and I knew it wouldn’t be long. I hit a short road crossing and sprinted for about 20 seconds until I caught and passed him.

The last section was pretty loose and had some deeper snow. There was one spot that I decided to jump off and run. I took a quick look back and saw two lights – the third place guy was catching second. I looked back a couple minutes later and saw him pass. At that point, I stood up and pushed to the end of the trail. Once I heard the cowbells of the volunteers at the right turn onto Harrison, I knew it was done. I just pushed over the hill and got to sprint it home on the snowpacked Harrison Avenue for a 1st place finish.

I love the end of this race – racing down through the center of Leadville at night with a good gang of people hanging at the bike shop.

A good group of people hung around after the race, both at the shop, as well as the mexican restaurant next door. We were waiting to see how others were doing. Some people were have some big issues with the snow and took 2-3 hours to finish. As of right now, the results aren’t posted yet, but I will update this post when they are.

The Leadville Winter Mountain Bike races never disappoint. It’s a great chance to get out and gain a little race training, have a post race Oskar Blues beer, and meet some cool people.

Thanks to the Cloud City Wheelers for the opportunity to race in the dead of winter above 10,000 feet of elevation. Thanks to Cycles of Life for hosting this race. Groomed race course, cheap entry, plenty of schwag, free beer, and cool people – can’t really ask for much more.

The Twenty2 Cycles Steel Bully handled the course well. The “mountain bike-like” geometry really is fun. It allowed me to really rip the downhills with quick handling and was very balanced when I was slowly going up the hills. I really dig the sturdiness when I stand and put the power to the pedals. I know that I should feel this way, since I am an owner in the company, but I can’t argue with the result.

I won’t be hitting up the last race of the series on April 7th because I have some bigger and longer fish to fry – April 7th is AntiEpic day. So, it’s a bittersweet end to my Leadville races for the year. It’ll be a year until the next, but it also means that spring is right around the corner.

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Cuyuna Lakes Whiteout – this weekend!

Cuyuna Lakes Whiteout - this weekend!

As I look out the window and see snow falling (in a MN winter that has been largely snowless), I can’t help but think about what amazing fortune we had to have snow-covered trail for last weekend’s Fatbike Frozen Forty. By the same token, the Cuyuna Lakes Whiteout this weekend in the Brainerd Lakes area is equally blessed with the amazing recent snowfall.

I’ve been following the Cuyuna Lakes Whiteout information and updates, but am unfortunately unable to attend.  There are quite simply too many great fatbike events in MN (and elsewhere) to get to participate in all of them.  The folks putting on the Cuyuna Lakes Whiteout obviously have done their homework, and have created what appears to be an exceedingly well organized and exciting fatbike event, winter race, and festival.  I wish them great luck and success with their event this weekend.

They are continually updating their site with new information about the event, so be sure to check in from time to time if you’re interested about what they’ve got going on this weekend.  For those of us who are observing but not participating, we’d love to get a race report and recap from someone who was in Brained this weekend for the Cuyuna Lakes Whiteout festivities.  If you’d like to see your photos of the event and race report on RideFatbikes.com (with a visibility of over 5000 visitors a month), Contact Us to submit your post and photos for consideration.  Who knows, maybe your photos can even be showcased in the Fatbike Gallery!

 

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Submit your race reports for guest posts on RideFatbikes.com

Photo credit: RideFatbikes.com

It’s awesome to see the amazing races and fatbike-focused winter events occurring throughout Minnesota and around the country.  We’ve spent so much time and energy focused on building and reporting the success of last weekend’s Fatbike Frozen Forty (a first year event organized by Ride Enterprises / Brad Boyd and sponsored supported by headline sponsor Twenty2 Cycles), that it’s been hard to find time to report on the many other fabulous races.

For those of you who regularly follow RideFatbikes.com, and who attend some of these races in Minnesota or in your own state, we’d appreciate having your race reports submitted to us for guest posts!  Would you like to see your name connected with a great race report that’s visible to over 5000 visitors a month?   After you attend or participate in a great fatbike race, write up a race report (with photos from the event of course) and submit it to us for review and possible posting at RideFatbikes.com.

We’d love to circulate more fatbike news, fatbike race reports and reader write-ups, Contact Us with your ideas.

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Fatbike Frozen Forty – all results for all finishers

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In the 3 short days since the Fatbike Frozen Forty (Triple F), we’ve been extremely busy reviewing and responding to all the positive comments on Facebook, Twitter, the MORC forum, and email.  It sounds like the consensus is that this event should definitely occur next year.  Be sure to tell your friends to check out the photos and race recap while it’s still fresh, so they remember your enthusiasm from this year when registration starts next year.

In the meantime, we’ve had several racers request that we post the full race results.  Remember, this is a grass-roots effort that had tremendous turnout, and we don’t have dedicated staff or updating gremlins that get all the pictures sorted, recaps written, etc.  All the post-race wrap-up requires time.

With that in mind, here are the results for all racers who finished the 40-mile open class at Fatbike Frozen Forty 2012.  We had over 45 racers, including teams.  There were a total of 17 racers who finished all 40 miles in the 40-mile open solo class.  2 teams finished all 40 miles in the 40-mile team class.  The singletrack mountain bike trails at Elm Creek Park Reserve could not have been more perfect – snow-covered and nicely packed; it made for a fast and perfect fatbike race course.

In order, here are the 40-mile open solo class results from the February 25, 2012 Fatbike Frozen Forty at Elm Creek Park in Maple Grove, MN:

  1. Jeff Colbert =   3hr, 52min, 5 sec  (Winner of the Frozen 40 open class!)
  2. Dave Hoglund = 3hr, 54min, 23sec
  3. CJ Smith = 3hr, 56min, 54sec
  4. Jeff Young = 4hr, 38 sec
  5. Mat Moore = 4hr, 7min, 15sec
  6. Jacque Poquette = 4hr, 7min, 51sec
  7. John Reinan = 4hr, 11min, 57 sec
  8. John Hartland = 4hr, 21 min, 57 sec
  9. Gary Ingle = 4hr, 25min, 19 sec
  10. John Smith = 4hr, 29min, 9sec
  11. Mick Lovin = 4hr, 31min, 36sec
  12. Don Weber = 4hr, 31min, 56sec
  13. Greg Gleason = 4hr, 44min, 13sec
  14. Joe Stiller = 4hr, 49min, 15sec
  15. Steve Schneider = 5hr, 17min, 14sec
  16. Craig Brown = 5hr, 32min, 15sec
  17. Ted Clausen = 5hr, 32min, 16sec
The twist in our race format for the 2012 Fatbike Frozen Forty was our “King of the Triple F” event.  The racer who logged the most laps in 6 hours was awarded “King of the Triple F”.  The prize for the King of the Triple F was a pair of Husker Du tires, donated by Triple F sponsor 45Nrth.  The 2012 King of the Triple F is CJ Smith (3rd place finisher in the 40-mile open class).

Here are the 2012 Fatbike Frozen Forty Team results:

  1. Straight River Studs; 3-person team (Tony Schwichtenberg, David Chabot, Cutis Tesch) = 5hr, 9min, 5sec
  2. Easy Riders; 2-person team (Curtis Gacek, Stephen Eisenmenger) = 5hr, 10min, 10sec

Photo credit: Bill Vitali

There are some great photos and write-ups by some of the photographers and bloggers who attended the Triple F.  In one of our next posts, we will provide some of these links.  If you’d like everyone to see your Fatbike Frozen Forty photos or race recap, please leave a comment here or Contact Us so we can include yours.

Again, a huge thank you goes out to all participants, sponsors and volunteers.  Twenty2 Cycles, from Vail, Colorado was the primary/headline sponsor of the 2012 Fatbike Frozen Forty and was invaluable in supporting this event from the beginning.  Ben and Todd travelled from Colorado to display and demo their custom-designed and handmade-in-the-USA fatbikes, and helped with race planning, supporting racers on the day of the event, and being an advocate of this grass-roots race when it was only a concept.  Twenty2 Cycles, thank you!

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