Category Archives: Snow bike

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 – 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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Triple F Results – and the winner is…

Photo of Frozen 40 open champion Jeff Colbert by RideFatbikes.com

In our last post, we hit a few of the highlights of the exciting and successful 1st year of the Fatbike Frozen Forty (Triple F).  The post ended with unanswered questions (leaving you, our dear reader, in suspense for today’s post).  The questions were:

  • who won the Frozen 40 open class?; and
  • who won the King of the Tiple F?
We’ll answer those two questions below.
The Fatbike Frozen Forty Open class was filled with strong and fast riders, fighting until the very end to complete 4 laps of ten miles in the fastest time.  While lead changes occurred throughout the laps, in the final lap it became a horse race between Dave Hoglund and Jeff Colbert.  In the end, Jeff Colbert came out on top, completing the 40-mile Triple F course with a 1st place victory in 3 hours, 52 minutes, 5 seconds.
The second place finisher was Dave Hoglund, rushing through the final stretch of 40 miles just over 2 minutes later.  His final time came in at 3 hours, 54 minutes 23 seconds.

Photo of Frozen 40 2nd place finish Dave Hoglund by RideFatbikes.com

Just over two minutes later, CJ Smith finished the Frozen 40 in 3rd place (at 3 hours, 56 minutes, 54 seconds) .  Fourth place was cinched by Jeff Young, who finished in 4 hours and 38 seconds.

Photo of Frozen40 open class 3rd place finisher CJ Smith by RideFatbikes.com

In all, a total of 19 riders completed a full forty miles of the Fatbike Frozen Forty in the individual open class.  That is an accomplishment in and of itself, regardless of finish time.  Some riders finished less than forty miles due to mechanical failure, personal choice, or desire to get right to the beer and grill-out part of the event!   Two riders were left potentially stranded by equipment malfiunctions.  One rider had an internally-geared hub fail, leaving him with a singlespeed (by accident, rather than desire).  He was fortunate to get back into the race with a Moonlander demo, courtesy of our sponsor Trailhead Cycling and Fitness.  Another rider found himself with a brake problem, only to find Maple Grove Cycling’s mechanic team tuning him up and getting him back into the event in a hurry.  Our sponsors helped keep riders on course.
It’s worth noting that we had something of a fatbike endurance athlete celebrity in our midst at the Triple F.  Erv Berglund, has a contagious smile and enthusiasm, determination and a fun-seeking attitude that few can match.   He completed the rigorous/daunting Arrowhead 135 ultra endurance fatbike race this year (2012), becoming the eldest member of the fatbike community to complete such an endurance challenge.   When he finished his third and final lap at the Frozen 40, he took time to look around and smell the roses.  He chatted with other racers and spectators, and wasn’t bashful about the fact that the secret to his good health is that he keeps pedaling.  We should all be so lucky.

How about the King of the Triple F?

King of the Triple F CJ with Triple F organizer Brad

For those who don’t already know, King of the Triple F was awarded to the racer who logged the most laps on the frozen singletrack trail at Elm Creek Park, in the 6-hour race time. The winner received a pair of Husker Du tires donated by Triple F spnosor, 45Nrth.  Since we’re writing this race report on the night of the Academy Awards, the appropriate way to introduce the King of the Triple F is in the form of the Oscars.  And the winner is…

CJ Smith!  CJ finished 3rd in the Frozen 40 Open Division, with a time of 3 hours, 56 minutes.  He then went on to complete a fifth lap, pushing past exhaustion, to complete a full 50 miles on frozen singletrack trail.  By doing so, CJ logged more miles than any racer on the course, and earned himself the title “King of the Triple F“!  Congratulations to CJ for showing that sometimes it pays to push past the hurt.

We also had three teams enter the Fatbike Frozen Forty.  For those who are not interested in riding 40 miles on a fatbike on frozen singletrack (or if you don’t have your own fatbike), remember in future years that you can form a If others are looking for their own personal results, they can email us directly.

Giving credit where credit is due.

We’ve said it several times and we’ll say it many more.  While the Fatbike Frozen Forty was conceived and designed by

Headline sponsor of the Triple F - Twenty2 Cycles

Brad Boyd and implemented by his company, Ride Enterprises, LLC, it would not have come together so successfully without the early and tremendous support of Twenty2 Cycles (a company that designs and handcrafts USA-built fatbikes in titanium and steel from their headquarters in Vail, CO).  Twenty2 Cycles and Ben Welnak were the first sponsor to collaborate with Brad in getting the Fatbike Frozen 40 off the ground, and played an instrumental role in the event, with Todd and Ben travelling from CO for the pre-race meeting and event itself.  Thanks guys, you’re the best!

Fatbike Frozen 40 sponsor Trailhead Cycling (photo credit: RideFatbikes.com)

It’s all important to credit our other sponsors (all of whom can be found on the event website, Frozen40.com).  Trailhead Cycling and Fitness went through tremendous effort to have staff and support ready and able to help with prerace set-up, grill-out for racers, supporters, and volunteers, creating an enclosed and heated registration and warm-up tent, donating a generous array of prizes and give-aways, and more.  We appreciate everything they did to help this go smoothly.

Similarly, Maple Grove Cyclingsupported our event through pre-event planning discussions, mechanical support on the day of the event, a grill-out, pre-race marketing and promotion, prizes and music that kept the event atmosphere upbeat during the race.

Fatbike Frozen 40 sponsor Maple Grove Cycling (Photo credit: RideFatbikes.com)

We also had many other sponsors in a somewhat less visible role, that deserve to be recognized.  Without Surly Brewing and Peace Coffee, our pre-race and post-race beverage consumption would surely have been less exciting.  Without 45Nrth, we would not have had the amazing Husker Du tire give-away for “King of the Triple F” and we would be missing some of the amazing professional photos taken by David.

Without BarMitts XXCMag.com, and Cognition Caps our swag and prizes would have been far less exciting and complete.  Without PreRace.com our preregistration system would have been far less efficient.  And without Adam Turman, our event flyer/poster would have been much less dramatic and amazing.  Thank you to all of our generous sponsors.

Photo credit: 45Nrth (45Nrth was a 2012 Triple F sponsor)

Finally, without the racers, an event is purely an interesting concept, lots of hard work, promotion, investment and a venue ready for an event.  Until racers register, show up, and race, an event is simply a possibility.   Every event organizer likes to see an event come together successfully, and for that we need participation, enthusiasm, and help spreading the word if people enjoyed the event we put on.  Thanks for showing up, thanks for your support, and please spread the word!

We plan to soon have a large series of awesome photos on this site, showcasing some of the memorable highlights of the Triple F.  If you have photos you’d like to display, contact us and maybe we can include them here or on FatbikeGallery.com.  A special thank you to David from 45Nrth for spectacular event photos he took while attending the Triple F as a sponsor.  We hope to share his photos with you here.

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Frozen 40 (Triple F) Race Recap, Part I

Frozen 40 prerace (Photo credit: RideFatbikes.com)

The Fatbike Only Endurance Race

The first ever Triple F (Fatbike Frozen Forty) was ON today at Elm Creek Park Reserve Singletrack trail.  This event was SMOKIN’!  Our turnout was beyond expectations (over 50 registered and 45 raced).   Bear in mind, this is a fatbike-only, event, rather than a winter racing event.  Seeing 45 fatbike racers on race day is incredible.

Sponsors

Our generous sponsor involvement and support made the event a thrilling success, and from every rider report I heard all day, the trail, the course, the food, the fun, the people were awesome.  Trail conditions for this 10-mile, 4-lap trail could not have been more perfect.  Nicely packed snow, free of significant ice or major open dirt/mud events.

Twenty2 Cycles

Twenty2 Cycles at Frozen 40 (Photo credit: RideFatbikes.com)

Thanks to our first, primary, and strongest advocate from the inception of this concept, Twenty2 Cycles. Ben and Todd came out from Colorado, packing their truck full of some of the finest looking and most meticulously built fatbikes anyone has ever seen.  Twenty2 Cycles is on my list of all time favorite companies, lead by all-time coolest people.  Ben and Todd (and Twenty2 Cycles), thanks for supporting this event!  Their presence at this event was enough, but these guys brought hand-crafted breakfast burritos to kick-start our 7am set-up.  Twenty2 is class. If you haven’t run into them yet, you should, and you will.

Supporting Sponsors

Our other sponsors are incredible as well.  Maple Grove Cycling and Trailhead Cycling and Fitness each brought significant components to this event.  Maple Grove Cycling contributed music, mechanical support, bike stand, gift certificates, and food.  Trailhead Cycling and Fitness brought a heated tent set-up, grill-out, lots of volunteers & support, LOTS of prizes & give-aways, and plenty of food and encouragement.  This was a full-featured, fully supported bike race, for fatbikes.  Racers had plenty of food, beverage, encouragement, mechanical support, warm-up tent, GREAT trail, handmade in the USA custom fatbikes to test ride, and most importantly, a gathering devoted to fatbikes with an opportunity to race 40 miles, or ride any number of laps a rider was inclined to ride.  Whether it was food, support, or good times, our local bike shop sponsors had racers and spectators covered!

Then add on beer from our beer sponsor (the official beer of the 2012 Triple F)Surly Brewing CoPeace Coffee supplied the coffee that was donated as prizes and used as our morning brew (coffee, that is).  Thanks to Surly and Peace for our beverage support!!  It was hard to find a rider who had completed the event without a Surly in hand or close by.  At 7am pre-race set-up, many of us were fueled by enthusiasm & Peace Coffee.

Prizes

Fatbike Frozen 40 Prizes (Photo credit: RideFatbikes.com)

Our prize table was something to behold.  The best prize was contributed by 45Nrth, a pair of the difficult-to-obtain yet remarkably desirable Husker Du tires.  I got the chance to meet David from 45Nrth.   He is an accomplished photographer and a knowledgeable rider.  Their tires rock in part because they ride what they sell, and are at events talking to racers.  Thanks 44Nrth for supporting those who ride fatbikes!  Check back here or on FatbikeGallery.com – we hope to post some of the great photos taken at this event.

Prizes & swag were rounded out by great stuff from Bar Mitts, XXCMag, and Cognition Caps.  Trailhead had a large amount of swag & prizes, and Maple Grove Cycling added gift cards into the prizes as well.

Thanks also to my friend Matt, who came from Boulder, CO just for the race, and his father, Ray, who made the journey from Brainerd to join Matt in a father-son team.  Thanks to riders who came from Sioux Falls (SD), from IA, and elsewhere to support (and have a blast at) a grass-roots first time event.   If we had 50 registered this year, might this occur again next year?  Hmmm.  stay tuned.

Frozen40 racers, thanks for turning out today and supporting this event.  Without people to take part in such an event, it wouldn’t be an event.  Hopefully you had a great time and will be back again.  Let’s keep the fun going – leave a comment below or share your photos from today to post to FatbikeGallery.com.  We’ll try to add photos as we can.

The Winner

SO, HOW DID THE RACERS DO?  WHO IS THE KING OF THE TRIPLE F?  WHO WON THE FROZEN 40 OPEN CLASS? Let’s just say the bike drop with running start was a blast

King of the Triple F (Photo credit: RideFatbikes.com)

for spectators, and some racers crushed 40 miles of snow-covered singletrack in admirable time.  Check back here tomorrow for results…

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You don’t want to miss this (Triple F update)

Fatbike Frozen Forty (Triple F) - Details at Frozen40.com

You ride a fatbike?  You live in or near Minnesota?  You don’t want to miss the Fatbike Frozen Forty.  The Frozen 40 is only two weeks away.  See all the details at Frozen40.com.  Whether the weather is warm or cold, snow or no, the show will go on.  We’ll either have a 40-mile endurance ride on singletrack (4 laps of 10 miles each means people can ride in teams or choose as many or few laps as they are comfortable with), or we’ll ride on the paved trail if the singletrack is closed due to thawing conditions.  If we ride on the paved trail, we’ll open a race class and a recreational class.  Either way, fun will be had.

What do you get out of this event?  An amazingly strong prize to rider ratio.  We’ll have prizes like Husker Du tires from sponsor 45Nrth, pogies from Bar Mitts, laser-etched “Frozen 40” glasses, Frozen 40 winter beanies, t-shirts & gear from various sponsors, Braaap Energy Bars, handmade caps from Cognition Caps, Surly beer and more!  Believe it or not, right now it appears we have more prizes and swag to give away than we have registered riders to give them to.

Be sure to register today at Prerace.com, as you are almost sure to walk away with a cool prize, and you’ll get free beer, coffee, snacks, socializing, and fun riding either way.  Your low registration fee ($20 until day before the event) is a great value, considering everything below.  Here’s some cool things you can expect, and some notes about our amazing Fatbike Frozen Forty sponsors:

  1. Cool fatbikes to see and demo.  Our “numero uno” and headlining sponsor is Twenty2 Cycles.  Their motto, “Born, tested and perfected in the Colorado Rockies” describes their beautiful bikes, their philosophy, and their riding.  Ben will be coming out to ride, talk fatbikes, meet riders, and talk about Twenty2 Cycles and fatbikes in general.  He’ll be bringing 3 “Bully” fatbikes, the flagship fatbike of Twenty2 Cycles.
  2. Heated tent and grill-out.  Whether you are coming to ride, supporting a friend/family member, just coming to take a look at what fatbikes or a fatbike ride is all about, or you want demo a bike and chat, you’ll be able to warm up in the heated registration and warm-up tent, generously provided by Platinum sponsor Trailhead Cycling and Fitness in Champlin, MN.
  3. Mechanical support.  Both of our amazing bike shop sponsors, Trailhead Cycling and Fitness and Maple Grove Cycling will have mechanical support as necessary on site.  If something mechanical happens during the race, you will have some help available to get back into the running.
  4. Food & beverages.  If you’re riding the 40-mile event, you’ll need to bring whatever water and snacks you need to get you through.  You’ll need to be mostly self-reliant, as everyone has their own preference for what it takes to get through an endurance ride/race.  However, we’ll have some food and beverages, including coffee, hot chocolate and grill-out from Platinum sponsor Trailhead Cycling & Fitness.
  5. Beer.  Yes, we know beer is technically a beverage.  Surly beer, however, from local Surly Brewing Co. is more than a beer.  It’s an experience.  A revolution in memorable hops-based beverage delight.  It’s lots of things, but in short, it’s damn good beer.  So, the fact that Surly Brewing is a sponsor of the Fatbike Frozen Forty and we’ll have some of their beer there for post-ride enjoyment is amazing.  Come out to the event, ride your tail off, and a Surly beer will await you and the finish line.
  6. Prizes and give-aways.  As mentioned above, we’ve got some great prizes to give away.  To highlight a few, we’ll have some swag from our primary sponsor Twenty2 Cycles.  We’ll have pogies from Bar Mitts, swag from XXCMag.com, energy bars from Braaap Energy Bars, Frozen40.com winter hats, coffee to give away from Peace Coffee, and much more!

Low cost registration at PreRace.com.  The registration fee is only $20, until the day before the event.  It will be $30 on the 24th & at the event (on the 25th).  If you don’t sign up before the day of the event, bring cash or check only, and be prepared to sign the waiver that everyone else had to sign in advance.  Want an extra special deal?  If you and a friend register together and contact us to let us know in advance, you can each get 1/2 price registration (register for $10 each), until February 24th.  

Right now, this is a fatbike-only event.  However, we encourage other riders to come out to be part of the fun, demo a fatbike, talk fatbikes, or just encourage the riders who are going to try to log 40-miles on a fatbike in a short one-day event.  We’ve got riders coming from Colorado, Sioux Falls, Brainerd, St. Cloud and elsewhere, so it’s an event worth travelling for!  Come out and check it out!

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Cold Bear Challenge – Fatbike Fest (MN) tomorrow!

Photo credit: RideFatbikes.com

Reminder to all Minnesota fatbike and winter bike riders/racers.  The Cold Bear Challenge at Hillside is a MN institution among winter bike races, and its final race of the year is tomorrow!  They have a fatbike class, an advanced class, recreational, and women’s.  This event has been around for years (this year is the 6th), and is heralded for its great racing, awesome bonfire, prizes and swag.

The Cold Bear Challenge is a 3-race series, culminating in the final race, Fatbike Fest, held tomorrow (2-12-12).  Get all the details and follow the discussion at the event page they’ve posted at MORC, here: http://www.morcmtb.org/forums/showthread.php?40864-6th-Annual-Cold-Bear-Challenge-Winter-Racing-Series-at-Hillside!!!

Or, for a quick summary check out the Twenty2 Cycles event page describing the event, here: https://www.twenty2cycles.com/events/view/fatbikefest-2012-minnesota

They are giving away a free 9Zero7 fatbike frame, as well as a White Brothers carbon fork – well worth going tomorrow!

Looks like our infamous snow-free winter here in MN is not as conducive as those of us organizing winter races and events would like, but this event should still be a good time.  On with the show, even with no snow!  Sounds like some people will ride fatbikes; others will rock the studs.  Registration at 10:30am, race at 12 noon.  Get out there tomorrow and ride!

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