Category Archives: Snow bike

Winter racing in Leadville Colorado

At RideFatbikes.com, we consider our mission to serve as a resource to the fatbike community.  We’ve had great support from readers who’ve taken time to email or comment, applauding our efforts to highlight news and information that they may not otherwise stumble upon.

We’re fortunate that our readers and collaborators also volunteer photos, information and ideas that allow us to bring even more depth to this site.  Our friend Ben Welnak at Twenty2 Cycles (primary sponsor of the Fatbike Frozen Forty) sent this write-up over.  Ben rides and races a lot, so when he makes a ride sound this great, it’s likely pretty great.  You can check out his site too, at BenWelnak.com.

Here’s what Ben has to say about the Leadville Mountain Bike winter race series…

Leadville Mountain Bike Series Race #2 – Tennessee Pass Night Jam

by:  Ben Welnak – Twenty2 Cycles ( https://www.twenty2cycles.com/ )

There are many new winter races in 2012.  Meanwhile, the Leadville Series Winter Mountain Bike Series has been around for several years.  There is a good local and loyal following for this four-race series.  With snow and mountains, who wouldn’t want to race?

This is the description of the race series from the Cloud City Wheelers website ( http://www.cloudcitywheelers.com/events-rides/ )

“These unique and exciting races occur throughout the winter in and around Leadville. Utilizing groomed nordic ski trails and snowmobile trails, these races are a great way to keep riding and racing during the off-season. Three of the races are even held at night! A typical course is 12 miles with a mix of spine-tingling conditions. Cost is $20 per race.

All proceeds from the race series go towards Cloud City Wheelers advocacy efforts. These races always end with plenty of tasty food and beverages, laughter and dang good times. Come on up and enjoy the ride!”

All of the races are open to both fatbikes and regular mountain bikes.  In the past there were a limited number of fatbikes racing, but, as you can imagine, this year there are plenty of fatbikes showing up, which almost makes it necessary to split the regular bikes and fatbikes into their own categories.

The first race of the series, the “Copper en Fuego”, was on January 14th at Copper Mountain.  It was a new race for 2012 and was very popular.  160 racers showed up and learned what the Leadville Series ise all about.  From the sound of all the comments, it was all smiles and all fun.

This past Saturday night, 64 racers braved the near zero degree temperatures and 10,000+ft elevation to toe the line at 7pm under the full moon to crank out 12 miles on the groomed ski trails of the Tennessee Pass Nordic Center http://tennesseepass.com/nordic-center/  . While all the races are unique because of the elevation, temperature, and, well, racing in the dead of winter, this race is especially unique because it’s a great example of the collaboration of a cross country ski specific center with fatbikes and regular mountain bikes.  The nordic center is gracious enough to host the entire event (with a toastly fireplace and cabin surroundings), from sign-in to post race warmup, beer, and pasta dinner….all for $20.

The course was freshly groomed and mostly hardpack.  The first 3-4 miles were a little soft for regular mountain bikes though and I was breaking through too much to keep up with the wider guys.  The rest of the course was nice packed and provided enough traction to put down some good riding.  Over the 12 mile, the course had a total elevation gain of about 1,500 feet, which feels like almost double that at some points because of the snow.  The key of the race was to stay on the skate deck and steer clear of the classical tracks.  The tracks can be dangerous by grabbing your tires and throwing racers off into the soft, unpacked 2+ feet of snow in the woods.

The top three men were Taylor Sheldon, Jordan Carr, and Erik Lobeck.  The top 3 singlespeeders were Jerry Oliver (friend of Twenty2 Cycles, Eric Cutlip, and Barry Croker).  The top 3 women were Stephanie Jones, Amanda Good, and Erin Allaman.  For the full results of the races, you can check the results page  http://www.cloudcitywheelers.com/2012-leadville-winter-mountain-bike-race-results/  .

An event like this proves that cross country ski areas can work with local groups to produce great events for alternate trail users.  It should be interesting to see how the future unfolds for the relationship between fatbikers and cross country skiers.

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Filed under Biking, Cycling, Fatbike Event, Fatbike Trails, Fatbikes, RIde Fatbikes, Snow bike, Snowbikes

Grand Targheee Resort Fatbike Video & Recap

The press release and information below were sent to us by RideFatbikes.com reader, Andy Williams.  Grand Tarhee held a fatbike event recently on the ski trails.  Hopefully this is the first of many stories of cooperation between fatbikes and ski resorts, parks and other recreation areas.  While XC skiiers deserve trails to themselves, it’s also fair to expect that as the fatbike community grows, we should be able to respectfully develop cooperative relationships for shared or alternate use of trails (using selected trails with permission only, on days/times designated by trial managers).  RideFatbikes.com would like to thank Grand Targhee for exploring this world of options, and Andy Williams for sharing this information with us!  While the press release below uses the term snowbikes throughout, we at RideFatbikes.com obviously prefer the term fatbikes!  🙂

Grand Targhee Resort Snow Video

One recent Saturday the Grand Targhee’s lower parking lot was packed with skiers, boarders and bikers.  Twenty or so guests were getting ready to enjoy Grand Targhee’s Nordic Trail System, not on skis, but on snow bikes.   Grand Targhee is the first ski resort in the United States to embrace and endorse snow biking on its undulating and twisty 15 kilometer Nordic trail system.

Andy Williams, Grand Targhee’s Special Events/ Summer Trails and long time snow biker, was pivotal in paving the way for Grand Targhee to encourage snow biking on the Nordic trails.

“After enjoying the mountain bike trails in Rick’s Basin during the summer, I couldn’t help but think that the winter riding would be amazing,” Williams stated.

“Snow biking provides another recreational opportunity for guests to enjoy nature in the Tetons,” Williams says.

The local, and growing, snow bike community agrees.

Dave Byers, a local snow bike race organizer and cyclist, recently blogged “I applaud Grand Targhee Resort for their forward thinking and willingness to try something new. As long as snow bikers follow the rules and respect the trails when conditions are soft, I feel as if snow bikers and the Nordic skiers can coexist peacefully on the trails.”

The snow bike was created to go where standard mountain bikes flounder because the riding surface is too soft.   Similar in look to a hard-tail mountain bike but with fat balloon tires, a snow bike has much wider clearances in the front fork and rear triangle to accommodate tires up to 4” wide.  These large-volume, low-pressure tires provide floatation on soft surfaces such as snow and sand that would make the terrain otherwise unrideable.    Snow biking is increasing in popularity in winter climes as cyclists look to extend their outdoor riding season year round.

Snow bikes are permitted on Grand Targhee’s Nordic Trails as long as riders purchase a Nordic ticket for $10 per day or a Nordic season pass for $115.  Grand Targhee Resort will also host its first snow bike race on January 15, 2012 in conjunction with Teton Valley, Idaho’s Winter Festival.   Grand Targhee’s snow bike race offers three distances, 15K, 30K or 45K in men’s and women’s categories.   Event registration is available online until January 14, 2011 at www.athlete360.com or the day of the race from 8:00 am to 9:15 am.  Online registration is $30 for the 45K race and $20 for the 30K and 15K races.  Day of registration is $40 for the 45K race, $25 for the 30K and $25 for the 15k race.

Snow bike rentals are available at Grand Targhee at Teton Mountain Outfitters or in downtown Driggs, Idaho at Habitat.  Habitat also sells the Surly Pugsley and Moonlander snow bikes.

Snow Bike etiquette for Nordic Trails.

  • Ride groomed ski trails only if they are open to snow bikes.
  • Ride only snow bikes with high floatation, fat tires.  Adjust your tire pressure to avoid leaving ruts.
  • Ride when the snow is firm enough to support you and your bike.   If you leave a rut more than a 1” deep or have trouble ascending or descending, then conditions are too soft and you should not ride your bike.  If you must walk a hill or other section, walk to the side of the trail so that footprints are not in the main skate lane.
  • Yield to skiers.  Give skate skiers plenty of room.
  • Do not ride in the classic ski tracks.
  • Let recently groomed tracks set up several hours before riding.  For example, wait until after 10 am on a morning which the track is groomed at 7 am.
  • Purchase trail passes or make donations to those organizations which groom the trails.

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