Randy Gibb, is the director of multiple biking events, including Frosty’s Fat Bike Race Series. He wrote the following article to get you pumped up for fat-bike racing!
If you’re like me, you first took up winter fat biking because the thought of taking the winter months off mountain biking was simply depressing. Just like the arrival of snow doesn’t mean giving up riding, it doesn’t mean giving up racing, either. If you own a fat-bike, you should register for one or more races this winter. Here’s why.
- Keep your edge during the winter
Few exercises will hone your bike handling skills like winter fat-biking. As opposed to riding your typical trail in the dirt, it is more challenging in the slippery snow to keep the bike under you. And, because pushing yourself physically and mentally is the foundation of becoming a better rider, winter fat-biking provides a perfect opportunity to improve. Whether you’re doing an endurance race or a downhill event, you’ll challenge yourself from the get-go, fighting for position while attempting not to wreck. And, if you do wreck, it hurts a lot less in the snow.
- You don’t need to be an expert
For novice winter fat-bikers, registering for a race is a great introduction to the sport and a way to test your gear in a controlled environment. Sometimes blazing back country trails if you don’t know what you’re doing can be dangerous, not to mention frustrating. By signing up for a race, you know there’s a course to follow that’s as groomed as possible, as well as people to guide you. And many races (including ours) have beginner categories so you won’t get run over when the gun goes off.
- Give downhill racing a try
We all know the downhill part of the ride is the most fun, and ski resorts are catching on. This past year, Spirit Mountain ski resort in Minnesota even opened its lifts to mountain bikers in the after-ski hours.
While downhill races at ski resorts aren’t abundant, they are out there. For example, this year, the Frosty’s Fat Bike Series is holding up to five downhill races at ski resorts in Utah, Idaho and Canada. If you’re looking for a rush, this is your chance. It’s not uncommon for speeds to reach 40+ MPH down these slick ski runs — check out this helmet cam video for proof.
- Make new friends
In addition to the personal aspect of riding and racing, there is a social one. Registering for races automatically puts you in the company of other bike and outdoor enthusiasts. After the event, you can grab a drink together or stick around to check out each other’s bikes and gear. Chances are, you’ll learn something that will improve your skills or shake up your riding experience.
- Races and locations abound
As the fat-biking sport grows, so do the number of winter races in various locations. Whereas winter fat-bike races used to be confined largely to the Great Lakes region, today you can find one pretty much anywhere there is snow. And if there isn’t one close to you, what a perfect excuse to take a trip to Minnesota, or Alberta, or Utah and enjoy the breathtaking scenery and unique terrain they have to offer.
Well, what are you waiting for? The season will be over before you know if so, register for a race now. You’ll be glad you did!
Want to know a bit more about Randy? Here you go!
Randy Gibb, a native of Utah’s Wasatch Front, started riding mountain bikes in the snow long before the advent of fat bikes. Once fat-bikes became a thing and he realized how awesome they were (and got one of his own), he started organizing the first winter fat-bike events in Utah. He also worked closely with the Forest Service to open up winter riding trails to fat bikers. Randy feels fortunate to do what he loves full time as the owner of a bicycling store in Orem, Utah, and the director of multiple biking events, including Frosty’s Fat Bike Race Series.
The Hugh Jass fat bike series has been a blast. As someone who’s never raced before, Hugh Jass has been awesome rides on great courses.
Solid reasons to get out and race. Up Anchorage, AK way we have our local Abominable Winter Bike Series sponsored by Chain Reaction Cycles, The PARTY that is the Talkeetna Trio sponsored by Fatback, and the ultra’s if your truly a sucker for punishment and managed to get a spot. The Grand Daddy of them all the Iditarod Trail Invitational kicks off February 26th. Even if you don’t race get out and watch / support your local events. I haven’t entered a bike a race since 1992, checking out the local events has me riding more and planning to race a few events this season.