Fat bikes sure do shred rocks…

This video almost makes me a little sad. A large storm is starting to approach the Colorado area, making all but a few trails around Crested Butte a sloppy mess, and not ridable. It’s ok however, fat bikes are meant for snow, and sand, and whats in this video. I can’t wait till next year to test out Farris Creek on the fatty. I guess its time for winter.

Fatty’s First Ride

I took my fatty out for its first ride yesterday, and boy was it a awesome! I’ll do a full review of the 2013 Surly Moonlander soon. A few things that stood out that I would like to share. Don’t kid yourself this thing slays the downhills. Its heavy, so once it gets going good luck slowing it down. I took it down the CBMR Evolution Bike Park and it had no problem getting air and turning in burmed corners. It also climbed better then I thought a 37lb bike would climb, sure its still sluggish but it likes it that way. I had to get used to the heavy wheels, especially from my Stan Crest’s, but once I did, I was rolling into corners almost more freely then my Stumpjumper HT. There is some super rocky terrain on the Upper Loop, the large wheels stayed on top of the rocks almost making it easier to take on then my cross country bike. All in all it was a great ride, and I didn’t baby it at all. Check out some photos from its inaugural ride.

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Just riding the the backyard, no big deal!

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Mr. Moonlander, all shiny and clean.

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Fat!

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I took my time on the ride up Tonys trail in Crested Butte, I really had no choice. Its not like my 21 pound Hardtail.

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I slogged my way up a road at Crested Butte Mountain Resort. But I took a downhill trail down. I was shocked what this bike could handle.

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My Fatty! I need to get a few more rides on it, but a full review in the eyes of an adventure junky to come.

Gearing up for fat bike season

Alright you nordorkers, here’s to taking over your trails and forever leaving a lasting tire mark on that sweet corduroy. Ok – so it probably won’t be that easy, we know you will submit endless “letters to the editor” and argue until you win.  The Nordic Center folks work hard every year to please nordic and skate skiers, but with all new things comes controversy in Crested Butte. I could go on and on, but I’ll save this talk for winter. Currently we are able to ride every single dirt trail in and around Crested Butte while the aspen leaves turn gold, this rocks! We are very very blessed to be living in such a beautiful area of the country, a place where I may never leave. Here is a little stoke for winter. Your thinking… another ski video, well your wrong. The fat bike world is only growing and it looks like Grand Targhee is at the forefront of the culture. Check it!

2013 Vapor Trail 125

vaporWell, its been a few days since The Vapor Trail 125, and since then its still drilled into my head. I’m upset with myself for handing over 1st place as easy as I did. But my excuse, I was exhausted, empty, drained. There is always next year, but who knows if I’ll ever feel this good again. Check out my write up on Singletracks.com for the full play by play. This was one very hard race.

http://www.singletracks.com/blog/mtb-events/race-report-vapor-trail-125-salida-co/

Summer’s Almost Gone.

I grew up listening to The Doors, actually I was obsessed with them in  high school. The unique sound of Ray Manzarek on the keys, and Morrison’s stage presence and poetry drew me in. Obsessions come and go, some stick for a while, some not so much. Which got me thinking about how obsessed I am with bikes and that I know this obsession is to last a lifetime. It’s funny how life brings you to new places, introduces new things, and connects you with new people. I am sooooo very grateful to have found my home in the Gunnison Valley. It started with education but has turned into a whole lot more. This is what the bike industry wanted right? Its ok, I have accepted it, because I love every bit of it, the people, the adventure, the beauty. 

This has been an unforgettable summer that started in Arizona in April, where at the time it was not quite summer yet in snowy Crested Butte. I fell in love with Arizona, the warmth, the desert, and the trails. Summer continued with a few races starting in Utah, followed by Gunnison, Salida, and the Colorado Trail. In-between, life was filled with many laughs. Through pain and bliss, summer has quickly come to an end. The days are getting shorter, the nights get colder, and soon golden aspens will be accompanied by snow capped peaks.

The end of summer does not mean the end of bike season, and I’m going to make the most of it. It’s not very often I get to ride new trails around Crested Butte. I must admit — I love buff, smooth singletrack, and Crested butte has a lot of that.  Saturday I decided to ride the Para Me y Para Te trail just south of town,  a trail that has been on my todo list for some time. It was the perfect time as I needed to prep for some hike-a-bike that the Vapor Trail kindly has to offer. This ride was special because it exposed me to a different perspective of the land around me. I usually don’t feel so eager talk about a trail, but there was something special, it was a day where everything felt right.

The day started with me waking up far to early, but nothing a little coffee couldn’t fix. I hopped on the bike and made my way to the Green Lake Trail. I figure this would be a good test of my new XX1 drive train. It’s still a transition for me as I parted ways with a whole granny gear and my legs are still adjusting. Anyways that is an entirely different story. I started at race pace, but soon was taken over by the hike a bike. If I were racing, I would push it, but I decided to relax and enjoy the ride.

Panorama at the junction of  Green Lake Trail and para me y para te Trail.

Panorama at the junction of Green Lake Trail and para Me y Para Te Trail.

Mt. Axtel through the pines.

Mt. Axtel through the pines.

Whetstone Mountain, West face.

Whetstone Mountain, West face.

I made it to a clearing that showed just how big Whetstone Mountain really is. It’s just a big rock, high up in the sky.

Skyland and The Club in the far far distance.

Skyland and The Club in the far far distance.

And then I looked down, showing me how small we really are on Earth.

Carbon Peak, you look so epic.

Carbon Peak, you look so epic.

After some hike a bike came a fun steep downhill. My bike and I rarely are on the same page in this aspect, mainly because I suck at descents but today we were on the same page. Oh and I never realized how epic Carbon Peak really is. Wondering if it gets enough snow to ski?

Carbon Trail, with the Anthracite Range in the background.

Carbon Trail, with the Anthracite Range in the background. Sweet sweet singletrack!

The Castles.

The Castles.

I got to Ohio Pass, and decide I wanted to sit back and relax at Lake Irwin, I climbed up through the old Irwin Townsite, found a good spot, and laid back.

Lake Irwin.

Lake Irwin!

Although the Autumn Equinox is not until the 22nd of September, it will start to feel like fall before we know it. Get out there and enjoy it.  With the end of one activity comes another, and although I have found my true obsession in biking, it’s always such a great change to bring out the skis.  Feed your need while you can.

Minnesota on my mind.

So I’m in Minnesota until Monday, with no access to a bicycle. It’s a bit tough for me but at the same time, it’s good for me. My last post shared how much pain I was still in, so this weekend of drinking beer, sunbathing, and relaxing may just be what the body needs. I just need to remember to stretch in between beers. If I can’t bike I need to get my bike fix somehow. I decided a few days ago that I’m going to attempt my first fat bike race this winter. It’s quite fitting actually as the Arrowhead Ultra is in Northern Minnesota.

I figured I would start the process now as it’s going to take some time and money. This gear list is specifically for the Arrowhead Ultra and it seems pretty standard for an ultra fat bike race from my what I have gathered so far. I’m doing this so I can figure out how much stuff I will actually need, here we go.

MANDATORY GEAR (from race start to race finish):

  • Minus-20F degrees sleeping bag or colder rating. Colder than -20F almost all previous races. If you skimp here you are foolish. And we will not allow you to skimp. So do not skimp. Fool. 2011 it was -42F on trail. *I have a 0 degree bag, but that wont cut it. *Need to get a new bag*
  • Insulated sleeping pad. *Check*
  • Bivy sack or tent (space blankets/tarps do not count). – *Check*
  • Firestarter (matches or lighter). *Check*
  • Stove. *Check*
  • 8 fl. oz. fuel at ALL times (either gas, alcohol or 2 canisters of propane/butane 100 g. each or 12 Esbittablets). *Check*
  • Pot (min. volume is 1 pint) *check*
  • 2-qt (64 fl. oz.) or just under 2 liters, insulated water container. (Yes, Camelbacks count) *will need to figure out a way for the water to stay in liquid form*
  • Headlamp or flashlight. Suggest minimum ~100 lumen good for 12 hours/bike or 20 hours on ski/foot. *Check*
  • Flashing red LED lights, both on front and back of sled or bike (or on backpack if skier). Everyone have at least 10 square inches of reflective material on front and back of the person for this race. Two lights total are required, one on the front of the bike, sled or racer (runner or skier with backpack), one on the back of the bike, sled or racer (runner or skier with backpack). Each light must have minimum three flashing red LEDS. Keep ON ALL THE TIME. HIGHLY IMPORTANT….THIS MAY WELL PREVENT YOU FROM BEING HOOD ORNAMENT ON LARGE FAST-MOVING SNOWMACHINEs. *need to figure out, but not very expensive*
  • Whistle on string around neck to call for help, because your mouth is too numb to yell. *ohhhhhh Whistle*
  • 1-day food ALL times (3000 calories) (tip: pound of butter or jar of peanut bar 3200 calories). *I love food*

That’s mandatory gear, not all that bad. It’s very similar to the ITI (Iditarod Trail Invitational) which is the ultimate goal.

RECOMMENDED GEAR:

  • Extreme conditions mittens, head gear and outerwear. *need to get some mittens, already have my eye on some*
  • Down sweater, spare undershirt/socks etc.*mostly check*
  • Over-boots, Gaitors.*need to figure out aswell as different shoes maybe*
  • Duct tape, vasoline, sunglasses, lipbalm, moleskin, ibuprofin, etc.*check*
  • Map/compass/gps. Real outdoorspeople don’t need GPS though. Reflective vest good idea.*need to load GPX track and find a good map*
  • 5,000-7,000 calories of food, preferably items which remain chewable at way below zero and colder.*this is going to be fun, finding cold friendly food*
  • VERY IMPORTANT: Improved cell phone coverage especially on course highpoints makes carrying phone smart. Preferably off and in a warm spot to so it works, use for emergencies. *I love my technology*

This is obviously a basic list of what I will need, but I still want to keep it simple. I’m not going to get caught up in bringing gear I don’t need like I did on the Arizona and Colorado Trail Races.

I also need to get a Fat Bike, I have two in mind currently. The Surly Moonlander and the Specialized Fatboy. Both bikes have a wider tire width which is what I specifically want, especIally when biking in Colorado. I really like the Moonlander’s burly steel setup. It’s been around for years and has a good reputation. The Fatboy has yet to be released, and it’s a lighter setup. The new Specialized fat bike ground control tires are very intriguing. Bottom line, I’m going to buy the bike that is the least expensive, and I believe that will be the Moonlander.

Now back to drinking beer, and eating food! 🙂

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