Crested Butte, CO. The backdrop and host town for the 2nd annual Fat Bike World Championships is absolutely amazing. I truly believe there is not a place anywhere with as much charm and magic that this incredible small town has. People from all over the country and abroad came to the 9000' elevation town to ride, eat, drink, and hang at one of the most laid back World Championship races in existence. This was my second year at the race and I loved every moment. From the incredible coffee, unmatched beer selection, amazing friends, and killer food how could someone not have a blast?
The first thing on our mind's each morning was coffee...also usually in the afternoon. First Ascent Coffee Roasters is the place in town for coffee and delicious local eats. My good friend Jason and I rolled down in a snow storm one afternoon for the last cup of the day at the shop.
Crested Butte had gotten about 7 feet of snow the week before we rolled into town...The place is a winter wonderland right now.
There were after party's all week after the races and the local distillery Montanya threw an amazing one with live music. Their local rum is unmatched and their place is killer too.
The first race was on Thursday morning at 11am in the North Village area just a few miles north of Mount Crested Butte base area. This put the race start at just close to 10,000ft. Last year the climbs on this course were insane and relentless. This year the course had less climbing (less walking for most) and made the fun level go through the roof. With the amount of snow the valley has seen it is amazing what the crew was able to do with getting the course groomed and ready to ride. A HUGE SHOUT OUT to Dave Ochs who is the Director for the Crested Butte Mountain Biking Association and the Promotor for CB Fat Worlds. Thank you, Dave. You have put together something very very special and given people like me from Oklahoma the chance to come ride in a place in the winter that I may never have done before. That is amazing and I can't thank you enough...That being said the following run of pictures are all from the first race on Thursday morning. About 70 of us lined up at the start and off we went...
I had no idea where I was in the group as far as place, but I ended up 3rd in my age group! I was unbelievably pumped. The course was super technical in some places where others couldn't ride and the snow was churned up from walking. The climbs were manageable when you could pick a line. I love technical mountain biking so I really felt at home on this course and had a smile on my face most of the time. I tried to drink my water on the second lap and found it completely frozen. The laps were about 2.5 miles long or so and we had 8 laps. After close to 20 miles with no water I was ready to hang out, get a beer, and after I found out I placed 3rd I waited for the awards. Tons of amazing people were hanging out and trying to keep each other warm in the single digit temps. Great people and a great vibe.
This is where the people show up. Over 300 fat bikes lined up for either 15 or 30 miles of some crazy fast snow riding. The course is just behind the CB High School in town on some of the most beautiful Nordic Ski Trails in the world. Mount Crested Butte is looming overhead as we climbed just over 350ft per 6 mile lap. The course was perfectly groomed, beautiful, and fast. People were stopping at the feed station to add pressure to their tires once they realized just how fast the course was after a lap or two. I didn't want to stop and kill any momentum that I had and thus rolled the entire 30 miles on about 3psi in my front and rear tires. The added stability and traction on the downhills were worth a little bob on the flats. The grooming was wider on Saturday than on Thursday and made all of the climbs and descents rideable, but the cold air was destroying my lungs that are used to 900ft in Stillwater, OK. I found my groove after the 18mph rollout that the pro's were throwing down and I ended up riding with Cullen from Poison Spider Bicycles in Moab, UT and we were encouraging each other the entire last 2 laps. I would catch him on the climbs and he would pull us like a mad man on the flats. Absolutely amazing.
Full beardcicle was happening for anyone with a hairy face. I dug as deep as I could for those 30 miles. Thanks to my good friend AJ for snapping a couple pics of me before I fully imploded from not being able to breathe for the next 6-7 hours or so. A hot hot shower, 4 tamales, mexican coke, americano, and a whole avocado later I almost felt human. The elevation is no joke, and it's phenomenal. It was a perfect blue bird day in the mountains and I can't wait to go back. Thank you to the town of Crested Butte for keeping your beautiful village so amazing and letting us come play on our fat bikes. Thanks to Borealis Bikes being a major contributing sponsor and thanks to Upslope Brewing for the fantastic free beer. We will be back next year for sure!!
Cullen and I crossing the finish line in 2hrs 40min together. It was amazing riding with you brother. I would NOT have pushed myself that hard without you there. Thanks again for the crazy encouragement and the wheel to hold on to in the flats.
I started District Bicycles in Stillwater, OK with my wife Crystal. Promoter of the Land Run 100. Creator of unlearnpavement.