Originally published on Niterider.com
Fat bikes are not a new thing and snow racing is not a new thing, but they both are certainly experiencing a meteoric growth in popularity right now in our little bicycle universe. In Colorado new races are popping up as fast as my Facebook feed can refresh, and being a long time race junky, I naturally am trying to get to them all.
One of the aspects that excites me most about snow races is that they often take place at night. This gives me the chance to ride and race with Niterider lights without having to stay up all night long! The Copper Mountain race this past weekend took off at 6 pm in a melee of 150+ racers illuminating the ski slopes, it was pretty awesome, and then it seemed fitting when the race ended with an impressive Firework display to cap off the light show.
Copper Mountain Winter Bike Fest is the first race in the long running Leadville Winter Bike Series. The course was by no means easy. Tough climbs up the ski slopes with some “mashed potato” snow sections made made the climbing a red lined affair every pedal stroke of the way. One super steep waterfall descent made for plenty of hilarity - not so hilarious when we turned to climb/walk back up this section. I was going off course often and kept dropping back to third place, but luckily there was one last big climb at the end and I went full on freight train breathing up it and pulled into a solid 2nd place finish.
To keep the fun rolling me and my weekend teammate Heidi Dohse packed it over to Winter Park where the next day a free exhibition race would be taking place. Winter Park is basically my favorite place to ride a bike on this planet and I didn’t see why it would be any different on my Fat Bike. I was not disappointed. The race had been trying to go official, but conflicts and misconceptions about fat bike riding were in the way with local jurisdiction and it ended up being ran as a free event to demonstrate to the community what it was all about. Almost 70 racers toed the line to take on the 8 mile loop that had boat loads of climbing (I thought I heard 2k) and lots of sketchy descending through the snowshoed in MTB trails of the summer. Any variance off the line resulted in instant burial of your front wheel and a catapult into chamois deep snow. Getting remounted was no easy task. Luckily I only feel victim to this one time. I heard horror stories of racers spending more time wading through snow than on their bike.
I got a gap on the opening climb and kept it steady to stay off the front and finish the loop in roughly 45 minutes. I felt surprisingly decent for the massive week of riding I had just put in and racing the evening before. MORE IS ALWAYS BETTER!
The combo of my Borealis Echo decked to the nines, and my Niterider 2200 light on my bike make for best in class products that are as much fun toeing the start line as they are on Dawn Patrol sessions scouting first track descents after a new snow. I never would have thought I would have this much fun on my bike in the winter.