Chainless, Fat Tire 40, Oskar Blues, clinics and more
The oldest mountain bike festival in America, 34 years old to be exact, is gearing up for four days of non-stop activities for all things mountain bike starting Thursday, June 26 and rolling through Sunday, June 29.
The festival, now called Crested Butte Bike Week, has morphed over the years to include a variety of different races, rides and rowdiness over an entire week but in the past couple of years, the celebration has slimmed down to bring the best out of mountain biking for racers and recreationalists alike.
In an effort to rekindle the fires from the days of old, Crested Butte Bike Week will set up its headquarters on Friday in downtown Crested Butte at the corner of Third and Elk.
The event will include KEEN Rippin Chix bike clinics, Prana Yoga sessions, Oskar Blues beer, guided rides, shuttled rides, a carnival, free bike demos, more Oskar Blues beer and a skills clinic led by the coach of the Western State Colorado University Mountain Sports Team. For a complete schedule of events check out www.cbbikeweek.com. Sign up for events at the Crested Butte Bike Week headquarters.
The highlights are the races, though (and the beer) and there are three races—well, two races and one event—
from which to choose that can fulfill whatever your bike riding needs may be.
Chainless World Championships
The races all kick off on Friday, June 26 with the Chainless World Championship Bike Race. The Chainless is a cross between parade, costume contest and athletic endeavor. Chainless participants are shuttled to the top of Kebler Pass for a seven-mile coast down Kebler Pass into the heart of downtown Crested Butte.
All Chainless participants receive one free beer and can earn another free beer by dropping off their bike before noon on Friday at the Crested Butte Fire Hall parking lot (3rd and Maroon) on the day of the race. Helmets are required and costumes are highly encouraged. Participants can pull their chain off, or we will zip-tie it for you. No peddling allowed!
This year when you’re gearing up for the big day, here are a few things to keep in mind:
1. Race Morning Packet Pick Up: Race numbers will be available to pickup on race day from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the 1st Street and Elk Ave. parking lot.
2. Wear a Helmet: Your dome is pretty important. So cover it up. You can wear a moto helmet, a full-face ski lid, a construction hard-hat, or a full-contact battle re-enactment beast. Just put one on and finish with it.
3. Racer Transport Bus: Kebler Pass is closed for the Chainless, which means no worrying about cars coming up fast from behind. Awesome! It also means that you’ll need to a catch a ride on the Chainless Race Bus. Sign up, sit back, sip a…soft drink. Buses begin loading at 1 p.m. and the last bus leaves at 3 p.m. Don’t miss your ride! All buses load and depart from the 1st Street and Elk Ave. parking lot.
4. Bike Transport: We will transport all bikes to the top of Kebler Pass for you. Keep in mind though, they are piled on to flatbed trailers and strapped down. The chances your bike is going to get scratched is somewhere between 50 percent and guaranteed. If you don’t want your bike to get scratched, find a junker to use—this is not the place for your $10,000 Pinarello! Bike loading begins at 9 a.m. Drop off your bike and relax for the day. No scrambling!
For those of you “taking the pot,” the Chainless might just be your race.
Fat Tire 40
The Fat Tire 40 offers riders some of the best trails available between the Evolution Bike Park on Crested Butte Mountain Resort and the surrounding hills. With over 5,200 feet of vertical climbing and 40 miles of riding, the Fat Tire 40 has become recognized as one of the most challenging and rewarding mountain bike races in the country.
Taking place on Saturday, June 27, at 8 a.m. the beautiful course takes racers on a circumnavigation of Mt. Crested Butte, starting and finishing in the Evolution Bike Park at Crested Butte Mountain Resort. After leaving the Evolution Bike Park opening section of Prospector, Columbine and lower West Side, riders will head out by way of the Upper Loop, the new Upper Upper, Strand Hill, Canal trail and Deer Creek Trail. Following a climb out of Gothic, racers will turn back onto the Evolution Bike Park via the Meander Trail from the very bottom.
“We’re ‘meandering’ for even longer than normal,” says Ochs.
The race finishes with the Awakening and Down Time trails, leaving everyone with one final pleasant memory of what will surely be a 40-mile struggle for most.
“Everybody should be finishing with big smiles,” says Ochs. “We’re just going to hit all
the good single track—showcase the fun, flowy cross-country single track throughout the race.”
Given the tweaks to the course from last year, one’s strategy for success needs tweaking as well.
“There’s nowhere to hide out there,” says Ochs. “You gotta start out full bore and hopefully hang on and use the small road sections to eat, drink and regroup.”
Aid stations complete with Clif Bars and Acli-Mate will be out there in the usual spots as well as a bacon-station at the end of Deer Creek by the Lifelines volunteer crew.
Ochs expects the winners to come through the finish line just over three hours after the 8 a.m. start. A complete route map and description as well as race registration instructions can be found at cbbikeweek.com.
Bridges of the Butte
See the town from your bike seat for 24 hours straight. Start out at 3 p.m. in the Crested Butte Town Park on Saturday, June 28 while most people are saddling up for happy hour.
Catch the dinner crowd lining up for food, see what happens when the day turns to night and the “night people” take over. Circulate while patrons stumble home after last call and then witness who may be dodging down the alleys at daybreak, only to see the town start all over again the following day.
The Bridges of the Butte has been described as a rave on wheels, a mobile flash mob as well as a 24-hour psychomentaphysical sufferfest for solo riders.
Hell, I did it solo, you can too.
This one-of-a-kind 24-hour bike tour loops through downtown Crested Butte, meandering across the town’s bridges. Sign up solo and brave the bike seat for all 24 hours, or put together a team of your friends and tour the town in shifts as day turns to night. Tune up your townie bicycle and find a fabulous costume, because this is one townie takeover you don’t want to miss. Proceeds from the event go to the Adaptive Sports Center. Registration and information about the Bridges of the Butte can all be found at adaptivesports.org.