Four days of all things Fat goes off
by Than Acuff
It was a stellar weekend for the Borealis Fat Bike Worlds, Thursday through Sunday, January 24-27. More than 200 fat bike riders, with plenty of friends and family in tow, were out for four days of races and events that included demos from bike companies, plenty of racing, plenty of parties, plenty of Upslope beer, food, and some serious track and sun for some serious fat bike fun. It has come so far that even the Wall Street Journal was in town to cover the event.
“It went great,” says Crested Butte/Mt. Crested Butte Chamber of Commerce director Ashley Upchurch. “We had an awesome time and lots of positive feedback from racers and vendors.”
About the only crimp in the entire weekend was Mother Nature, as she decided to mix things up with sunny skies and wind, making for some grooming challenges as pristine track continued to get blown in. Thursday’s racetrack in the North Village was hammered by the wind, as was the world championships course on Saturday starting and finishing at the Club at Crested Butte.
“The wind was not appreciated,” says Crested Butte Mountain Bike Association (CBMBA) director and Fat Bike Worlds race director Dave Ochs. “The Nordic Center killed it Friday night getting the track in for the race but at 11:08 on Saturday, the winds kicked up again. But the fat bikers didn’t complain—people had a great time and that’s all I care about.”
Except for maybe one participant Saturday who may have had too much fun at the aid stations, opting for whiskey instead of water.
“We were lucky to have the venue out at the club,” adds Upchurch. “It was an awesome new venue.”
The world championships Saturday proved to be a throw down with the men’s podium, and much of the top 10 really, a collection of professional riders including two-time Mexican National champion rider Tony Baca in third, Fat Tire Birkie winner Chris Stevens in second place and champion triathlete/ professional coach Josiah Middaugh taking the win. Former Gunnison Valley resident and pro rider Amy Beisel took the women’s title and cyclocross champion Megan Barr came in third.
“The podium was legendary,” says Ochs. “The women’s podium was incredible, too.”
While the event draws a large contingent of Coloradans and even some folks from overseas, a strong contingent of fat bikers from Minnesota and Wisconsin was on hand, and on the podium, and they look to bring more back next year en masse.
“They were super-stoked and said they’re bringing more with them next year,” says Ochs. “That’s the stuff I care about.”
Upchurch looks forward to bringing the event back again next year and couldn’t be happier and more appreciative with the end result.
“I feel awesome about it,” says Upchurch. “I want to thank Dave and Laura with CBMBA for their help and all of the volunteers. This event takes so much human power.”