New course, new event, same fat fun
by Than Acuff
Here we go again: Fat bikers of all shapes and sizes will be rolling into town next week for the Borealis Fat Bike Worlds, Wednesday through Sunday, January 23-27. The Crested Butte/Mt. Crested Butte Chamber of Commerce took over the reins of the auspicious event two years ago and continues to work with Crested Butte Mountain Bike Association director Dave Ochs to ensure that all things fat remain fun.
“It’s going to be sick,” says chamber director Ashley UpChurch. “Registration is looking good.”
As of press time a week before the event, registration is hovering around 140 participants, most of whom are from out of town.
“Historically this event is 80 to 90 percent out-of-towners,” says UpChurch.
Participants this year will have three bike companies to demo from: Borealis, Specialized and Why Bikes. Not only can the curious fat biker test ride the bikes on the official demo day at the North Village venue by Snodgrass on Friday, January 25, they can also use the bikes free of charge at any of the races. Anyone interested can get his or her name on the list by emailing email@example.com.
But that’s just the tip of the fatberg. In an effort to make what is considered a great event even better, things have been tweaked some this year as the World Championship course has been moved a bit and the Townie Crit was added to the event menu.
This year’s Fat Bike Worlds venue on Saturday, January 26 will include the eastside trails of Crested Butte Nordic as always, but the start/finish area has been moved to The Club at Crested Butte.
“The catalyst for that move was Dave Ochs,” says UpChurch. “He wanted to add some fat bike track out there.”
Furthermore, the direction the riders go will be the opposite of years past and the last half mile of the eight-mile loop will be singletrack.
“We’re grooming some new track out there and we’re super psyched,” says Ochs. “Plus, we’re going backwards this year, making for tough climbing and super fun descending and the last half mile will be head down, time trialing to the country club. If you wanna win, you gotta race to the singletrack, you really want to be in the track first. If you go off of it, you might disappear.”
Not only does the venue offer stunning views, but riders and fans will be allowed indoors (think the pool scene in Caddyshack) to stay warm, eat, drink and be merry.
“It allows us to have a close inside venue,” says UpChurch. “Fans will be able to see some of the race from inside. The club has been great.”
Last but not least, the Sunday of the Fat Bike Worlds event has been a mishmash of activities including the resort opening its terrain and lifts to downhill fat biking. This year the event wraps up with a Townie Crit and is open to everyone, fat bike or no fat bike.
“That came out of a desire to open things up to more people,” says UpChurch, making “an event people can do on their own bikes.”
The course will be a quick loop through town starting and finishing in front of the Brick Oven and sure to include an alley section. No part of the course will be maintained or manicured so it’s up to the participants to decide what ride is best. One thing is for sure: Upchurch is looking for folks to pull out all of the stops as there will be prizes for best costume and best bike decoration.
“We’re leaving it the way it is,” says UpChurch. “Best of luck to everyone. We’re really pushing for great costumes.”
As always, there will plenty of UpSlope beer throughout the five-day fat fest and plenty of parties each evening. The FBW branding iron will be heated up and ready for application but if that’s a bit too much, Calico Queen tattoo parlor will be around for anyone looking to commemorate their experience with a temporary “flash tat.”
None of this will happen though without a steady stream of volunteers so the chamber is offering free entry into other chamber events such as the Chainless or Beer and Chili Festival for anyone who volunteers at the Fat Bike World Championships. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you can help out and for more information or to register for events go to cbchamber.com.