Fat Bike World Championships gearing up

Who knew fat would be so phat

by Than Acuff

January 2017 has been fat. Eat enough donuts and drink enough soda and you get fat. My friend had one of the original Fat Chance mountain bikes. Fatburgers are awesome. Trans-fat has caught a bad rap. Yo momma’s so fat, when she sits around the house, she sits…around…the house.

But, you know what else is fat? Fat bikes, and they will be invading our end of the valley Thursday through Sunday, January 26-29, as the Crested Butte/Mt. Crested Butte Chamber of Commerce and the Crested Butte Mountain Bike Association (CBMBA) hosts the second annual Borealis Fat Bike World Championships, presented by Upslope Brewing Co.

“This year we set a cap at 250 riders to maintain the integrity of the courses and right now we have 243 registered,” says chamber of commerce director Eliza Cress. “I’m pleasantly surprised by the number of people coming. We are stoked that we are building on the momentum from last year.”

The idea was born two years ago when local mountain bike enthusiast (to put it lightly) and current director of CBMBA Dave Ochs was “brainstorming” with Aaron Huckstep and Jason Stubbe. Locals had been fat biking for a couple of years already and there had even been a couple of local races. But after their profound discussion, the idea to host the first-ever Fat Bike World Championships was born and Ochs ran with it.

Last year, 264 fat bikers came to compete over three days, with the final day of downhill fat biking on the resort somewhat curtailed due to… snow.

Prior to the storm though, the weekend went somewhat flawlessly. Sure, there were a handful of injuries one day but all was forgotten on World Championship race day with a quality course set out, a lesbian Led Zeppelin cover band after the races and branding. Not the kind of branding like #lookatmeskiingpowder branding—I’m talking burning flesh branding. In fact, video of the human branding incident was captured by Warren Miller cameramen and included in this year’s Warren Miller film, Here, There and Everywhere.

“I think that caught a couple people’s attention,” says Cress. “The resort was great sending people to several of the showings of the movie throughout the fall and we sent them with Fat Bike Worlds info to help promote the event this year.”

“It met expectations and then some,” adds Ochs about the inaugural event. “It gave me a very warm and fuzzy feeling.”

The fun starts this year with a party, of course, on Wednesday, January 25 including beer, pizza, films and racer packet and bib pick-up at the Brick Oven. Racing starts on Thursday, January 26 at the North Village venue adjacent to the Snodgrass trailhead. The races will be held on a course built specifically for the event and Cress assures participants that it will be a bit more user friendly than last year—the site contributed to a number of crashes resulting in injuries.

“We’ve definitely made some adjustments to the courses,” says Cress. “It’s a little more tame and more friendly to all levels of fat bikers.”

“I’m very excited about the North Village course,” says Ochs. “This year we laid out a course thinking specifically fat bikes. It will be more of a singletrack, fat bike experience. Designing a fat bike course by ski, it’s a beautiful union.”

Friday will provide a chance for the curious to check out fat bike demos at the North Village venue and see what all the hype is about.

Saturday, January 28, the Chinese New Year, is when the fat rubber meets the snow as riders will line up at the Town Ranch behind the Crested Butte Community School for the Fat Bike World Championships. There will be two race options: a 30 to 34-mile course for the elite class, and an 18 to 20-mile loop for the open class.

But, if you want the title and the chance to get branded like a cow, you must race elite. This year’s field of racers will include both the men’s and women’s world champions from last year, a crew from the United Kingdom, riders from throughout the U.S. as well as a slew of Coloradoans. The moderate-speed action starts at high noon.

While the lesbian Led Zeppelin cover band outdoor concert was “special” last year, people got cold. This year the awards and after-party will be at Bonez and will feature Denver-based funk band AOA.

The fatness comes to a climactic close on Sunday, January 29 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. when fat bikers will be granted access to the ski resort for some lift-served downhilling on Gold Link.

“We’ll utilize the existing CBMR terrain park with berms to make a fun, flowy downhill track,” explains Ochs. “

Every single day of the five-day fat-fest will include commemorative bibs, free beers, free burgers, free brats, prizes and giveaways.

Registration for the Borealis Fat Bike World Championships presented by Upslope Brewing Co. closes on Wednesday, January 25, and with just seven spots left, as of Tuesday, the time is now. For additional information go to www.cbchamber.com.

“We’re looking to brand some buns,” says Ochs. “The branding iron has been bleached and fully cleaned.”

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