Jaxnlance here to tell you a tale on one of the fastest growing sports in the cycling industry: FAT SNOW BIKING
Last week we touched on the epic feat of SkiMo and how it drummed up interest 14 months ago as my new sport of choice. It has since still been a leisurely activity to safely enjoy the winter and discover really incredible ski terrain, and check off a few “projects” a.k.a. ski lines out there that I want to tackle if conditions allow.
Life takes many twists and turns and in the past 2.5 years, mine has been on a process of coming down from serious racing to, lets call it, EPIC RECREATING =)
For some background, I have been a runner since I was 5 years old. I took the route less traveled in competitive running of entering races with my mom, uncle and her buddies every weekend around the Colorado terrain and worked my way up from there. Later winning regional championships in High School and having a PR of 17:50 for the 5k, I decided to move on to triathlon in College.
I quickly figured out the swim portion and turned my recreational habit of biking everywhere into one to race and became the national champion in 3 months. The new sport was upon me. I bopped in and out of running and elite multi sport endeavors for a decade. Highlights included becoming double All American in Duathlon and Triathlon. Bronze medalist at ITU Long Course Duathlon World Championships, Double National Champion in long and short course Duathlon. Experiencing Ironman 70.3 World Championships the same year with a PR of 4:30.08 and on and on.
From there, I decided to take a breather and just enjoy running. In 2011, the itch came back to race. I was excited to help my coach and Olympic Marathoner Lee Troop and a group of wonderful athletes from Boulder to found the Boulder Track Club. This was a wonderful experience and the club is growing each year, which is exciting to see. Through this experience, I fell in love with run races and ended up 9th female in the Chicago Half Marathon and 3rd female in Indianapolis Half Marathon with a PR of 1:25.08. Yet the new bigger goal was actually attempting to run 365 days in a row to inspire individuals and to raise money for cancer research. With two re-starts due to abdominal surgery, I ended up running 441 out of 445 days and finished my 365 days in a row consistent streak in May of 2012 running an average of 8.2 miles a day.
This became the finale of a long career of serious training, racing, and beyond. You do not realize how much of your life it takes over until you step away. Nutrition science, strength conditioning, training schedules, equipment research, constant focus, training daily, race plans, sponsor relations, travel and on and on.
All of that aside, if you have the competitive bug in your body, it always lives on and eventually will find a way to make an entrance again..
Beyond attempting to ski over 100 days last year (126 being the total tally), all specific focus on an athletic goal was off the table. I decided to enjoy yoga and running for pleasure and for fun, I am attempting to ski over 100 days at JHMR once again to earn a spot on that extra last ski day of the season. Yep, it’s really that fun. And the 100-day club breakfast is to die for! #bacon
So the competitive bug right? How can it not want to appear when the Sochi Olympics are showing every day. Well the search is back on. And what do you know; this week, I landed on the fastest growing winter sport in cycling. FAT SNOW BIKES!
We are in the midst of the 4th Annual Winter-Fest right now that is put on by the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce. It is held from the 14th to the 23rd of February. This Festival showcases all of the opportunities there are to enjoy in the winter days here in Jackson. The festival involves, ice skating, music, alpine ski races, nordic ski races, cutter races, gallery walk, wine tasting, ice fest – ice climbing event, margarita cup, winter trails day, snow bike demos, snow bike race… whew, did I lose ya yet? There is so much I cannot even write it all down. Click here to see it all… Yet that snow bike portion grabbed my attention…
These bad boys are super rad. Loaded with 4-inch ultra-wide tires and a psi around 9 allows the bike to easily roll over soft, slippery surfaces like snow. They are a great way to stay in shape during the winter and a perfect mix for your bio-mechanics during the ski season. If you are one of those multi-sport hero’s, this is your trick to never touch your bike trainer during the winter and stay outside in nature.
So with all of this research we found out about the FAT SNOW BIKE tours lead by David Hunger. On this Presidents Day Holiday we could demo the bikes for free right at Snow King Mountain Resort. The bike was extremely fun. I immediately wanted one. All of the sudden all of the terrain in the valley was fair game. Mountain bike trails are an option again all winter long.
We heard that the legend of snow biking, Jay, can be found over yonder at Fitzgerald Bicycles. We also met Gabe who is one of the pioneers of the sport and has been involved in snow biking since 2008.
He said that now you can find around 150 snow bikes cruising around the valley and it keeps on growing.
With all of that said, on this particular day, we happened to stumble upon the snow bike race following the demo. Holy cow did this look very challenging and fun. Once again, the slopes we tend to just go down became a race course canvas for these gents to make 3 loops around. As much as I thought to just take my demo bike and enter, I just sat back and watched the epic adventure take place. Here are some of Lance’s shots from the event to entice you to join in next time.
Maybe a backcountry ski tour through the GTNP is not your fancy? Go on a snowbike tour instead. More details on this to come from Patrick. If you simple want to get a feel, you can rent one. Click here for details.
I guarantee if you have ever loved any form of cycling this will be a blast. And ladies, there wasn’t a single lady in the race, so the field is open and ready for us.
Ride on, Ride on
Photography by Lance, Writing by Jax.
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