Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Ohh it's Phat Baby!!!

by Ned Overend

The Steamboat Springs snow bike race was a blast! I won the 50km event and got an extra prize for beating all the skiers. Last year the skiers had the overall fastest time, but this year the snow conditions favored the cyclists.

The course was a tough one - up on Rabbit Ears Pass at between 9,500 and 10,000 feet altitude, with 2500 feet of climbing and 15-20 mph winds. My Strava GPS showed top speeds of just over 40 mph on the downhills and with some turns at the bottom and low knobs on my 4.7 "Big Fat Larry" tires, the bike was drifting and it got a little sketchy.

The course was soft on Friday during my pre-ride, but by Saturday morning it was frozen solid, then got softer and rougher as the skiers and cyclists wore it down. For sure, having a fast rolling tread was an advantage. Some of the fastest guys out there were on conventional 29er's with 2.3 tires, but they had to hold back on the descents. The 3.8 BFL's that some racers had were probably the ideal tire for that course. Choosing the right tire width and air pressure is the most important factor in snow bike racing.This sport is blowing up! Especially in the midwest, where they have some events with 200-300 riders competing. Its going to be interesting to see how the equipment evolves over the next few seasons.

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