Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Putting on winter fat

It's been neat to see all the fat bikes rolling around Canaan Valley the last couple of months. Fat biking is latest trend in the world of off road human powered recreation.  It's still a mountain bike, but the favorite surface is snow.  Tires with widths of 3.8 or greater provide the necessary float to ride through snow.

Recently,  the first fat bike championships took in West Virginia.  The event took place at White Grass Ski Touring Center in the heart of the snow belt of Canaan Valley.  Luckily, it had snowed lots leading up to the race and it was a white race course.

Sixty racers showed up to see what it was like to race a fat bike.  For some who, rented bikes from our local shop, Blackwater Bikes, it was their first time both racing and riding a fat bike.  Conditions were not easy on the hilly course.  The soft snow conditions made traction elusive.  Hiking with their bikes and often wiping out on the open orchard section, these riders all got a good hard day in.

The podium winners stood on hay bales as the American flag whipped  the westerly winds across the snow farm.  Folks were tired, but happy.  Most of the skiers enjoyed seeing the bikes.  A few thought it didn't jive...bikes at an xc ski area.  It is the only day of the year that one can fat bike at White Grass, but of course the skiing is always a blast if there's snow. There are plenty of other fat bike friendly rides in the Monongahela National Forest,  Blackwater Falls State Park, Canaan Valley State Park and the Thomas trails.

Even though the festival is over 5 months away, don't forget about biking in the winter in Tucker County.