2018 Winter Bike Expo
The ladies of ShredWorthy both attended the Winter Bike Expo in Littleton, Colorado today. In fact, we wouldn’t have missed it, because when given the opportunity to celebrate the Fatbike in all of it’s snow shredding glory, WE WILL TAKE IT.
The forecast for today, Saturday, November 17th, predicted snow. And, like any smitten, Winter-craving Fatbiker would, I anticipated the day by marking it on my calendar affectionately as “SNOW DAY!!!!!” This would have been a lovely setting for which to attend the Winter Bike Expo, but instead it was cold and wet outside (which was likely better for attendance, since otherwise so many of us would be chasing fresh powder on our fatbikes).
The event took place inside the front room of the bike shop Pedal at Littleton. This shop has some major inventory, and I was happy for a couple of isles of fatbikes to drool over. Almost all of their gear was marked 20% off, and they had even marked bikes down to 30% off! The place was buzzing with excitement, people wrapped in puffy coats and arms covered in shopping bags filled with new cycling gear. It was exciting times.
At 11 am, the show took off and Shimano showed off their new 1 x 12 mountain drivetrain. Swag and information abounded. At 11:30 am, an information session was held regarding the The Bear Endurance Series in Steamboat Springs. They have two options, a 50-mile or 115-mile, and both are excellent options for people interested in getting into ultra endurance racing. At noon, Pearl Izumi offered some techniques on layering for Winter riding. The highlight of the technique was warm base layers and wind resistant outer layers.
At 1 pm, the bike technicians from Salsa Cycles introduced us to their 2019 line of bikes and walked us through the redesigns of their shreddy fatbikes: the Mukluk (their comfort and adventure fatbike) and the Beargrease (their race fatbike).
The new Mukluk features include 3 sets of cage bolts on the front fork for increased rack capabilities and alternator dropouts which allow a seamless single speed conversion. The Mukluk is defined by its wide back end, a stock short stem for snappier handling, slack frame geometry, and comes with 26-inch by 4.8 tires.
The redesigned Beargrease boasts a 27.5-inch wheel with Whiskey rims, 3 sets of cage bolts on the front fork, 197 mm rear end, a 100 mm threaded bottom bracket featuring SRAM’s DUB technology.
All in all, Salsa’s fatbikes had me chomping at the bit to take them for a spin, which fortunately, we could do since we were at a Salsa dealer location. Thanks Pedal of Littleton!
At 2:15 pm, Chelsea Strate from 45NRTH informed us on how to get dressed for Winter commuting & demonstrated the new tire line up. Highlights from their new line included: the introduction of 27.5-inch tires and more tubeless ready options.
To close the day, Jay Petervary, a Salsa Cycles athlete and 10-time Alaskan Iditarod competitor, gave us a presentation highlighting his adventures and challenges on the Iditarod Trail. His pictures showed vast expanse, extreme resolve and tremendous overcoming. The Iditarod Trail Invitational (or ITI) has two distances: a 350 mile race to the town of McGrath, Alaska, with only 6 checkpoints along the way. This distance serves as a barrier-to-entry for the longer, 1,000 mile trans-Alaskan race to an iconic landmark, the burled arch in Nome, Alaska. He has completed the 1,000 mile race to Nome 8 times now, twice setting the course record.
Every year, the bike gets more evolved, more technically equipped for big backcountry adventure. And fortunately for him, Salsa Cycles is in the industry of making the best adventure bikes out there. Jay P and Salsa have been working hand in hand for years now to develop bikes that are highly specialized and custom designed specifically for the ITI.
Perhaps the biggest struggle that he faces in the over 1,000 mile trans Alaskan pursuit is carrying enough nutrition. In colder weather, the body burns more calories to maintain homeostasis. In an ITI race, you’re working around the clock to keep the body as efficient as possible. Carrying enough food to stay fit to ride can prove a challenge. Especially when there’s 80 miles and a blizzard between you and the next checkpoint. He showed us a couple of food tricks that he relies upon in the race; his favorite being bacon rolled up in peanut butter, his least favorites remain a tie between a pair of ill-fated hot dogs that ended up giving him food poisoning and a calorie dense soup concoction for the ages. He pulled up the slide to show us the soup. “That’s a packet of ramen, a packet of sardines, spam, a block of cheese and a half stick of butter.” The room bursts out in laughter.
To me, the most interesting thing about Jay P’s stories regarding the Iditarod was that none of it seemed absurd when he was talking about it. While he was retelling the story of the year that he pushed his bike through waist-deep snow for 18-hours, he bore a look of complete serenity on his face. When he talked about the time that 2 scheduled air drops, scheduled for food, forgot to make their times & he thus had to pedal over 100 miles to find food, he was smiling. Throughout the duration of the presentation, where he was sharing some of the wildest and most absurd feats of human determination, he seemed like he was longing, somehow still searching, as if, given the choice, he’d be out there today, perhaps pushing through waist deep powder in - 20 degrees weather.
Ultimately, the 2018 Winter Bike Expo made me hungry for more snow adventures. It rekindled that fire that was put out by shreddy summer riding. But this Expo reminded me that Fatbike riding is such a special experience, and we at ShredWorthy are excited to have more and more people to share that with as the years pass. We were stoked to get to check out the new lineups of Winter riding gear, and if given the opportunity, we hope you’ll give fatbiking a big fat chance!