Eye on the Fat Pursuit 200k

With the addition of the Canyon Dude fat bike to quiver of bikes the skis have been neglected this winter.  I’m sorry, skis.  The fat bike has opened up endless winter riding opportunities and offers a fresh perspective on a sport that otherwise is typically relegated to dry dirt and 2.2 width tires.

I always knew I wanted to try fat bike racing. There is no shortage of fat bike racing here in Colorado thanks to the crews in Leadville and Breckenridge. Oddly enough my first bigger events are in Idaho.  Back in December I took on the Fat Pursuit 60k near West Yellowstone. It was an eye opening experience, racing for 6.5 hours in temps that never got above -4ºF.  I had fun and was successful. At that point I told myself if I enjoy/survived the 60k, I’m coming back in January for the 200k. Well, as I type this, the 200k is just a few days away. 200k on dry dirt is a big day.  On snow, it is bound to be a 16+ hour effort. Other than the act of pedaling the bike, this is all new to me…..the equipment, how to dress, pacing, etc.  I am equally parts excited as well as scared…..scared in a good way.

I pretty much absorbed all my knowledge from the internet and talking with like-minded riders/racers.  If it wasn’t for them, I’d be blind in this new format.  So, with the 200k looming on the horizon, I wanted to share my set up for the Fat Pursuit 200k.

The bike is a Canyon Dude, size Medium.  Rims are 80mm wide and tires are 4.8 set up tubeless. Drive train is a 1x11 with a 28T chain ring up front.  Saddle is an Ergon SMC3 Pro and grips are Ergon GS1-S. Pedals are CrankBrothers Candy. Pogies to keep the hands toasty are 45nrth Cobrafists

Now for the Topeak bikepacking bags, which are available in Spring 2017 and are doing the job of carrying everything needed for this adventure….

1. Topeak BackLoader - contains a 2017 Big Agnes Blackburn UL 0º sleeping bag.  A 0º or colder rated sleeping bag is required equipment.

2. Topeak TopLoader - contains food, chemical hand and toe warmers, spare AA and AAA batteries, spare pair of socks, nose warmer made from part of a wool BUFF

3. Topeak MidLoader - contains spare tube, Topeak Mini 20 Pro mini-tool, Topeak RaceRocket MT mini-pump, Topeak AirBooster, MontBell down jacket (required equipment)

4. Topeak TopLoader - contains food.  Lots and lots of food.

5. Topeak FrontLoader - contains SOL Escape Bivvy (required equipment), Big Agnes Q-Core SLX Insulated sleeping pad (required equipment), a pair of thicker weight gloves, JetBoil MiniMo or MSR WhisperLite Universal stove. A stove is required equipment and a there is a water boil test at Aid 1 that each racer must complete prior to continuing on.  Choice of stove will be decided prior to race start when the temperature forecast is more certain.

Other required equipment on the bike is a red rear light and a white front light. Specifically, these are the Topeak Aero USB lights

Course isn’t marked, so navigation will come from a Garmin eTrex 30x.

The only equipment I will be wearing is a Ergon BX1 hydration pack (100 oz) under 3 layers of clothing.  This keeps the liquid warm and from freezing.  On my helmet I will have a Black Diamond Storm headlamp for night riding.

Now, the only thing to do is go out and execute a successful ride.  You can follow the race LIVE via Trackleaders. 200-mile racers start Friday night. Those of us racing 200k start bright and early on Saturday.

Thanks for reading!

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