“The Fat Tire 40 is a serious mountain bike race. Forty miles and it’s almost all on singletrack. This isn’t one of those dirt road races masquerading as a mountain bike race. It’s the signature event of Bike Week, on Saturday morning, and there are plenty of good spots for watching and cheering on the racers.”
-CB Bike Week
I had only been to Crested Butte once before in 2014. It was for the Fat Tire 40. 40 miles of some of the best single track in the land. Well over 5,000 feet of climbing and scenery for days. Unfortunately, my race ended before it began. Using my elevated legs to warm up at too high of a setting, tricking my body into thinking it was already going hard. I had never bonked off the start line and when I was close to recovery, broke my chain at the bottom of Deer Creek, a steep, steep climb with mandatory hike a bike toward the top. All I had left to look forward to was the bacon feed on Gothic Road, before the hateful climb back to the finish. I did well to block this race from my memory, and during this years edition had a much better experience.
I knew this was a hard race and why not make it harder, right? I brought the bike I had been having more fun on recently. The Roca Roja single speed. While it was like bringing a knife to a gun fight, I knew I’d be up for the extra punishment about to be dished out. Reason being I wanted a hard day to reflect back on, and it could have easily had gears put on in a matter of minutes, but I was too lazy to do so.
The race started from Rainbow Park with a neutral roll out that weaved us around the downtown area and then up Gothic Road toward the resort. As we all slotted in single file into the first part of the trail, the race was on! Smiling along the flowy singletrack in and out of the woods, getting heckled by locals in the more technical areas and cheered on by the volunteers of course. This race is a beast. After awhile I would stop looking up on the climbs as I knew they kept going. Being forced to walk at times and getting cooled off by many mountain streams kept me feeling good and in the game. Had some good company out there too as a few of us were yo-yo’ing back and forth. Knowing the finish was fast approaching and doing my best to hold on to the bars to manage the rest of the course, I ended up in the last section of road unscathed. One mile to go back toward Rainbow Park. This IS mountain bike racing at its best! Ending up 16th on the day and finishing in just under 4 hours. The beer was going to taste so good! Love what you do and do what you love. Crested Butte throws a hell of a party and knows how to hurt you just right. Next year I will bring gears though.
Nathan rides in the PURSUIT™ line and you can learn more about our Natural Merino Wool sock by visiting HERE.