By Mark Wallace
Another Winter has come and (mostly) gone and since the mid-nineties snowbike racing has annually returned to Leadville. 2014 marked another large increase in racers as fatbikes continued to proliferate. In years past sometimes only 4 of us would show for a race and debate even starting (the answer was always “yes!”). Today the numbers are approaching 300 for national level races and 150 for regional races. Night racing seems to draw the biggest crowds. This year a Mountain Championship Series was contended with races in WY, MT, and CO; two of the 7 race series included events in Leadville.
There was also a CO State and a National Snowbike Champion crowned in 2014. None other than Travis Brown and Ned Overend are the state and national 2014 champions respectively! Well, to say the competition level has risen would be a drastic understatement.
In 2013 I won a Twenty-2 cycles fatbike frame and the experts at Pedal Pushers Cyclery built up a nice custom rig. It was so much fun to ride Dona decided to keep it for herself and so PPC built up a super-sweet Borealis for me tipping the scales at 21.0 pounds. The guys at PPC really know their stuff and the switch this year to Eggbeaters worked out especially well
in the snow.
It’s great to be challenged, and this year was no exception racing with the new Borealis bike. Snowbiking is about nothing if not persistence and 4 solid finishes in the Mountain Fatbike Series placed me third overall (7th at Como, 6th at Snowy Range, 9th at Tenn Pass, and 5th at the Mineral Belt Mayhem). The last snowbike race of the year was April 12th in Leadville, called the East Side Epic, this one was a “fun” race. We rode to almost 12K feet in that rarefied air; earning a 6th place in some slippery conditions (note to self: keep those knobbies on!).