Fat­bik­ing Sea­son Pre­view

Pedal Magazine - - Contents - by San­dra Wal­ter

FAT­BIK­ING

With the con­tin­ual ad­di­tion of fat­bike-ac­ces­si­ble ter­rain, more fat­bik­ing events nat­u­rally fol­low. Que­bec is clearly the prov­ince stricken with the most se­ri­ous case of fat­bike fever, boast­ing as many as 20 races on the cal­en­dar, ac­cord­ing to the Fédéra­tion québé­coise des sports cy­clistes (FQSC). Feb. 16 will see the sixth an­nual edi­tion of La Traver­sée du Lac St-Jean, the in­fa­mous 32-kilo­me­tre tra­verse of the re­gion’s name­sake. An­other one of the prov­ince’s most pop­u­lar fat­bike races is the FAT Ren­dez-vous Charlevoix on Feb. 2, held at the re­gion’s Le Mas­sif re­sort.

Que­bec has sev­eral pop­u­lar re­sort des­ti­na­tions for the two-wheeled win­ter ac­tiv­ity, in­clud­ing Mont-Ste-Anne of moun­tain-bik­ing fame. Mont-Ste-Anne also hosts a race and of­fers 23 kilo­me­tres of des­ig­nated fat­bik­ing recre­ation trails. Like­wise, Mont-Trem­blant in the Lau­ren­tians boasts ap­prox­i­mately 60 kilo­me­tres of fat­bik­ing ter­rain, 40 kilo­me­tres of which are shared with cross-coun­try ski­ing, while an­other 17 kilo­me­tres are specif­i­cally for fat­bik­ing. Many of the prov­ince’s parks wel­come the big rigs, too, mak­ing hun­dreds of kilo­me­tres of track ac­ces­si­ble. Even the fed­eral gov­ern­ment has rec­og­nized it’s more than a fad and is al­low­ing users to make fat-tracks in select Cana­dian Na­tional Parks, in­clud­ing Que­bec’s La Mau­rice.

On­tario is in a fat­bik­ing frenzy as well, ev­i­denced by its five-leg 45NRTH On­tario Fat Bike Se­ries pre­sented by Can­non­dale, in­clud­ing stops in rid­ing des­ti­na­tions Parry Sound, Kingston and at Bar­rie’s Hard­wood Ski and Bike. If ath­letes want to get ex­treme, they can take on the Wendigo Ul­tra – a 150-kilo­me­tre self-sup­ported fat­bik­ing ul­tra­ma­rathon from the Gatineau re­gion’s Cob­den, Ont. to Shawville, Que. and back on Feb. 9.

For those in­clined to­ward a more leisurely pace and hot-co­coa stops, On­tario has no short­age of recre­ation trails open to fat­bikes, such as a groomed nine-kilo­me­tre loop at Horse­shoe Val­ley Re­sort, Ot­tawa’s 10-kilo­me­tre Sir John A. Mac­don­ald Trail, the 49-kilo­me­tre Mil­len­nium Trail be­tween Car­ry­ing Place and Pic­ton, the 14-kilo­me­tre Old Rail­way Trail in Al­go­nquin Park and 28 kilo­me­tres in Gatineau Park to name a few.

The sport that has been de­scribed akin to rid­ing on pil­lows has not by­passed the Mar­itimes. Cor­ner Brook, Nfld. will host two fun races this win­ter, while Nova Sco­tia wel­comes rid­ers to the Ma­hone Bay Fat Bike Fes­ti­val, which in­cludes a race on Feb. 3. New Brunswick’s Fundy and Kouch­i­bouguac Na­tional Parks are also open to recre­ational fat­bikes, boast­ing 18 kilo­me­tres and 12.5 kilo­me­tres of trail, re­spec­tively.

Mov­ing farther west, Man­i­toba holds a race se­ries with four dates through the win­ter, kick­ing off in Ro­seisle on Dec. 9 and wrap­ping up Win­nipeg on Feb. 24. Or­ga­niz­ers Two Wheel Rev­o­lu­tion also host sev­eral so­cial events through­out the sea­son. Birds Hill Provin­cial Park, Rid­ing Moun­tain Na­tional Park, Fort Whyte, Bran­don Hills and the Pem­bina Val­ley all of­fer fat­bik­ing-friendly ter­rain for those look­ing to ex­plore the prov­ince’s ex­ten­sive win­ter won­der­land.

Saska­toon fat­bik­ing club the Fat­landers are or­ga­niz­ing a so­cial ride on Dec. 1 to cel­e­brate Global Fat-Bike Day. Favourite rides rec­om­mended by the group in­clude the 20-kilo­me­tre Grey Owl’s Cabin Trail in Prince Al­bert Provin­cial Park and the 21.5-kilo­me­tre Green Lake Loop in Duck Moun­tain Provin­cial Park, as well as the trails of Blue Moun­tain Ad­ven­ture Park.

Al­berta is home to a huge amount of real es­tate open to fat­bikes, so it’s no won­der the prov­ince is also high on the list for com­pe­ti­tions, start­ing with

the new three-event Griz­zly Fat­bike Se­ries in Can­more. Frosty’s Fat­bike Se­ries in Jasper on Jan. 10-12 fea­tures a XC-style race, a so­cial ride with the Pros and the main-event En­durance XC race with a $5,000 cash purse, while the third an­nual Hinton Growler prom­ises lots of snowy fun on Feb. 9.

Al­berta has many op­tions for “fat­ties” in the pic­turesque Can­more/Banff area, as well as neigh­bour­ing Kananaskis Coun­try. Farther south is a new fat­bik­ing-friendly provin­cial park, Cas­tle, which was es­tab­lished in 2017 and fea­tures a cozy new warm­ing hut. The Can­more Nordic Cen­tre opens sev­eral of its pop­u­lar sum­mer moun­tain-bik­ing trails to fat­bikes in win­ter, such as EKG, Blue Coal Chutes and Odyssey. Fat­bikes are pro­hib­ited on groomed ski trails. Nearby High­line Trail is also a favourite. Banff Na­tional Park gems Lake Min­newanka, Mo­raine Lake, Tun­nel Moun­tain and Goat Creek ar­eas all fea­ture fan­tas­tic fat­bik­ing choices in the heart of the Rock­ies.

B.C. is on the snow­bik­ing band­wagon with some great places to shred. One of the coun­try’s top fat­bik­ing des­ti­na­tions, Nipika Moun­tain Re­sort in the Koote­nay Rock­ies, grooms 30 kilo­me­tres of flowy, rolling sin­gle­track through forests punc­tu­ated by stun­ning views of canyons and rivers. Nipika also hosts the Cross River Rip­per fat­bike race on Feb. 23. Other hot spots in B.C. for this cool ac­tiv­ity in­clude the Okana­gan’s Sil­ver Star Re­sort in Ver­non, B.C. with 15+ kilo­me­tres of groomed trail, as well as the east Koote­nay’s out­door play­ground, Fernie.

It’s no sur­prise that one of the win­tri­est places in Canada has awe­some spots to fat­bike. Some of the Yukon’s favourite rides are at Grey Moun­tain and Mount Mac­In­tyre in White­horse, as well as the multi-use Mil­len­nium Trail, which fol­lows the Yukon River through town. Other sug­ges­tions in­clude Ben­nett Lake near Car­cross, which fea­tures im­pres­sive moun­tain views. The more ad­ven­tur­ous will love to ride in the Fish Lake and Bon­neville Lakes ar­eas out­side White­horse.

As fan­tas­tic as fat­bik­ing is for ac­tive peo­ple seek­ing more out­door recre­ation op­tions in win­ter, con­tro­versy still ex­ists around how trail ac­cess is man­aged and how ter­rain is shared among user groups, es­pe­cially with Nordic skiers. The trou­ble lies in the way fat­bikes leave their mark in the snow, often sink­ing in and chop­ping up the sur­face if con­di­tions are too soft or warm. While many ar­eas are multi-use, more fat­bike-only trails are be­ing de­vel­oped to keep them off Nordic trails. In­creased aware­ness and ed­u­ca­tion about when and where to ride is help­ing users find har­mony in the snow. Ar­eas are also de­vel­op­ing clear rules to help fat­bik­ers make bet­ter choices. For ex­am­ple, Sil­ver Star Re­sort does not al­low fat­bikes in above-freez­ing tem­per­a­tures and re­stricts tire width to 3.75” or wider and pres­sure to 8psi or less to en­sure min­i­mal trail im­pact.

Also quite pop­u­lar in Que­bec is the FAT Ren­dez-vous Charlevoix on Feb. 2,held at the re­gion’s Le Mas­sif re­sort.

Frosty’s Fat­bike Se­ries in Jasper, Alta. Jan. 10-12 fea­tures three eventsand a $5,000 cash purse.

More fat­bik­ing frenzy can be found at the five-leg 45NRTH On­tario Fat­BikeSe­ries pre­sented by Can­non­dale.

Get fat this win­ter!

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