2017 Fat Bike World Championships Epilogue

Bikes, beers, bands, and high-speed fat freeriding highlight Colorado event

Event Fat Bike Video
2017 Fat Bike World Championships

About 300 riders took on the 5-mile circuit (and frigid temperatures) at the second annual Borealis Fat Bike World Championships in Crested Butte, Colorado.

For the second year in a row, I am not Fat Bike World Champion. Which is just as well, because I have no interest in getting branded. Though truth be told, none of the 300 or so participants opted for any personal flesh burning, including 2017 race winners Robbie Squire (Felt-Assos) and Karen Jarchow (Topeak-Ergon). That pair were quickest man and woman in the 5-lap race around a rolling, 5-mile circuit on Crested Butte’s East Valley trails, which are normally reserved for Nordic skiers. Unlike a year ago at the first annual FBWC, the course held up great on what was a frigid sub-freezing (but sunny) day high in the Colorado Rockies. (Check out full race results here.)

2017 Fat Bike World Championships

This guy definitely had the best costume.

The rest of the four-day bacchanal of all things wide wheels included a tune-up race in far more challenging conditions (think lots of post holing), a free-to-all fat bike demo day, lots of parties, and lift-served fat freeriding at Crested Butte Mountain Resort, which included the chance to test your mettle on the intermediate rated North Pass ski run, where it was easy to eclipse 40mph. That might not sound fast, but when you’re on squirmy tires pumped to 6psi, it can be downright terrifying. Smelly, smoking brakes were commonplace. For more, check out this video put out by title sponsor Borealis Bikes, and scroll through the extended photo gallery below.

2017 Fat Bike World Championships

For the second year in a row, road pro Robbie Squire captured the men’s title. He opted not to get the customary race winner’s brand. Good choice.

2017 Fat Bike World Championships

Crested Butte has gotten hammered with snow this year, leaving plenty of opportunity for artistic expression. That’s the FBWC event logo.

2017 Fat Bike World Championships

Fat biking may not have become the bike industry boon that so many were calling for. But in the right place at the right time, it’s a heck of a lot of fun.

2017 Fat Bike World Championships

Eyewear choices are altered when it’s below freezing at race start.

2017 Fat Bike World Championships

Most riders opted for traditional fat bikes, but there was the occasional ski-attachment adapter in the crowd, too. (That bike rips in powder btw.)

2017 Fat Bike World Championships

Your author was on course for both races, testing Trek’s superbly capable Farley EX 9.8 with 27.5 wheels and 3.8″ tires. The narrower set-up goes against conventional fattie wisdom, but was definitely an advantage on the hardpack course where float was not a priority. Keep an eye on Mtbr for a full review.

2017 Fat Bike World Championships

The hole shot went to our friend Jordan, who made his annual transformation into Reno 911′s Lieutenant Dangle (bare legs and all).

2017 Fat Bike World Championships

That’s how pink your legs get when racing in sub-freezing temps.

2017 Fat Bike World Championships

Some took the aero qualities of their apparel more seriously than others.

2017 Fat Bike World Championships

Making America great again the fat way.

2017 Fat Bike World Championships

Look up it’s a drone!

2017 Fat Bike World Championships

Former Olympic cross-country racer Travis Brown (left) was fifth overall.

2017 Fat Bike World Championships

Fire pit arctic style.

2017 Fat Bike World Championships

Frost beards were commonplace all week.

2017 Fat Bike World Championships

Frosty beverages were also prevalent.

2017 Fat Bike World Championships

Mtbr has also been testing this budget-priced Fezzari Kings Peak, which has a full carbon frame and comes in at under $2000. We let our neighbor Kevin rock it on race day.

2017 Fat Bike World Championships

Between races there was a small, but vibrant demo area that included the likes of SRAM and clothing maker Qloom.

2017 Fat Bike World Championships

The little ones were out, too. This kid’s mom won her Thursday race, while dad came fourth on Saturday.

2017 Fat Bike World Championships

Another pint sized fan. We’ll get her on a fat bike soon enough.

2017 Fat Bike World Championships

Props to Borealis for picking up the title sponsor tab for the second year in a row — and bringing over a huge demo fleet from its Colorado Springs HQ.

2017 Fat Bike World Championships

The Thursday course had no shortage of superb scenery.

2017 Fat Bike World Championships

Making the turn for another lap on the Trek Farley.

2017 Fat Bike World Championships

Nice day for a ride.

2017 Fat Bike World Championships

Fat bike freeriding. It’s a thing.

2017 Fat Bike World Championships

So is lift served fat biking. At least once a year in Crested Butte. Maybe someday it’ll be a regular thing.

2017 Fat Bike World Championships

That’s a sign you don’t see every day at a ski resort.

2017 Fat Bike World Championships

No one hit the big booter, but speeds well over 40mph were commonplace.

2017 Fat Bike World Championships

When fat bike freeriding, always go full enduro.

2017 Fat Bike World Championships

Skiers stay out.

2017 Fat Bike World Championships

Of course, the night life was good, too.

2017 Fat Bike World Championships

Yet another new discovery: Fat bike hut trip. That’s the Maroon Hut about 3 miles into the backcountry in the Townsite of Gothic.

2017 Fat Bike World Championships

What happens when you leave your fat bike outside all night. And yes, the Bontrager dropper post worked just fine the next morning.

2017 Fat Bike World Championships

Crested Butte boasts upwards of 35 miles of groomed fat biking trails, including the superb track from Mount Crested Butte to Gothic, which passes under the looming shadow of Gothic Mountain.

Photo Thumbnails (click to enlarge)
About the author: Jason Sumner

An avid cyclist, Jason Sumner has been writing about two-wheeled pursuits of all kinds since 1999. He’s covered the Tour de France, the Olympic Games, and dozens of other international cycling events. He also likes to throw himself into the fray, penning first-person accounts of cycling adventures all over the globe. Sumner, who joined the RoadBikeReview.com / Mtbr.com staff in 2013, has also done extensive gear testing and is the author of the cycling guide book "75 Classic Rides: Colorado." When not writing or riding, the native Coloradoan can be found enjoying time with his wife Lisa and daughter Cora.


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