Saturday, November 18, 2017

Fatbike Intermission

   To the people out there that watch this blog - you may be wondering 'bout the lull in mountain stoke.  Well, it turns out there actually is night in Alaska, and sometimes a lot of it.  When that happens, it's easier to go for a bike ride than a full mountain day...  Which brings me to the subject of this (filler) post.


Me riding at Knik glacier.  The drone that took this photo has an uncanny ability with composition.

This is about as fat as they get.

Sometimes you can jump them.

   Yep.  I even work for a fatbike company (and it shouldn't be hard to figure out which one).  This means I feel a certain obligation to get out there and test what I sell.  It's pretty fun even.  It's so fun, and so ubiquitous in Alaska, that sometimes us crazy locals race 'em.  Which brings me to the next subject.  


The local fast guys dragging me around.  Yes, that's me back there.  This is when I realized there would be pain.
Finishing my 2nd Frosty 50.  No matter what happens, you smile at the end.  Photo by Brian.

First few minutes of racing on Eagle River.  Dat temp doh.

   Fatbike racing is, in my opinion, the most interesting form of bike racing.  There are a tremendous variety of snow conditions, each with its own corresponding series of tactics and gear choices.  Fast snow favors narrower tires, road racing skills, and pack strategy.  Deep, fluffy snow requires bike handling, meaty tires, and the ability to endure a high watt sufferfest for as long as possible.  Of course, there are a million other variables - the course style, the temperature, the competition.  It all combines into a unique race experience every time!

   This year, my goal is to take race training a little more seriously.  It's easy to do pretty well on just fun miles (going easy most of the time and hard when you feel like it) but I know there are definitely gaps in this - with major things being race nutrition and proper periodization.  Race nutrition has always been a weak spot for me.  I get very focused as the race evolves, but unfortunately, not very focused on when to eat and drink.  Not only do I forget, but the nature of racing in winter can make it difficult to even get at the food or drink.  Lots of layers, yo!

   The second aspect, periodization, is a core idea to many sports, cycling included.  This is probably the worst problem I face.  I like to go hard sometimes, and sometimes hard for too long.  Sometimes junk for too long (JRA - Just Riding Around).  Rarely do I manage to do the correct combination of intensity and recovery.  That's where my co-worker, TWR (The Will Ross) comes in. 

Warning: Shout-Out Below  

   So, Will is arguably the fastest fatbike racer around - Alaska, lower 48, anywhere.  Not only is he quick, but he knows how to get quick.  He's been racing for a long time, knows the ups and downs (literally) and has a very approachable attitude.  That's why, when Will mentioned he wanted to start coaching, I was quick to jump at the opportunity.  I'm stoked to put my training into more experienced and objective hands.  

   My plan starts today and uses a heart rate monitor to measure intensity.  It accounts for two peak events: The Frosty 50 and Susitna 100.  I guess the real proof is yet to come, but for now, I'm confident to recommend Will as a coach.  Go check out his website and tell him Nate sent you!

But it's not all racing...

   Winter is still young.  The trails are packing in with snow, the rivers and streams are icing over, and there are many fatbike adventures waiting. 

   "Sorry Mountains - I'll come back when I can, but for now, fat wheels are pretty good."

   Here, have some fatbike stuff.  

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