Photos by Bear Cieri & Thibault / Video by Jake Goss
HISTORY IN THE MAKING
On the morning of March 3rd 2012 we set up the “aid station” consisting of a camp fire, Green Mountain Distillers Maple Liquor, and a keg of Long Trail on a hill overlooking Burke Mountain. Group rides consisting of 50 people on regular mountain bikes and 10 visionary fatbikers had departed from the Kingdom Trails Touring Center an hour earlier.
The fire was crackling by 10:00a.m. but I figured I wouldn’t see anybody till mid day. Within ten minutes two groups of riders were approaching, one from the north and the other from the south. The two parties met me in the middle and ponied up to the fire. After a minute of watching them size each other up I offered to tap the keg.
Ironically, the crew that had ridden up to the station from the north side was from Massachusetts. The group that approached form the south was from Quebec. As we filled our cups it became apparent that we were all of the same ilk. Before long there were 40 people from eastern Canada and New England gathered around the fire and reveling in a day dedicated to mountain biking… in the winter.
In the context of that moment it dawned on me that we had struck upon something special. So started the party and, unbeknownst to us, the ultimate birth of the event that would evolve into Winterbike 2015!
“Back then, only a handful of fat bikes could be seen among the small crowd of bikers; this time, they were universally present. While things have grown much bigger, the core of what made that first Winterbike fun hasn’t changed at all.” – Mark Tucker, Kingdom local
When People ask what fatbiking is like I usually explain it like this:
“It is wicked fun, like mountain biking, only on snow.”
“Have you ever watched Dukes of Hazard? Yeah? Like that, but on mountain bike monster trucks!”
“Fat bikers sure do love their beer. It was so weird to be surrounded by so many of them. It was kind of like the same feeling of community I get after a race, surrounded by runners. Our tickets also included a lunch at a local restaurant, after we ate I had to bring back the bike rental to the bike shop. Sad!” – Jen, www.jenisgreen.com
A FOURTH SEASON OF MTB CULTURE
This year we witnessed a paradigm shift. Not only did the crowd grow by a mere 100 people, the majority who attended were there to really ride! They brought their own bikes and they had been riding all winter! Fatbiking is no longer a novelty. Now it is just mountain biking… on snow!
In Keeping with Tradition the 4th annual Winterbike 6x was held on Saturday afternoon. It takes a brave soul to pedal a fatbike to maximum speeds. Add five other lunatics to the mix and and a sustained 3 minute downhill and you have yourself a race! Every year it is hard to tell who is having more fun, the spectating peanut gallery in the beer garden or the competitors.
THANKS AND PRAISE
Winterbike is a co-production of Mountain Bike Vermont and Kingdom Trails. But in reality, without a community like East Burke and an organization like Kingdom Trails, an event like this would never have been possible.
We can’t thank you, the pedaling people, enough for trusting us enough to drive umpteen hours, braving the cold, and hitting the trails with us. Thanks for making 2015 the most successful Winterbike to date!
We promise to keep the fatties rolling in 2016. Here’s to many more to come!