Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Cyclists to brave snow in downtown Ketchum

New ‘fat tire’ race to follow Nordic sprints Thursday

Express Staff Writer

    Fans of both bicycle racing and winter can now enjoy the two simultaneously at the Wood River Bike Coalition’s first annual Sun Valley Fat Tire Festival, a cycling race on snow.
    The race will take place Thursday in conjunction with the Sun Valley Nordic Festival’s Downtown Jam and Nordic Town U.S.A. Sprints, on a circular course in downtown Ketchum at the corner of Second Avenue and Fourth Street. The Nordic races will begin at 4 p.m. followed by the snow bike race at 5:20 p.m.
    Cameron Lloyd, a member of the Wood River Bicycle Coalition’s advisory board and a coordinator for the snow bike race, said registration for the both the Nordic and bike races will begin on location at 3 p.m. He said the bike race is a fundraiser for the coalition and registration will require a $20 donation to the organization, but registration for the Nordic sprints is free. According to Lloyd, the format for both races will be the same. He said the races will be two-person relays consisting of 12 total laps, but team members can decide how many laps they’ll each do.
    Lloyd said snow biking is “catching on” in the Wood River Valley and Thursday’s race is a way for the Bicycle Coalition to celebrate and promote that. According to Lloyd, many cyclists don’t want to stop riding their bikes just because the snow falls, so they’re buying snow bikes with extremely fat tires that provide more traction on snow and ice. He said there are about 15 to 20 snow bikers in the valley.
    “A typical snow bike has about a 3-inch wide tire, or wider,” he said. “A lot are 4 inches wide, but for the race Thursday there’s a 3-inch minimum.”
    Lloyd also said snow bikers lower the pressure in their tires to increase the contact area between the tires and the snow. He said the coalition might have some bikes available for people who are interested in racing but don’t have snow bikes of their own.
    “You don’t really slip and slide on the snow as you would on a normal bike because you have so much surface area,” he said.
    Bicycle Coalition Director Brett Stevenson said the coalition is excited to be a part of this year’s Nordic Festival.
    “It’ll be a great way for people to enjoy snow bikes both as spectators and as riders,” she said.

Brennan Rego:

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