The First-Ever Fat Bike World Championships: Part 1

In the winter, the trailhead is two miles from town, where the plowed road ends and the groomed snowmobile trail begins. (Thanks, Gunnison County SnoTrackers!) On a Wednesday afternoon, the parking area was crammed with vehicles, so we fully expected to be constantly dodging snowmobiles. We were pleasantly surprised to be proven wrong. In fact, the snowmobile traffic was light and for much of the ride, we were the only ones in sight. When we did encounter machines, the riders were courteous and friendly; one rider even stopped to share a grooming update with us. Coming from Buena Vista, where we are used to riding Cottonwood Pass on fatties, we were lulled into complacency by Kebler’s mellow grade. Well, at least until we were jolted back to reality five miles into the climb, when the grade got steeper, the switchbacks tighter, and the snow exponentially deeper and softer. Turns out, we were no longer on the Kebler Pass route, having gone straight, past the Kebler route at 4.5 miles. By 5.8 miles, mired in deep snow, and realizing our error, we turned around and began the descent back to Crested Butte and Fat Bike World’s Kick-Off party.

Karen HoskinWinter 2016