This past Veteran's Day a bunch of us headed down to Falmouth, MA for a race at the Coonamessett Farm. It is a great local grassroots race put on by Corner Cycle. Its always been one of our favorites. We packed up a bunch of friends and bikes into the van and headed south from Boston.
One of the biggest draws, other than the cool farm and great vibe, was the Fat Bike race. Eco-Cross has been doing a cyclocross race for a while now. Its always fun and has some really cool mountain bike sections. Corner Cycle is really into Fat Bikes so it was only natural that they would add a Fat Bike Category to their race. I am pretty sure this is the first time Fat Bikes have been raced as a category in a cross race in New England. Corner Cycle did it right. They had a stable of about 20 Fat Bikes for people to borrow so they could try it.
Fat Bikes are fun. We all know that. But what would racing them be like on a cross course? We were about to find out. Thirty people lined up for the Fat Bike race at the end of the day! It was incredible to see so many fat bikes lined up for a race. Even the USAC official didn't know what to think of this. His last words before blowing the whistle were "please everyone be careful and no one get hurt!"
I assumed it would be a Fat Bike parade. But no, like all things in New England, it was race time! The start was just as furious as the Masters race we had done 2 hours before. And the chopping and dropping just as spirited. There was a big crash on the first fireroad and somehow me and the big man in an orange jumpsuit got around it! Gewilli escaped with two Corner Cycle riders and I spent the whole next three laps trying to chase them down. It took all my effort to do so!
But it was so much fun you didn't even notice who hard you were pedaling. A Fat Bike smooths out so much of the rough stuff that would usually bounce you around on a cross bike. We were flying through the woods. And every time I would come up over the second hill and see the goats it would just give me more energy!
To say I was beyond impressed by how fast the Honey offtrail was is an understatement. The bike felt as fast and nimble as my mountain bike. That really was the whole idea behind the design of the offtrail. After three laps I came around to see the leaders having a BBQ and beer stop at the barriers. Just as I rounded the corner to join their party they were gone! I did my best to chase them but they were too fast!
As we came into the finish there was a lot of yelling and pointing. I could make out "One More Time!" And "Jump It!" Not to disappoint I headed out on what I thought was one more lap. What it in fact was, was a Ramp of Doom. My good friend Gewilli had rammed through one of the barriers on the last lap. Some spectators had taken the fallen barrier and put it across the first barrier to make a ramp for us to jump over the barrier.
Not to disappoint I headed down to (what I thought was certain death) the ramp and let it roll over. Again, I can't say how much a fat bike saves you in these situations. I am not a very good mtn biker. Basically, I have zero skills. But the bike did the work. It zoomed right up and over and I was airborne! Four inch tires at 8 psi make for pretty good suspension! I landed without incident much to my relief!
Everyone had a blast. And I hope that Fat Bike categories take off at cyclocross races. It really is a great way to have fun at a cross race. The only thing that maybe isn't fun is trying to get a 28 pound bike over a high barrier!
Eco-Cross is a great little race. The farm itself is reason enough to head down and check it out. Huge thanks to both Corner Cycle and Coonamessett Farm for letting us spend the day shredding on Fat Bikes! Thank you to Lee Toma for always being so great and taking such terrific photos.