Bike racing can be a daunting world to get into. I should know. It wasn’t that many years ago that I finally warmed up to the idea, after breaking into the local MTB scene through Pedalhead group rides. As I met more and more people who rode, and found out that some of them actually raced, I realized that I might be able to do it as well. For me though, my first race was a full-on ABA event. I can’t say I was scared, but I’ll admit that I was definitely very nervous going in, so nervous in fact that I remember I almost pulled the chute! So, if you’re like I was, a rider, interested in racing but still standing on the edge of the pool scared to dive in, what do you do?
I give you Fat Tire Tuesdays! It’s a grass-roots series of races meant to be completely unintimidating, and fully accessible to a very broad scope of ages and abilities. If you’ve been looking for some way to try racing, this is it! I’ve been racing these for years now. Actually, last year these were all I raced during the MTB season… I just found these races gave me all the racing ‘fun’ I was looking for last year. They are cheap to enter – usually $5. The courses are much shorter than full ABA races, and there are three open categories you can choose from, each with their own assigned number of laps. ‘Group C’ will do something like 2 laps. ‘Group B’ will do 3 and ‘Group A’ will do 4. So with a 3km lap distance, the most you’re ever signing up for, even if you go in ‘Group A’, is 10-12km. Offering races with shorter distance clearly has a lot of upside – you’re only out on the course for 45mins or so, you’re not totally gassed afterwards so you can still go home and enjoy your day, not to mention so many more people are capable to participating. You don’t need to be a hardcore fitness hero of any kind. This week we had racers of all kinds show up, ranging from kids to seniors, from first timers to the elite and provincially ranked – and everyone has a blast! You wanna clip in and wear a full unitard (I mean skin suit), or go with flats and baggy shorts, it’s a truly ‘all-comers’ kind of event. I wish I’d known about these when I started racing. I’ve said it before that ‘short track‘ MTB racing was the future, and I’m still not unconvinced. It’s fast, fun, and accessible on so many levels that full on Olympic distance, just isn’t.
For years, Hardcore Bikes ran these grass-roots races on their own (Thank You!), but this year, Redbike and the Kokanee Redbike Race Team have also come on to share the load. This allows us to extend the Fat Tire Tuesday season, running from May, all the way to the end of August! You can check out more information here on the official Fat tire Tuesday website. Any questions, give us a shout. No reason to sit on the sidelines anymore – come on out and race!