Category: Race Reports

  • To Be an Athlete

    To Be an Athlete

    It’s dark outside and I laugh at myself as small balls of ice hit my face. Perhaps it’s just cold rain falling quickly from the clouds that circle above me, but either way, it is slightly painful. How many hours have I spent inside, on my trainer sweating profusely in a grand attempt to prepare myself for the heat in Morocco? Countless.  As I dream of home and the indoor heat, a formidable wind pushes my mountain bike and I across the road. Grateful that there isn’t any oncoming traffic, my mind is no longer back home in Colorado. I’m in the present, in Morocco. Pushing against the wind and rain, up an extremely steep hill, I repeat to myself that I am strong and capable as I give my all in the Atlas Mountain Race.

    Ashley Carelock at the start of the Atlas Mountain Race. Photo: Ashley Carelock

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  • Winter Adventure and the Warmth of Community

    Winter Adventure and the Warmth of Community

    A Fat Pursuit – 10-Year Anniversary Edition Recap by Racer Turned Volunteer

    By Betsy Williford

    The 2023 Fat Pursuit Volunteer crew. Photo by Rob Vandermark

    I first met Jay Petervary, ultra-endurance cyclist, ambassador of sport, and the founder of Fat Pursuit back in 2017, at a winter workshop hosted by Pedal of Littleton in Colorado. Captivated by his passion, knowledge and experience with fat biking in events like Arrowhead 135 and Iditarod Trail Invitational I was inspired to dream bigger with my own brand new obsession of fat bikes and human-powered travel in winter. I was curious and he was, and always will be, eager to teach. 

    Jay teaching all two of us at Whitefish Bike Retreat in February 2018.
    Jay racing me down a stretch of trail in February 2018. His passion for the sport is contagious.
    My 2018 60k finish photo. 

    After a year of preparing, training and …

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  • Jennifer Hanson’s Fat Pursuit

    Jennifer Hanson’s Fat Pursuit

    Jennifer Hanson lives in Florence, one of the hottest parts of the arid state of Arizona. While many people around the country are fleeing the cold winter temperatures of the north, often ending up in southern Arizona, Jen and her husband Jason headed up to Idaho for the 200km Fat Pursuit. Even as a desert dweller, Jen is an accomplished winter ultra racer with finishes in both the 2022 Fat Pursuit and the Iditarod Trail Invitational. She’s shared some beautiful images from this year’s Fat Pursuit and a quick recap of how her race went down.

    The day on the Fat Pursuit 200k started out magnificent, no wind could see the moon setting over Sawtelle mountain! Had the water boil test a couple miles down the trail, which went great! Then headed down the trail, stopped to let air out of my tires because the trail was pretty thick with …

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  • Just Eat Snacks and Drink Water and Ride a Bike – Katie Scott on the Arizona Trail 300

    Just Eat Snacks and Drink Water and Ride a Bike – Katie Scott on the Arizona Trail 300

    Katie Scott wrote up a beautiful piece on her Arizona Trail 300 experience. She’d decided that she wanted to race four days prior to the start, borrowed a pile of gear, did a massive study session of the route on the drive down to the border, and put together an impressive ride, getting to Picketpost in four days, four hours, and 40 minutes. As a bikepacking racing rookie!

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  • Positivity and Forward Progress: Ari’s Ouachita Triple Crown

    Positivity and Forward Progress: Ari’s Ouachita Triple Crown

    I set two alarms and curled up in my bright orange emergency bivy, prepared to take a 60-minute nap. It was over halfway through a 12-hour night. I was laying down on a small, narrow bench on top of Bear Mountain, the highest spot of the Lake Ouachita Vista Trail (LOViT). What would normally be a stunning, expansive view of Lake Ouachita’s southern bank was obscured by darkness. With a steep drop-off down the mountain a couple of feet away, I wedged myself against the back of the bench. I was just warm enough to relax but far from comfortable. I was happy to know that the LOViT was a substantial net downhill from here, followed by 15 paved miles back to the finish. I shut my eyes.

    The Race Route:

    The Ouachita Triple Crown (OTC) route is markedly different from the 1,000+ mile gravel/road loop the Arkansas High Country …

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  • Coatimundis and Cougars on the Arizona Trail

    Coatimundis and Cougars on the Arizona Trail

    After a disappointing and unsuccessful attempt on the Colorado Trail Race this year, I was surprised at the pang on envy I felt watching racers lining up to tackle this year’s Arizona Trail Race. I followed the race on Trackleaders and on the Townie, and felt a flicker of longing at Eszter’s photos of Ana hiking out the Grand Canyon. Did I really want to do that? Even after my less-than-fun attempt at the CTR, did I really want to race my bike again? And hike through the Grand Canyon with my bike on my back like a fool?

    I don’t know. Maybe?

    My 2021 AZTR300 was the best few days I’ve spent on a bike and apparently, that experience isn’t quite done with me. I’m not a particularly introspective person (long bike rides still haven’t convinced me to go there), so I don’t have any transcendent takeaways from my …

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  • Vermont Super 8: Tatianna Wawrzynski’s FKT

    Vermont Super 8: Tatianna Wawrzynski’s FKT

    The Vermont Super 8 bikepacking race is one of the most rugged routes in the northeast. This year, Tatianna Wawrzynski set out to race the 640-mile route, setting an FKT in the process. The former runner and mom of two young daughters used a combination of minimal sleep and endless determination to complete the race in 7 days, 26 minutes on her Trek 1120. She endured rain, cold temperatures, and hallucinations from the lack of sleep to complete the race, drawing inspiration from her family, friends, and everyone who has supported her over the years to keep going when things got dark. We asked some questions and Tatianna put together some thoughts about her experience on the Super 8, sharing details of how she was able to train for and execute the ride.

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  • Last Woman Standing: Isabelle Fisk and the 2022 AZT300

    Last Woman Standing: Isabelle Fisk and the 2022 AZT300

    When Isabelle Fisk rolled up to the Arizona Trail’s Picketpost trailhead at 6:22 last Monday morning, the look on her face was a cross between incredulity and complete joy. With 24 percent of the riders signed up for the AZT300 making it to the finish this year, Isabelle truly earned the title of “The Last Woman Standing.” Before the race, Isabelle was unsure whether she would even start. Despite her nerves, Isabelle left the border of Mexico with the Grand Depart of the AZT300, facing her uncertainties head on to have an extremely successful first bikepacking race.

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  • Eliza Sampey: Racing Ghosts on the Arizona Trail

    Eliza Sampey: Racing Ghosts on the Arizona Trail

    In 2019, Eliza Sampey set a new women’s self-supported FKT on the Arizona Trail 750 on her brand-new Revel Rascal. Now at the start of AZTR 2022 week, she reflects on the ride and what it meant to her to be able to set an FKT. “I raced a smart race, not a balls-out race. I knew if I wanted to have a shot at the record I first needed to finish the route, and that meant racing in a way that was smart for me.” She wraps up with advice for racers heading out on course this year for what is sure to be an amazing event, and one well worth watching.

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  • Q&A with Meaghan Hackinein: The Big Lonely FKT

    Q&A with Meaghan Hackinein: The Big Lonely FKT

    Last week, Meaghan Hackinen set a new fastest known time (FKT) on The Big Lonely, a self-supported bikepacking adventure through Central Oregon. She was the first woman and third overall finisher with the time of 33 hours and 35 minutes, breaking the record previously held by Lauren Brownlee. Find out more about Meaghan and her record-setting race in this Q&A. Photo by Seth DuBois, Instagram @sethdubois

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