Chilly air suits fat-bike riders bound for Woodbury
Believe it or not, some area bike enthusiasts want the cold weather to stick around.
Maybe not bone-chilling temperatures, but low single digit temps to keep snow at Carver Lake Park and provide ideal conditions for big, fat bikes.
The third-annual Woodbury Carver Lake Cold Catfish Cup fat bike race will be held Sunday, Jan. 19.
Recreation specialist and event organizer Reed Smidt said 95 racers participated in 2013. The city is capping the race at 125 this year to control the growth.
“Winter cyclists like to push themselves and something like this is a good way,” he said. “I don’t care how cold it is. We’re still going to go out and race.”
Winter bike racing has increased in popularity. The Woodbury event provides an opportunity for east metro racers to ride on three different types of snow covered trails.
“I don’t know of any other bike race that utilizes a single track trail, a beach and a frozen lake,” Smidt said. “For those reasons it’s unique.”
The fat bike race is set up for advanced and beginner winter mountain bike enthusiasts. Ideally, the course will be 18 miles for advanced and 10 for intermediate, Smidt said.
Last year, the course was about 15 miles. The fastest biker in the men’s category finished in 1:24:44 and the winner of the women’s division had a time of 1:53:06.
“Last year it was really cool … it was probably 25 degrees and we didn’t have much snow until the day of the event,” Smidt said. “By the time the race was done, we had fresh powder everywhere.”
The event will focus on the race, but there will also be fat bike demos, coffee, a food truck and giveaways.
The volunteer trail crew has been maintaining the bike trail in preparation for the annual race scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. for registration with the race starting at noon.
Smidt is hoping for ideal 10-degree weather and a good amount of snow coverage everywhere.
“We’re not really excited about minus 10, but minus 10 is better than 40,” he said. “You don’t hear that very often, I’m sure.”
If it gets warm and there is glare ice on Carver Lake, it will not be included in the race.
The overall champion will get a trophy sponsored by the Angry Catfish Bicycle and Coffee Bar in Minneapolis.
The Carver Lake Bike trail has seen a lot of use lately even with the cold weather, Smidt said, which is why the race is expected to draw more participants each year.
“I think it’s surprising how much use the bike trail gets,” he said. “Over the last week it’s had a lot of people riding just for recreational fun.”
To register for the race, visit www.ci.woodbury.mn.us/recreation-division/registration.