Naked Women's Racing Blog

Race reports, training tips, and our ladies' lives on two wheels.

A Naked Ladybug takes on Fat Bike Worlds

Amanda Bye‘s initiation into the world of Fat Bike Racing includes getting intimate with snow banks, earning the elite field flask, and celebrating new found bike love with good friends and team mates. 

It started with a call from a good friend asking if I wanted to race Fat Bike Worlds in Crested Butte since Masters Cyclocross Worlds was cancelled. I paused for a moment as I had never ridden a fat bike and did not know what this race would entail but has Lina ever steered me wrong? So yes of course I was in.
One week before the race our team did a demo with amazing Specialized Fat Bikes thanks to teammate Brittany Jones. Oh my how fun riding a fat bike at a leisurely pace on well groomed trails for 5 miles was. However, that is not what my future had in store.
Day 1 of Fat Bike Worlds- Relay race
As this was my first fat bike race and as well as for many others in this infant sport, we had no idea what to expect.  Funny how usually showing up to a race with a blanket of snow on the ground brings some anxiety (normally ‘cross), whereas the snow is the expectation here and brings smiles instead. The expo was up and running with numerous fat bike manufacturers, pack makers (in the winter it appears to be smart to carry lots and be prepared) and even special grooming machines for fat bike trails.
Our coed team of 4 enthusiastic racers arrived early. One of the many wonderful things about this race is that each day the racing began at 11AM, so no need to wake early and be out in the unnecessarily cold weather in Crested Butte. There were no clouds in the sky and the weather warmed but at 8,909 feet or higher of elevation the air is thin and always cold in the winter. The race began with a Le Mans start and then proceeded to snowy, groomed trails that were hard packed at the beginning. However, as the day progressed the snow softened and the number of falls drastically increased.
In one case, in order to avoid a person who fell in front of me, I veered hard to the right and into a snow bank. My right leg was stuck under my bike and as I put my hand down to push my body up, my whole arm sank deep into the snow. So now I am lying there with my leg stuck under the bike and my right arm so far down into the snow that my face is in the snow and I am laughing. I eventually work my way out of the snow bank and back onto the course. Several more falls later the race was over (falling appears to be par for the course for all racers in this tricky sport). Our team- the Boulder Fatties- got first place that day but more important was the fact that we had so much fun racing together.
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Day 2- Course recon and a new fat bike
Another friend, Dez, let me use her fancy shmancy fat bike. The titanium bike rode amazingly well, the fit was perfect and it was so light. A group of us went out and rode part of the main event world championship course. That day the sun was out, the temperature was warm and the riding was relatively easy, the next day race was looking really good.
Why did I decide to race the elite category given that I had never done a mountain bike race longer than 12 miles or had never before last week rode a fat bike? The flask (see photo), was given only to Elite race finishers. The Elite race was 30 miles. How tough can that be? There was a mass start and immediately several riders crashed into each other and went down, then three more crashes. After the initial mayhem, the racers started to spread out. There were people dressed up in costumes- Lieutenant Dangle, a koala bear, a unicorn and me-the ladybug- to name a few. There were lots of spectators cheering and giving handups of adult libations. There was music being played on race bikes and there was a lot of racing. The first few laps I felt good but did not want to push it as I knew it was going to be a long day. With the number of racers the snow from the night before turned into mashed potatoes and it was like riding in sand with no reprieve. You were either off running or pushing with all you had on the bike. Lap 3 I came around to the start and still felt good, I was eating and drinking well. Then lap 4 the fatigue crept in. A man passed me and said “Ladybug do you know one of your wings is broken?” and my response was “That is the saddest thing that has ever happened in Fat Bike Worlds” and at that moment I felt it. Lap 5 with the wind, sleet and drop in temperature came pure exhaustion. Thank goodness for the Clif Bar aid station, which gave me just enough energy to finish the race. I finished all 30 miles of this fun and physically, as well as emotionally, draining race. Would I race elite again? Yes, without hesitation, I would. Lina we should start training now for next year but not too hard as the winner is offered a body branding (scarification) of the Fat Bike Worlds logo and someone did partake in this new ritual.
This was a weekend of firsts. My first Fat Bike Race, first Elite race and first non-road bike 30 miler. michelle worlds
Shout out to Michelle Hoffer, the other Naked lady who raced her heart out while still smiling the whole time and then cheering me on. It is always a joy to see you.

Thank you to all the people who came out to cheer both new friends and old ones. Thank you to Dave Ochs for putting on this amazing race. Thank you to Clif Bar for saving my race. Thank you to all the photographers and to Larry Grossman for announcing. Thank you to Dez and Lina for the bikes, cheers, handups and encouragement. Thank you to Naked for continuing to sponsor us and to my team for always being there. Flask photo compliments of Lina Dzekciorius.Amanda worlds 3amanda worlds 9amanda worlds 12

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