Jill Cederholm is a member of KÜHL’s Cycling team. She is a former collegiate swimmer and professional triathlete. She resides in Mendota Heights, Minnesota with her husband and daughter.
Living in Minnesota during the winter provides lots of fat biking opportunities. While I’m no stranger to racing during the summer months, racing a fat bike is an entirely different experience.
The Fat Bike World Championships in Crested Butte, Colorado was my first experience racing on snow. Not knowing what to expect, I wanted to be as prepared as possible and pack the right gear.
I started packing three days prior to my event while I scoured the Internet and watched the weather. With the weather holding somewhat steady and true to the average highs and lows, I packed the following:
My go-to travel gear includes a Bontrager Provence 32 roller travel bag and the Bontrager Chi-Town backpack. This travel gear offers a lot of packing compartments and is perfect for a cyclist’s gear-intensive trips.
I chose to wear the Bontrager OMW glove. They were fantastic, and I didn’t even need a back-up pair. These gloves are a 2-in-1 set up. The outer mitt is made of Profila Storm shell, and the inner layer features Profila wind fabric layer with insulation and merino wool. My back-up glove is the 45NRTH Sturmfist 4 and 5.
A good base layer is worth its weight in gold. This essential piece of clothing keeps your core temperature warm and wicks away the sweat. I really like lightweight Merino wool blends because they are smooth on the skin.
It’s all about layering. Over my base layer, I wore fleece bibs, a windbreaker vest and my fleeced-lined KÜHL cycle kit made by Vermac. For my outer layer, I wore the GORE Element Women’s Cycling Pant.
My feet tend to get cold quickly regardless of the temperature. I usually wear a combination (depending on how long I’ll be in the cold). If it’s 25 degrees or warmer, I’ll go with the 45NRTH Japanther boot with a seal skin sock. The temperatures for race day were predicted to be 10-18 degrees, so I went with the Bontrager OMW winter boot and a wool high sock. This combination served me well with minimal issues.
- 45NRTH Vanhelga
- Kenda Juggernaut Pro
- KÜHL SPYFIRE® Jacket
- KÜHL ARKTIK Jacket
- KÜHL KLASH Pant
- KÜHL MØVA Pant
- KÜHL WINTERTHUR Fleece
- KÜHL beanie and neck gaiter
Day 1: Flew MSP to Denver and headed to Leadville to grab my fat bike. It was the same bike I rode in the Leadville 100 MTB Bike race last August. At that moment I realized I’d never actually raced my fat bike on SNOW! This came a bit of an eye opener, but I knew that I was not going to be the only one riding in snow on Saturday.
Day 2: I was up early, and I headed over to Crested Butte to meet up with a friend, who also was doing the race and had actually won it in the past. I figured if I needed a few words of wisdom I was sure to get them from her.
After arriving in Crested Butte, I took the fat bike out for a spin and then headed over to registration and packet pick-up. I met the event director, Scott from the Crested Butte Chamber of Commerce. His enthusiasm for the event, as well as the town, is infectious. Crested Butte is a very active, outdoor community. It’s easy to tap into your creative side with plenty of local art and cuisine.
I unpacked and settled in at the Nordic Inn. The hospitality was amazing, and we quickly found the homemade cookies and jar of Swedish Fish and Tootsie Rolls!
Day 3: Race day morning was COLD! We dropped down to the start line an hour prior to the start, ready to roll. There was no turning back on my apparel, and I was satisfied with my selection. Tire pressure was another factor that weighed heavily on our minds. I learned a lot about riding in snow. Much like skiing there can be different types of skis and waxes for the conditions. I learned tire pressure isn’t the only factor to consider; technical experience and the weight of the rider are other key considerations. I went with 6 lbs in each tire.
The race also taught me more about hydration. Prior to my switch to cold weather fat biking, I had a mindset that if the temps were lower than my age, I wouldn’t ride. With the temperature hovering in the teens, my Camelbak tubing system completely froze, and I wasn’t prepared! With some quick thinking, I realized I could utilize the feed zones to grab a water bottle during the 5-lap race.
I ended up 4th Overall Female and was extremely happy with my result! I’m looking forward to more fat bike adventures and continuing to learn.