Riders participate in the 2013 Sweaty Yeti. / Steve Meurett/For Wisconsinoutdoorfun.com
The Fatbike scene is not going away and there is more than enough interest among fatbike riders to gather together as frequently as possible to pound the pedals. We organized a small fatbike race last winter to provide that opportunity and brought it back, with double the entrants this year again.
The Sweaty Yeti is now a founding race in The 9:Zero:7 Wisconsin State Fat-Bike Race Series, sponsored by Fatbikes.com, Fat-Bike.com and local sponsors, like Sand Creek Brewery for the Sweaty. The Neillsville Area Trail Association is the instigator behind the race, a group of dedicated trail builders South West of Neillsville Wisconsin. The race format tend to be simple-2 to 3 hour races with solo or fun three person teams and course laps that usually are short and fun. It all gets started with a shotgun Le Mans sprint to the bikes and they're off.
Recent snowfalls didn't do the trail builders and favors and hours of packing by snow machine and snowshoes were required to get everything in ridable shape. Mother nature helped out on race day by warming things up a bit and "burning" in the trail.
The 2013 Sweaty Yeti featured a new section of trail, built (for now) as a winter only fatbike route-the locals call it the Bear Den Trail after a false discovery of-yes, you guessed it, a bear den. This section of trail had the racers doing a tough low gear climb over a snow covered rocky crag, then flying down narrow singletrack with some high banked corners returning them to the start finish line. As the day progressed, riders reported that the trail only became better and better-the fun factor being very high!
Fatbike races are low key, no-one-is-too-serious events, where enjoying the bikes, the snow and old and new friends are at the top of the list-not that competition isn't also present-it is, but it seems to be much friendlier than other bike races. There was even some very serious talk of organizing an entire weekend of Fatbike-O-rama next year, with winter camping, riding and the race in order to have the tribe around for more than a few hours of fatbike fun. I personally think it'll happen. Levis Mound has the facility and more than enough fatbike winter trail to make it a super weekend of riding.
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Steve Meurett lives, works and plays in West Central Wisconsin and spends about every free moment outdoors where his passions lie. His outdoor interests take him on and off trail, pursuing mountain biking and skinny skiing, photography and hunting, while keeping an eye on wild mushrooms and the next fruit for craft wine. Steve is the Trail Director at The Levis Mound Trail System and member of the Clark County Trails Advisory Committee. He resides, teaches and is a photographer in Neillsville. Steve can be reached at email@example.com.